How to install Arch Linux with XFCE Desktop

This tutorial will give you the detailed step by step instructions to install the leightweight OS Arch Linux with XFCE Desktop on your computer. I have skipped all the optional content making it as short and simple as possible. I didn't use "cdisk" beacuse it has its own complications so i preferred using "fdisk" instead. Any queries feel free to commment I'll sort it out.


Download Arch Linux

You can download the Arch Linux installation iso from here. After the download mount the .iso file within your machine or burn it to media as you wish. Start your machine after the mount and you will have this screen.

Select the first option and hit ENTER. And it will start the live boot from the .iso or your media. You will be logged in as root by default.

[email protected] ~ #

After being logged in as root you will have to check your internet conection.


If you get a reply back its fine, or else type in:


After typing the above command you will see something like this:

Now go ahead and ping once again. You should be able to get back a relpy from your ping and make sure to press "CTRL + C" to stop your ping or it will go on.

Assuming you have eshtabblished your internet connection, we will proceed with the disk partioning. I'm using "fdisk" for partioning you can use anything you like. Basically fdisk is used to create DOS partitions, you might use cgdisk to create GPT partitions and others as per your wish. Type in the following command :

fdisk /dev/sda

Hit ENTER and you will get a screen like this:

As you see in the above image we used fdisk to create a MBR partion on the drive. Type o, hit ENTER then. Type n - this will create a new partition and p is for making it the primary prartition. Followed by chosing the partition number and setting the partition size +xG where "G = gigabyte". Then format. To create a non MBR partition check the following image.

Now after creating the partitions successfully, we are going to create filesystem:

mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda1

Do the same thing on your other partitions too. Just change the last number to the number of your drive.

Preparing for the base install.

We will be mounting all partions to the directories. So type in the following commands:

Now you have mounted your patitions, now its time to install your base system. Type in the following:

pacstrap /mnt base base-devel

In the above command the base will insall base and base-devel will install other utilities. Hit ENTER and there you go. Your installation will look like this at some point. Even if it doesn't, don't worry. This is how it could look like:

After completing the download, we are going to create the fstab file:

genfstab /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

Now to verify your file just type in:

nano /mnt/etc/fstab

It will look like this

Make sure you got the read and write permission of the partitions. Then going into the system type in:

arch-chroot /mnt

After getting to this point, set the password for root and install BIOS.

Type in the above underlined commands will update your passsword and install BIOS. Then go ahead and install grub on to your HDD.

grub-install /dev/sda

It should be like this :

mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Type the above to update your GRUB. Change your hostname by typing:

echo vbox > /etc/hostname

Now do the following to unmount the partitions

So basically you have installed your Arch Linux system now. Restart your system - go ahead and select the option Boot from Existing OS from your live iso boot menu.
Start with enabling the inernet connection by default, by which it will start with the system startup.

systemctl enable dhcpcd
shutdown -P -h now

The above commands will enable dhcpcd and shut down your system.
Befor restarting again, make sure you remove all the installation media this time. Log in with your root user and ENTER the password you created earlier. Just go ahead and ping to make sure dhcpcd services are working.

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23 Comment(s)

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By: cirrus

at the start you claim off the bat pinging google will work, which is not the case if on wi-fi i suggest you add ' if on wi fi type wifi-menu' whilst booted into iso' regards

By: Michael Murrah

Dude whats with the attitude, the guy is trying to help , I read the same thing and assumed he was talking about a wired connection. Chill man especially when someone who doesn't owe you a dime is trying to help.

By: JOduMonT

after few test and search

i'm pretty sure it's grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

and not mkconfig -o ...


Yes, JOduMonT. You are correct. This is my first attempt at using Arch but i have used other distros for awhile. It took me a few failed attempts until i realized grub-mkconfig was the correct command.

This guide was handy, along with a few other sources such as Arch's Wiki. I am now booted into xfce on Arch. Thank you.

By: Soto

Thank you but I prefer Cinnamone :)

By: Anonymous

You're welcome, now get lost.  This article is for Arch.



thankyou for your awsome article. i really needed it.

By: Michael Smith

Thanks to your tutorial, I have setup Arch linux on my PC and I am feeling the stability already :)

By: Archie

"Now after creating the partitions successfully, we are going to create filesystem"

...what partitions?

By: Daniel Aidoo

grub-install error

grub-install:warning:File system ext2 doesnt support embedding

willnot proceed with blocklists


By: Tegan

If you used unetbootin to create the bootable usb and are having problems, the answer here helped me make a bootable USB from another linux system.

Like some of the previous comments it's grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg 


By: Vladimir

i don't find .xinitrc file!! it's missing in my arch

By: anthony

My condolences; you make absolutely no sense. Musn't be hard for you to get lost, eh? What was regarded as "Cinnamone" is actually a desktop environment and therefore may be installed on any UNIX system, including "Arch"; hell you can even install it on something as obscure as Darwin or such. Stop being a dick, and stop bumbling about nonsense.

By: derek

Cant get .xinitrc to show up after install of xfce4


Pacman virtual box guest ?

I think this guide was make (screenshots) in virtual machine, then ignore that part !

By: darian Brown

when i install the xfce4 package all goes well all the way through until i try to do the ls -la command, as i don't have the necessary file .xinitrc. what am i  doing wrong?


By: needtrees

for virtualbox need to also run 'pacman -S xorg virtualbox-guest-utils'

By: ma


I tried to install archlinux. but I have some problems that I wrote at the bottom.

1.when I try to install alsa-utils ,I get an errror(warning: database file for 'custom' does not exit

error:failed to prepare transaction(could not find database))


2.when I try to install xorg pack,I get an error( warning: database file for 'custom' does not exit

error : target not found: xorg-init )

I tried a couple of command:

pacman -Sy

pacman -Syy

pacman -Syyu

but nothing changed.

By: anon

@archie (basic linux partition)

B*/root (ext4)


/home (ext4)

By: newbie

simple and lightwieght post just like arch! 

well done 

By: Anonymous

No need to be a prick

By: marc

check your docs grub-mkconfig ????

By: xarilaos

Keep It Simple.