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This document is a WORK IN PROGRESS.
This is just a quick personal cheat sheet: treat its contents with caution!

This document does not replace the official Arch installation guide

Arch installation

Arch Linux is an independently developed, x86-64 general-purpose GNU/Linux distribution that strives to provide the latest stable versions of most software by following a rolling-release model. The default installation is a minimal base system, configured by the user to only add what is purposely required.


In this cheat sheet, one or multiple Linux distributions (distros) can already be installed on other partitions: they will be preserved and still available through grub.


In this cheat sheet, the installation process is compatible with a virtual machine (VM) or a container. In this case, you might be interested in those cheat sheets:


In this cheat sheet, UEFI won't be used as a bootloader, like described here:, the bootloader used here is GRUB2 (or grub for short) but it could be anything else you want.


Table of contents


  • Download the latest Arch Linux ISO image here: (and download the associated .sig file)

  • Check the ISO image with GnuPG thanks to the PGP signature (.sig file):

    $ gpg --keyserver-options auto-key-retrieve --verify archlinux-version-x86_64.iso.sig

  • Follow the bellow common prerequisites steps (just the prerequisites for now).

Official documentations for the rest of the installation

Partitioning, formatting and mounting

System install

mirrors, base, kernel, utilities and fstab

  • Packages to be installed must be downloaded from mirror servers, which are defined in /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist. On the live system, after connecting to the internet, reflector updates the mirror list by choosing 20 most recently synchronized HTTPS mirrors and sorting them by download rate.

    The higher a mirror is placed in the list, the more priority it is given when downloading a package. You may want to inspect the file to see if it is satisfactory. If it is not, edit the file accordingly, and move the geographically closest mirrors to the top of the list, although other criteria should be taken into account.

    This file will later be copied to the new system by pacstrap, so it is worth getting right:

    $ vi /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

  • ⚠️ At this point, make sure that all partitions are mounted, after they have been created during the common partitioning, formatting and mounting steps to follow!

  • Use the pacstrap script to install the base (and optionally the base-devel) package group(s):

    # pacstrap /mnt/arch base base-devel

  • Use the pacstrap script to install the Linux kernel:

    • ... with the following command if you don't mind binary-blob:

      # pacstrap /mnt/arch linux linux-firmware

    • ... or with the following command if you don't want any binary-blob:

      # pacstrap /mnt/arch linux

    • ... or with the following command if you prefer a LTS kernel without binary-blob:

      # pacstrap /mnt/arch linux-lts

    • ... or with the following command if you prefer a LTS kernel and binary-blob:

      # pacstrap /mnt/arch linux-lts linux-firmware

  • Use the pacstrap script to optionally install other utility packages, e.g.:

    # pacstrap /mnt/arch vi man-db htop neovim sudo

  • Generate a /etc/fstab file with genfstab (use -U or -L to define by UUID or labels, respectively):

    # genfstab -U /mnt/arch >> /mnt/arch/etc/fstab # you can use `genfstab -L ...` instead, for labels instead of UUID

    Check the resulting /mnt/arch/etc/fstab file, and edit it in case of errors.

    # blkid # ifentify labels and UUIDs
    # vi /mnt/arch/etc/fstab # edit and verify (this is just an example)
        > # Static information about the filesystems.
        > # See fstab(5) for details.
        > # e.g. below example with the "noatime" option optimisation (no access date
        > # update) and "discard" option for ssd optimisation (trim functionnalities)
        > # <fs>                                        <mountpoint>    <type>      <opts>                                 <dump> <pass>
        > # /dev/vda3 LABEL=MAIN
        > UUID=ea530bdb-1116-4618-9247-e60663fde8bd     /               ext4        defaults,noatime,discard                0 1
        > # /dev/vda1
        > UUID=BE08-4CD2                                /boot           vfat        defaults,noatime                        0 2
        > # /dev/vda2 LABEL=SWAP
        > UUID=ab11cde3-fc5c-4d2f-be7c-5665e13ab272     none            swap        defaults                                0 0
    See for more details.

chroot and system configuration

  • chroot:
    # arch-chroot /mnt/arch
    $ export PS1="[chroot] $PS1"


Now that the new Arch system is entered, don't forget to setup a proxy if needed,
e.g. $ export http_proxy=""
and $ export https_proxy="".
⚠️ Remember that with a proxy: ping may not work! ⚠️


From now on, all actions will be performed in the new Arch environment.

  • Time zone config:

    [chroot]# ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Region/City /etc/localtime
    See this related Arch Wiki page for more details.

  • Hardware clock config (not needed on a VM):

    [chroot]# vi /etc/conf.d/hwclock # make sure that the clock is indeed UTC
        > clock="UTC"
    [chroot]# hwclock --show
    [chroot]# hwclock --systohc # generate /etc/adjtime
    See this related Arch Wiki page for more details

  • Localization config:

    [chroot]# vi /etc/locale.gen # e.g. for US and FR:
        > en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8
        > en_US ISO-8859-1
        > fr_FR.UTF-8 UTF-8
        > fr_FR ISO-8859-1
        > fr_FR@euro ISO-8859-15
    [chroot]# locale-gen

    Create the /etc/locale.conf file, and set the LANG variable accordingly:

    [chroot]# vi /etc/locale.conf # e.g. for US language:
        > LANG=en_US.UTF-8

    If you set the console keyboard layout, make the changes persistent by creating the /etc/vconsole.conf file:

    [chroot]# vi /etc/vconsole.conf
        > KEYMAP=fr

    See this related Arch Wiki page for more details.

  • Users config:

    [chroot]# passwd # set root password
    [chroot]# useradd -m user # add user
    [chroot]# passwd user # set user password

  • Host name config:

    [chroot]# vi /etc/hostname
        > whatever-name-you-want

  • Network config (see network managers), e.g. with NetworkManager:

    [chroot]# pacman -S networkmanager
    [chroot]# systemctl enable NetworkManager

  • Optional SSH config: see ssh cheat sheet

Bootloader configuration with GRUB


  • Exit chroot, umount and reboot:

    [chroot]# exit # quit chroot
    # umount -R /mnt/arch
    # reboot # if in a VM, you might `poweroff` instead and run your VM with different launch options

  • If using a VM with UEFI, and having troubles booting, then you might want to check how to handle your first reboot with UEFI on a VM.

Post installation

Optional kernel tweaking

You might want to have the choice to boot either on the latest kernel or the LTS kernel. In this case, install the following kernel related packages:

# pacman -S linux linux-lts linux-lts-headers linux-lts-docs

Then make sure /boot is mounted:

$ df -aTh      # check mounted devices
$ ls -la /boot # and make sure /boot is mounted

Finally, update your grub configuration file:

# grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg # update /boot/grub/grub.conf

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