Arch Linux - it's really not that complicated

  • 23rd Jul 2020
  • 3 min read
  • Last updated on 18th Nov 2023


  • 2 partitions: boot (fat32), root (f2fs - encrypted)
  • Bootloader: Systemd-boot (formerly gummiboot)
  • Desktop Environment: Gnome

Please also consult the official Arch Linux Documentation. The step-by-step instructions can also be found on my Github.

Enter BIOS with F2 and configure:

  • "System Configuration" > "SATA Operation": "AHCI"
  • "Secure Boot" > "Secure Boot Enable": "Disabled"

Boot from USB

Make sure to boot from USB using UEFI - this is required by systemd-boot!

Set the desired keymap

loadkeys en_US-utf8

(Optional) Connect to wifi


Once done it can take some seconds - confirm it worked using ping


Sync clock

timedatectl set-ntp true

Create two partitions:

  • 1000MB EFI partition with hex code ef00
  • 100% Linux partition (to be encrypted) with hex code 8300

CAUTION Find the correct disk/partition names for yourself using lsblk. From here on I am using mine as an example. Do not blindly copy and paste these, it might not work or you might destroy partitions you don't want to destroy.

cgdisk /dev/nvme0n1

(Optional) Install f2fs-tools

pacman -S f2fs-tools

Formatting and encryption

Boot partition

mkfs.fat -F32 /dev/nvme0n1p1

Root partition

cryptsetup luksFormat --type=luks2 /dev/nvme0n1p2

cryptsetup open /dev/nvme0n1p2 luks

(choose filesystem - assuming f2fs)

mkfs.f2fs -l luks /dev/mapper/luks

Mount root and boot partition

mount /dev/mapper/luks /mnt

mkdir -p /mnt/boot

mount /dev/nvme0n1p1 /mnt/boot

Change Pacman mirror priority, move the closer mirrors to the top

vim /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

Install the base system plus a few extra packages

f2fs-tools is needed if you chose f2fs as your partition

With some recent XPS Laptops linux-zen seems to be working better, e.g. resolves screen flickering issues

pacstrap /mnt base linux linux-firmware zsh vim git sudo efibootmgr wpa_supplicant
dialog iw f2fs-tools

Generate fstab

genfstab -L /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

Enter the new system

arch-chroot /mnt

Setup time

rm /etc/localtime

ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Berlin /etc/localtime

hwclock --systohc

Generate required locales

vim /etc/locale.gen


Set the desired locale

echo 'LANG=en_US.UTF-8' > /etc/locale.conf

Set desired keymap and font

echo 'KEYMAP=us' > /etc/vconsole.conf

Set the hostname

echo '<hostname>' > /etc/hostname

Add hostname to /etc/hosts:

vim /etc/hosts	localhost
::1		localhost	<hostname>.localdomain <hostname>

Set password for root


Add real user

useradd -m -g users -G wheel -s /bin/zsh <username>

passwd <username>

echo '<username> ALL=(ALL) ALL' > /etc/sudoers.d/<username>

Configure mkinitcpio with modules needed for the initrd image

vim /etc/mkinitcpio.conf

# Optional - for f2fs module crypto-crc32 is required however

# Important - Use the correct order
HOOKS=(base systemd autodetect modconf block keyboard sd-vconsole sd-encrypt filesystems)

Regenerate the initrd image

mkinitcpio -P

Setup systemd-boot

bootctl --path=/boot install

Enable Intel microcode updates

(For AMD replace intel-ucode with amd-ucode in every step that follows)

pacman -S intel-ucode

Create bootloader entry

Get luks-uuid with:

cryptsetup luksUUID /dev/nvme0n1p2

Create the entry:

vim /boot/loader/entries/arch.conf

title		Arch Linux
linux		/vmlinuz-linux
initrd		/intel-ucode.img
initrd		/initramfs-linux.img
options		rw luks.uuid=<uuid><uuid>=luks root=/dev/mapper/luks

Set default bootloader entry

vim /boot/loader/loader.conf

default		arch

(Optional) - Setup Gnome

pacman -S gnome

systemctl enable gdm

Exit, unmount and reboot


umount -R /mnt