Ultimate Beginners’ Guide to Install Arch Linux – #1: Introduction and Pre-Installation

What is Arch Linux?

In a nutshell, Arch Linux is a simple, lightweight Linux distribution. Arch is commonly targeted at competent Linux users. It follows the KISS principle (“keep it simple, stupid”) as the general guideline, and focuses on elegance, code correctness, minimalism and simplicity, and expects the user to be willing to make some effort to understand the system’s operation. Thats why is called the simple Linux. It have a package manager written specifically for Arch Linux and uses a rolling release model, such that a regular system update is all that is needed to obtain the latest Arch software.



To install Arch Linux you only need to have:

  • an USB Pendrive or a CD (~600Mb);
  • the Arch Linux image;
  • a computer w/ Keyboard.



Prepare the image and burn into the device

  1. Get the Arch Linux image from the official website;
  2. Burn the image into the drive.


In GNU/Linux
  1. Check the thumbdrive reference using the lsblk command;
  2. Using dd as root, burn the downloaded image into the device
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=1k count=1
dd bs=4M if=/path/to/archlinux.iso of=/dev/sdX status=progress && sync
dd output
Example of the dd output

Tip: Make sure that device doesn’t have any block mounted.

If you are using a CD or a DVD, you must skip the previous step and write it using growisofs

growisofs -dvd-compat -Z /dev/dvd=/path/to/archlinux.iso
In Windows

Using Rufus, a multi-purpose USB iso writer, you just need to select the Arch Linux ISO, the USB drive you want to create the bootable Arch Linux onto and click start.

Rufus Utility 2.12.1054
Rufus utility – Graphical User Interface

Since Rufus does not care if the drive is properly formatted or not and provides a GUI it may be the easiest and most robust tool to use.

If you have a CD or a DVD and you want to burn Arch Linux image using Windows, you may use some software to burn ISO’s images into DVD, such as PowerISO or Nero.

Bootup the drive into Arch Linux live image

  1. Restart the Computer and wait for the visual POST interface. Here you will see something like this:

Phoenix POST
Visual Phoenix POST Interface
  1. Now you need to press the key corresponding to the SETUP Key, in this case is DEL;
  2. At this time, you are on the BIOS Setup Utility. It looks like this but it depend on the computer that you are using:
PhoenixBIOS Setup Utility
Main Tab of the PhoenixBIOS Setup Utility
  1. Now locate and navigate to the Boot Order Options in BIOS. To move between tabs use the left and right arrow keys.

Tip: The right panel may provide crucial information about what to do.

  1. In this section, you just need to make the changes to the boot order. Follow the instructions provided to change the order of the USB device or CD/DVD reader.
PhoenixBIOS Setup Utility
Boot Tab of the PhoenixBIOS Setup Utility
  1. Finally, navigate through the Exit tab and press the “Exit Saving Changes”.
PhoenixBIOS Setup Utility
Exit Tab of the PhoenixBIOS Setup Utility with the “Setup Confirmation” popup

Your computer will reboot and if all goes well, you will bootup to the Arch Linux image. Press ENTER to boot into the live version of Arch Linux !

Arch Linux live image
Arch Linux live image with syslinux bootloader

In the next tutorial, I will show you how to install Arch Linux into your hard drive and permanently. Stay connected and happy installations !