Arch Linux Installation Guide

Arch Linux Minimal Install Guide

In this article I will show you how to do minimal installation of Arch Linux. Let’s get started.

Downloading and Booting into the Arch Linux Installer CD

You can download a copy of Arch Linux installer CD from https://www.archlinux.org/download/

Once you download and boot your Arch Linux Installer CD, you should see the following window. Select the first option as shown in the screenshot below.

You should see the following window. You will have to install Arch Linux manually from here.

Connecting to the Network

The first thing you have to do once you boot your Arch Linux CD image is to connect to the network.

If you’re connected to the wired network, run the following command to get an IP address from the DHCP server:

$ sudo dhclient -v

Now try to see if you can connect to google.com with the following command:

$ ping -c 5 google.com

It works. So you’re connected.

Partitioning the Disk

Now you have to partition the disk.

Run lsblk to find out your hard drive identifier. As you see, in my case it is sda. So it is available as /dev/sda.

$ lsblk

Run the following command to start cfdisk disk partitioning utility:

$ cfdisk /dev/sda

Select gpt and press <Enter>.

You need to create 3 partitions, EFI partition, Boot partition, Root partition.

Select [ New ] and press <Enter> to create a new partition.

First create the EFI partition of about 512 MB of size as follows:

The EFI partition is created.

Now you have to change the type of EFI partition to EFI System. This is important. To do that, select [ Type ] and press <Enter>.

Select EFI System and press <Enter>.

Now create Boot partition of 512 MB of size the same way.

Change its type to BIOS boot. This is also important.

Now create the Root partition. Give it the rest of the space.

Now to save the changes, go to [ Write ] and press <Enter>.

Type in yes and press <Enter>.

The changes should be written.

Now select [ Quit ] and press <Enter>.

Formatting the Partitions

Now you have to format the partitions.

Formatting the EFI partition:

$ mkfs.fat -F 32 -n EFI /dev/sda1

Formatting the Boot partition:

$ mkfs.ext4 -L boot /dev/sda2

Formatting the Root partition:

$ mkfs.ext4 -L root /dev/sda3

Mounting the Partitions

Now you have to mount the partitions in the correct order. First the Root partition (/dev/sda3 in my case), then the Boot partition (/dev/sda2 in my case), then the EFI partition (/dev/sda1 in my case).

Mounting the Root Partition:

$ mount /dev/sda3 /mnt

Mounting the Boot and EFI Partition:

$ mkdir /mnt/boot

$ mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/boot

$ mkdir /mnt/boot/efi

$ mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot/efi

Once you mount all the partition, run df -h to make sure they are mounted correctly.

Configuring Swap

In this section I will show you how to configure file based Swap.

Make a file of about 1GB in size for Swap:

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/SWAP bs=1M count=1024

Now format the Swap file:

$ mkswap /mnt/SWAP

Change the swapfile permission:

$ chmod 0600 /mnt/SWAP

Enable swap:

$ swapon /mnt/SWAP

You can verify whether Swap is activated using free -h command.

Installing Arch Linux Minimal

Now install Arch Linux with the following command:

$ pacstrap /mnt base

Configuring the System

Now you have to do some additional configuration.

Generate /etc/fstab file with the following command:

$ genfstab -U /mnt &gt; /mnt/etc/fstab

Chroot into the /mnt directory:

$ arch-chroot /mnt

Now set the right time zone with the following command:

$ ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/REGION/CITY /etc/localtime

Now run the following command to set the hardware clock:

$ hwclock --systohc

Edit the /etc/locale.gen file:

You should see the following window.  Scroll down the list and uncomment the line (by removing # from the beginning of the line) depending on your location and language. For English United States UTF8 character set, the correct locale is en_US.UTF-8. Remember the locale you set here, as you will need it again.

To save the changes, press <Ctrl> + x and then press y and then press <Enter>.

Now generate the locale:

$ locale-gen

Now run the following command to set LANG to your selected locale:

$ echoLANG=YOUR_LOCALE” &gt; /etc/locale.conf

Now set your desired hostname with the following command:

$ echo 'YOUR_HOSTNAME' &gt; /etc/hostname

Now you have to run the following commands to fix local DNS name resolution.

For IPv4 DNS name resolution:

$ echo '127.0.0.1 localhost YOUR_HOSTNAME' >> /etc/hosts

For IPv6 DNS name resolution:

$ echo '::1 localhost YOUR_HOSTNAME' >> /etc/hosts

Now set a password for your root user:

$ passwd

Installing the Boot Loader

Now run the following command to install the GRUB boot loader.

$ pacman -Sy grub efibootmgr

Press y and then press <Enter>.

Now run the following command to install the bootloader on your hard drive:

$ grub-install /dev/sda

Now that everything is complete, exit out of Chroot environment with the following command:

$ exit

Now reboot your computer with the following command:

$ reboot

Then eject your Arch Linux installer CD.

Booting into the Arch Linux System

Now if you boot from your hard drive, you should see the following window. Press <Enter> to continue.

You should see the login prompt as you can see in the screenshot below.

You can login as user root and the password that you set earlier as you can see in the screenshot below.

That’s how you install the Minimal version of Arch Linux on your computer. Thanks for reading this article.

About the author

Shahriar Shovon

Shahriar Shovon

Freelancer & Linux System Administrator. Also loves Web API development with Node.js and JavaScript. I was born in Bangladesh. I am currently studying Electronics and Communication Engineering at Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET), one of the demanding public engineering universities of Bangladesh.