Arch Linux Installation Tutorial (Tested on T530)

Published on 27 August 2021 08:05 AM
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Follow along to install Arch Linux (tested on ThinkPad T530)

Download the .iso

Flash a USB

Use Rufus (Windows) or Etcher (MacOS or Linux) to flash the .iso to a flash drive.

Boot into the installation media

Common boot buttons include:

  • F12 - ThinkPads

Connect to the internet

Ethernet/virtual machine does not require any extra setup. For wifi, you will use the iwctl utility:

iwctl device list
iwctl station [device] get-networks
iwctl station [device] connect [network]

After the last command runs, you will be prompted to enter a password if the wifi network is private.

Note: If your network has multiple works, it must be enclosed in quotes.

You can test your connection by using the ping command (for example, ping

Advanced: determine the boot mode

Check whether the /sys/firmware/efi/efivars directory exists:

ls /sys/firmware/efi/efivars

If the directory exists, the computer boots with UEFI. If the directory does not exist, it probably boots with BIOS.

Optional: update the system clock

timedatectl set-ntp true

Partition the drive

There are several options for partitioning the drive. You may use whichever you prefer; I suggest cfdisk because it is a GUI. (Video reference)


The Arch Linux Installation Guide suggests using a root and a swap (> 512MiB) partition. If you are booting with UEFI, also create a boot partition.

Create a filesystem


mkfs.ext4 /dev/[root partition]


mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda1


mkswap /dev/[swap partition]


mkswap /dev/sda2

Mount the partitions

mount /dev/[root partition] /mnt
swapon /dev/[swap partition]

Install essential packages

pacstrap /mnt base linux linux-firmware neovim

Note: You can choose other text editors in place of neovim. If you do so, use that editor instead of nvim for the remainder of the tutorial.


genfstab -U /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

Change root into the new system

arch-chroot /mnt

Set the timezone

ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/[continent or country]/[city] /etc/localtime


ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/America/Chicago /etc/localtime

Note: to see available continents, run ls /usr/share/zoneinfo/. Likewise, to see available cities, run ls /usr/share/zoneinfo/[continent]/.

hwclock --systohc

Choose locales

nvim /etc/locale.gen

Uncomment the locales you wish to use (if you are not sure, just uncomment the line with en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8.


Then run

echo "LANG=[locale]" >> /etc/locale.conf


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


echo [hostname] >> /etc/hostname

Edit /etc/hosts

nvim /etc/hosts
# /etc/hosts          localhost
::1                localhost          [hostname].localdomain    [hostname]

Set the root password


Install useful programs

To be honest, I am not sure what every one of these is for, but I tried installing Arch without them and ran into problems.

pacman -S networkmanager network-manager-applet dialog wireless_tools wpa_supplicant os-prober mtools dosfstools base-devel linux-headers

Install a boot loader

Look up which boot loader is correct for the computer. I use grub for a ThinkPad T530. This step may be different depending on what hardward is being used. Do your own research to make sure you install a working boot loader.

pacman -S grub
grub-install --target=i386-pc /dev/sda
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Exit and reboot


umount -a