Base Installation of Arch Linux + Good to Know


If you want to install Arch, everyone tells you that you should read the installation guide. The second thing you may hear is that you should read the installation guide and that you have to follow it step by step. That also has a short name RTFM – Read The Fucking Manual – and stick to it – no joke.

Make backups before installing Arch Linux. 😉

Currently Found Issues and Good to Knows

  • Arch does not ship the NEO keyboard layout with the live environment. That makes it painful to type if you can’t switch to your preferred one. After the network set up step, I had to load the keyboard mapping manually from GitHub and activate it.
  • @Partition the disks is one of the most critical steps during the set up because after writing the new partitioning table to the drive, it is painful to recover data. Make backups and check them.
  • @Format the partitions makes it even more complicated to recover data from the hard disk. Make backups and test them.
  • @Mount the file systems, and don’t forget to mount the boot loader partition to /mnt/efi,  for example.
  • @Install essential packages -> see Currently Found Major Install Issues
  • Messing up the @boot loader is the last step that can mess up the fresh installation. Decide between one of the presented ones and follow the steps for the installation. A simples solution is achievable with the systemd-boot, and most options are available with the good old GRUB. I have choosen GRUB because I know how to configure some parts of it manually, and it works with BIOS and UEFI systems.

Currently Found Major Install Issues

  • In step, @Install essential packages, you install the base package, the kernel, and other stuff actually to the harddrive. A few weeks ago, they changed the base package and moved many packages from that to other packages, e.g., networking. Now during this installation step, the networking manager has to be selected and installed manually. If not established, there is no easy way to connect to a network with DNS-resolving and fixing it later.

    1. Reboot from the live-environment that was used for the initial installation of the existing system.
    2. Go to step Mount the file systems in the installation guide and mount the system partition and boot partition again.
      # mount system partition
      mount /dev/sdX2 /mnt
      # mount boot partition
      mount /dev/sdX1 /mnt/efi
    3. Solution Version A using pacstrap:
      1. Select the wanted networking manager and install it with pacstrap.
        # install the network and more to /mnt
        pacstrap /mnt networkmanager vim
      2. Go to the last step (5) for rebooting into the installed system.
    4. Solution Version B using pacman:
      1. Next, execute step Chroot again to get access to the existing system and to able to install packages to it again.
        arch-chroot /mnt
      2. Now install the wanted networking manager with pacman, and you are ready to go. Maybe install some other packages too, which you forgot during the setup process.
        # for example networking and vim editor
        pacman -Syu networkmanager vim
      3. Exist the changed root system to the live-environment back.
        # exit the chroot
      4. Continue with step (5) for rebooting into the installed system.
    5. Now restart into the installed OS.
      # unmount partitions recursive
      umount -R /mnt
      # reboot and exit the live-environment
  • Further found issues will come soon.