My Arch Linux Setup

This describes how to setup Arch Linux similar to my setup. This is rarely up-to-date, so be mindful when you type in your commands in the commandline, and be sure to check the Arch Linux Installation guide or the Arch Wiki in general, if you’re unsure about something.

Mirror List

Location: /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

Select the mirror(s) you want to use for the package manager pacman. Delete every other entry or mark it as a comment to ensure that pacman is using the right mirror.

You can also install vim (if not already installed on the live disc) with pacman by typing pacman -Sy vim for more convenient text editing.


To check if your system is using EFI, run the command: ls /sys/firmware/efi

If the directory exists and contains files then your system is using EFI. If that is not the case you are probably using BIOS and this cheatsheet will probably not work to install Arch Linux on your machine.


Attention: This process will wipe your entire harddrive!

Listing current drives and partitions

To check which drives are installed on the system and what partitions there are these commands might be helpful:

  • lsblk
  • cat /proc/partitions
  • gdisk -l

Partitioning your drives

If your system is using EFI use gdisk for better compatibility
Make sure to memorize the partition numbers and which partition is for what purpose.

To partition your drives (your standard harddrive should be /dev/sda), utilize the command gdisk.
gdisk /dev/sdx where x is the driver letter (e.g. “a”)

Clear the parition table

To clear the partition table type o in gdisk
Command (? for help): o

Create a new partition

Create a new partition by typing n
Command (? for help): n

You will be asked, what number your partition should have. This will be displayed as /dev/sdaxY where x is the driver letter and Y is the partition number.
After this you will be asked about the First Sector and the Last sector of the disk. For the First Sector you choose the default value.
For the Last Sector you can either specify a number (e.g. 4196) or how big the sector/partition should be. This is done by typing a + followed by the size of the sector. For gdisk to know if you are using megabytes, gigabytes or something else, you need to specify this by a letter at the end of the line (e.g. M for Megabytes or G for Gigabytes).

gdisk now asks for the type of your partition. This is where you want to be specific.
If you do not have a EFI Partition (e.g. when you cleared your partition table) you have to create one. If your drive already has an EFI Partition then you can skip this step.
The EFI Partition should be 512 Megabytes big and has a hexcode of EF00.

You need at least one other partition for the filesystem to go.

  • Create a new partition by typing n in the prompt
  • Select the size of your partition (depending on if you want to add a seperate /home or swap partition)
  • The standard linux filesystem has a hexcode of 8300

If you want to add a seperate /home partition to your drive, do the same as with the / filesystem.

To create a swap partition on your drive do the following:

  • Create a new partition by typing n in the prompt
  • Select the size of your partition (a swap partition should be at least as big as your RAM, the recommended size is 2x of your RAM)
  • The hexcode of swap is 8200

At last write the changes to the disk with w.
Make sure to check the drive with gdisk -l /dev/sdx!

Formatting the partitions

The mkfs command allows you to format a partition to a desired filesystem.
The EFI Partition uses vfat. To format it with vfat use mkfs.vfat /dev/sdxY.
The linux filesystem uses ext4, so your \ and \home partitions should be formatted with mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdxY.

To make your swap Partition one, use the mkswap command.
To enable your swap Partition, use the swapon /dev/sdxY command. To disable a swap Partition, use the swapoff /dev/sdxY command.

Installing Arch Linux


To mount a partition, utilize the mount /dev/sdxY /mount/point command.
To unmount a partition, utilize the umount /dev/sdxY command.


For convenience we mount the partition where the root filesystem should go to /mnt.
Make sure you select the right partition!
mount /dev/sdxY /mnt


If you have a seperate partition for your /home directorys, create a directory in the already mounted root filesystem. This directory NEEDS to be called home.
mkdir /mn/home

After the directory is created, mount the partition where your /home directorys should go to the newly created folder.
mount /dev/sdxY /mnt/home


The EFI Partition goes here.
First create a directory in the mounted root filesystem called boot to mount the EFI Partition.
mkdir /mnt/boot

When the directory is created, mount the EFI Partition to the newly created folder.
mount /dev/sdxY /mnt/boot


To install the filesystem for Arch Linux, we use a tool called pacstrap which is included in the live disc.

Assuming you mounted the partition where your root filesystem should go is /mnt, do the following:
pacstrap /mnt
This will install all necessary files to that partition.


bootctl is part of the systemd suite.

To configure bootctl we have to enter the newly installed Arch Linux system. This is done via arch-chroot.
arch-chroot /mnt

When you are in your Arch system, use the command bootctl install to install bootctl. It should detect everything it needs by itself.

When this is done, check your /boot directory for the necessary files.
If these are present, move on to the next step.

Now you have configure the loader.conf found in /boot/loader.
Note: The Arch Linux installation you have entered does not contain vim as an editor. You have to manually download it using pacman -S vim.
First, empty loader.conf. For now you can copy this configuration file:

default arch
timeout 4
editor 0

Next you need to configure arch.conf located in /boot/loader/entries.
Again, for now copy this configuration file:

title Arch Linux
linux /vmlinuz-linux
initrd /intel-ucode.img
initrd /initramfs-linux.img
options root=PARTUUID="YOUR DRIVE UUID" rw

The first initrd line is optional but should be used when using an intel CPU. This will ensure your CPU will get updated before starting the kernel.
You can install the package by issuing the command sudo pacman -S intel-ucode.
To figure out what PARTUUID your drive has, type in this command:
blkid -s PARTUUID -o value /dev/sdxY

Configuring Arch Linux


fstab allows your PC to mount partitions on boot.

Generate a fstab file (without arch-chroot into the system):
genfstab -U /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

For fstab configuration, see fstab.

Time zone

Set the time zone:
ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Region/City /etc/localtime

Run hwclock to generate /etc/adjtime:
hwclock --systohc
This command assumes the hardware clock to be set to UTC.


Uncomment en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 and other needed localizations in /etc/locale.gen, and generate them with:

Set the LANG variable in /etc/locale.conf accordingly, for example:

If you set the keyboard layout, make the changes persistent in /etc/vconsole.conf (does not keep the keyboard layout for WM’s or DE’s):


Create /etc/hostname:

Add matching entries to /etc/hosts:	localhost
::1		localhost	myhostname.localdomain	myhostname

Network configuration

Here: netctl Alternatives: wpa_supplicant

Copy the example file from /etc/netctl/examples/wireless-wpa to /etc/netctl/mywirelessnetwork and edit the file accordingly.

Root password

Set the root password:

The system is now ready for boot.

Locking the root account:
passwd -l root

Unlocking the root account:
sudo passwd -u root

User management

Add a new user:
useradd -m -g initial_group -G additional_groups -s login_shell username
For later convenience with sudo and xbacklight we set the initial_group to wheel and the additional_groups to video. Shells used can be /bin/bash or /usr/bin/zsh.

Package manager

Here: yay

Alternatives: yaourt, trizen

Privilege escalation

To temporary grant root privileges to a user, use sudo:
pacman -S sudo

To configure sudo to allow the just added user to escalate privileges, we uncommented a line from /etc/sudoers:
%wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL

Display server

Here: Xorg

Alternative: Wayland

To install Xorg:
sudo pacman -S xorg-server

Graphics driver

Here: Noveau

Alternatives: Nvidia, AMD

To install the noveau drivers:
sudo pacman -S mesa
The noveau drivers should be loaded on default.

For Nvidia drivers, you first have to determine what graphics card you use by issuing the command lspci -k | grep -A 2 -E "(VGA|3D)".
… follow the guide linked above


Window manager

Here: i3-gaps

Alternatives: i3, bspwm, Awesome, HerbstluftWM

Installing i3-gaps:
yay -S i3-gaps


Here: ALSA, PulseAudio

ALSA is already installed on Linux.
To install PulseAudio:
sudo pacman -S pulseaudio pulseaudio-alsa
To install bluetooth support and an equalizer, use sudo pacman -S pulseaudio-bluetooth pulseaudio-equalizer respectively.

Time synchronisation

Here: systemd-timesyncd

systemd-timesyncd is part of the systemd suite, which is installed by default.
To enable systemd-timesyncd:
timedatectl set-ntp true

DNS Security

Here: DNSSEC, DNSCrypt

To install DNSSEC and DNSCrypt:
sudo pacman -S ldns
yay -S dnscrypt-proxy-go



Here: Ufw

To install Ufw:
sudo pacman -S ufw



Here: with Xorg

To disable mouse acceleration, follow this guide.

Improving performance

Improving performance


Solid State Drive




To install fonts, use pacman or the AUR.

To refresh the font-cache:
fc-cache -fv
To list all fonts:

Monitor brightness

By default, non-root users are not allowed to change the brightness of the screen.
To change this, we add the user to the video group and allow this group to modify the file for the brightness.
The file is located in /etc/udev/rules.d/90-backlight.rules:
SUBSYSTEM=="backlight", ACTION=="add", RUN+="/bin/chgrp video %S%p/brightness", RUN+="/bin/chmod g+w %S%p/brightness" Another option is using brightnessctl if xbacklight is not working. If all else fails, there is still the option to manually change the brightness (or put it in a script/write a program) with, for example: printf "<value>\n" > /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/brightness (path to brightness file might be different for you).

Dipslay Manager

Here: None

Alternatives: lxdm, LightDM

To install lxdm or LightDM:
sudo pacman -S lxdm
sudo pacman -S lightdm

To enable a display manager on boot:
sudo systemctl enable displaymanager.service

If you do not want to use a Display Manager, you can choose to execute startx on login in a terminal.
First, make sure your ~/.xserverrc is properly configured:


exec /usr/bin/Xorg -nolisten tcp "$@" vt$XDG_VTNR

Second, if you are using bash add the following lines to your ~/.bash_profile or if you are using zsh add them to your ~/.zprofile:

if [[ ! $DISPLAY && $XDG_VTNR -eq 1 ]]; then exec startx fi

If startx does not start your window manager/desktop environment, look for it with the help of the which command and pass the given path as a parameter of startx your ~/.bashrc or ~/.zprofile.

If you want to be automatically logged in on boot, edit the file /etc/systemd/system/getty@tty1.service.d/override.conf:

ExecStart=-/usr/bin/agetty --autologin username --noclear %I $TERM
Do you have a comment on one of my posts? Feel free to send me an E-Mail:
To participate in a public discussion, use my public inbox: ~witcher/
Please review the mail etiquette.

Posted on: May 19, 2020

Articles from blogs I read

Cloud gaming review using Playstation Plus

# Introduction While testing the cloud gaming service GeForce Now, I've learned that PlayStation also had an offer. Basically, if you use a PlayStation 4 or 5, you can subscribe to the first two tiers to benefit some services and games library, but …

via Solene'% March 16, 2024

OpenSSH 9.7/9.7p1 released!

OpenSSH 9.7/9.7p1 has been released. The complete release notes may be found here: Read more…

via OpenBSD Journal March 12, 2024 Download changes

Like the rest of the Rust community, has been growing rapidly, with download and package counts increasing 2-3x year-on-year. This growth doesn't come without problems, and we have made some changes to download handling on to ensur…

via Rust Blog March 11, 2024

Generated by openring