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ArchLinux Installation Guide

Arch Install Guide


Partition a drive on Windows and delete it so that it's free space. Note the size since we'll
need it later.

Boot into Arch

Run fdisk -l to see the partitions.

Run parted .

Run print free to see the free space and note the Start and End points.

Create the following partitions, keeping in mind to replace the start and end values with
the appropriate numbers:

Boot: No need for this since we are dual booting and will use the Windows EFI System
Partition (ESP) directly.
/root: mkpart primary ext4 {Start}GiB {Start+20}GiB
Swap Space: mkpart primary linux-swap {Start+20}GiB {Start+21}GiB
/home: mkpart primary ext4 {Start+21}GiB {End}GiB

Check your newly created partitions with fdisk -l and note down their names (e.g.
/dev/sda8 ).

Mine are /dev/sda8 for root, /dev/sda9 for swap and /dev/sda10 for home.

Time to create the filesystems. You have only created the parititions, you still need to tell
Linux how to lay out your filesystem:

mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda8

mkswap /dev/sda9

mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda10

Turn on the swap with swapon /dev/sda9

Mount the root directory mount /dev/sda8 /mnt

Important Mount the ESP:

mkdir -p /mnt/boot/

With fdisk -l get the device name with type EFI System. Mine is /dev/sda1 (it's
usually the first device/sector).
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot

Mount the home directory:

mkdir -p /mnt/home

mount /dev/sda10 /mnt/home

Set up Wifi to download all the needed packages. We'll use wpa_supplicant .

Create a temporary config: /etc/wpa_supplicant/temp.conf

Add a network config to it. You may want to google for the config that makes sense
for your network. Check notes.
Get the network interface with ifconfig . My case was wlp2s0
Run wpa_supplicant -B -i wlp2s0 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant/temp.conf .
Get an IP address with dhcpcd wlp2s0 .
Check connectivity with ping

Set up pacman GPG keys so that the packages download without issues:

pacman-key --init && pacman-key --populate archlinux

Edit /etc/pacman.d/gnupg/gpg.conf and change the keyserver line to keyserver

hkp:// .

Install the base system with pacstrap -i /mnt base base-devel . Choose the defaults
and hit Y to proceed with installation when prompted. Go grab a coffee while it

Generate the fstab file with genfstab -U /mnt > /mnt/etc/fstab

Go to your drive arch-chroot /mnt /bin/bash .

IMPORTANT Pick a language else your system may not bootup:

Open /etc/locale.gen ( nano is a good choice).

Uncomment en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 and en_US ISO-8859-1 .
Save and exit
Run locale-gen .
Save the env variable: echo LANG=en_US.UTF-8 > /etc/locale.conf

Set the timezone.

Mine is EST: `ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/EST5EDT /etc/localtime

Read the system time in UTC but return in local time: hwclock --systohc --utc

Let's setup our bootloader. I highly recommend reading this first.

Create an initial environment to boot in: mkinitcpio -p linux

Get grub since it works for both MBR and EFI boot systems: pacman -S grub
efibootmgr os-prober

Run grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot --bootloader-


Create a grub config file: grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg . You can ignore

any warnings that might come up.

Install a Boot Manager (systemd-boot) which will take care of the task of starting
bootloaders such as GRUB as well as make it super easy to discover and generate the
boot menu.

Run bootctl --path=/boot install to install systemd-boot. If it gives an error that

loader.conf already exists, then delete the file at /boot/loader/loader.conf .
Configure the loader.conf by setting the following values:

default arch
timeout 5
editor 0

If you don't see a boot menu on startup, see the Notes.

Time to add a hostname:

echo <whatever you like> > /etc/hostname

Edit the file /etc/hosts and in the line with append the hostname after
localhost .

Install packages to configure Wifi on reboot: pacman -S dialog iw wpa_supplicant

Set the root password with passwd . We initially run as root to make sure things worked
as expected.

Exit chroot and unmount filesystems: umount -R /mnt


NOTE In case Windows does not show in GRUB, you can manually edit the GRUB entry by
creating a /boot/grub/custom.cfg custom configuration. See the notes for more details.

If you encounter an error that a PARTUUID could not be found, then do the following:

X. Get the PARTUUID of your /root partition blkid -s PARTUUID -o value /dev/sdxY .
Write the PARTUUDI down as you will need it later.
Y. Open the arch.conf with nano /boot/loader/entries/arch.conf .
Z. Replace the existing PARTUUID with the one you wrote down on the line that says:
options root=PARTUUID=the-id-you-just-copied rw .

We create different partitions for root and home since that means our user data is
separated from the system files, making it easier to organize, recover and even change
OSes without affecting our data (which crappy Ubuntu does not do).

Wifi Interface Config for GTwifi


The fstab (pronounced "F S Tab") file tells your system what your filesystems are and
what they should be called.

I have a weird issue where when I boot my machine I need to press the Spacebar in order
to see the boot menu. From my research this seems to be a firmware issue in my laptop.
Need to investigate more.

The Arch Wiki has a great page on how to create a GRUB entry for Windows. Personally
tried it and it worked beautifully. You most probably want to look at the section Windows
installed in UEFI-GPT Mode menu entry . Placing a copy of my GRUB entry here for

grub-probe --target=hints_string /boot/EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi # to get $hin

grub-probe --target=fs_uuid /boot/EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi # to get $fs_uuid

if [ "${grub_platform}" == "efi" ]; then

menuentry "Microsoft Windows Vista/7/8/8.1 UEFI-GPT" {
insmod part_gpt
insmod fat
insmod search_fs_uuid
insmod chain
search --fs-uuid --set=root $hints_string $fs_uuid
chainloader /EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi

Desktop Environment

We're in root so let's create a user useradd -m -G wheel -s /bin/bash <username>

Set the user password passwd <username>
Install sudo so we can run with elevated privileges pacman -S sudo
Open up the sudoers list nano /etc/sudoers and uncomment the line near the end that
allows the wheel group to use sudo.
Login as user su - <username>
Update all packages in preparation sudo pacman -Syu
Install XOrg Server sudo pacman -S xorg-server xorg-apps
Install your environment and display manager sudo pacman -S gnome gdm
Logout of your user account into root with logout and run systemctl enable
gdm.service and systemctl start gdm.service

Login to your account and open a terminal.

Install a nicer terminal sudo pacman -S terminator
Install the gnome extras sudo pacman -S gnome-extra
Install the essentials sudo pacman -S firefox vlc inkscape gimp

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