Installing Arch Linux on VMware [Easiest Guide]

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Arch Linux is a distribution of Linux that is renowned for its flexibility and customizability. But its installation process can seem daunting to newcomers. Fear not! VMware is a powerful virtualization platform that offers a safe environment to explore Arch Linux without affecting your primary operating system. In this guide, I’ll navigate the straightforward steps of installing Arch Linux on VMware. Whether you’re a Linux novice or a seasoned enthusiast, this guide will help you.

Minimum Requirements to Install Arch Linux in VMware

  • RAM: 512 MB (2 GB+ recommended).
  • Storage: 2 GB (20 GB+ recommended).

What is Arch Linux?

Arch Linux is a lightweight, highly customizable, Linux distribution known for its minimalist approach. It’s a rolling-release system, continuously updated for users to create their tailored OS. Key features include the Pacman package manager, the Arch User Repository (AUR) for software management, and an extensive and reliable documentation source in the form of Arch Wiki.

Overall, Arch Linux is ideal for Linux enthusiasts looking for maximum control but is best suited for users with some Linux experience due to its command-line and system administration.

Key Features of Arch Linux

  • Customization: Users can shape the OS to their preferences.
  • Rolling Release Model: Constantly updates for features, security, and bug fixes.
  • Archi User Repository (AUR): Access a vast community-driven package collection.
  • Archi Wiki: Provides its extensive documentation, primarily through the Archi Wiki.
  • Minimalistic Base: Build your system from a bare-bones foundation.
  • Cutting-Edge-Software: Stay current with the latest software releases.

How to Install Arch Linux on VMware

To install Arch Linux on VMware using the command line interface (CLI), follow the steps below:

Step 1: Download Arch Linux ISO Image

To download the Arch Linux ISO image:

  1. Go to the ArchLInux download page.
  2. Select the nearest server from your current location. Then click on the latest release’s ISO file. This will start downloading the iso file in your system. Download arch iso file as your convenience

Step 2: Create a Virtual Machine on VMware

Create a virtual machine on VMware by following the steps below:

  1. Open VMware and click on ‘Create a Virtual Machine’. Open VMware and click on create a virtual machine
  2. Choose ‘Typical(recommended)’ as a type of configuration. Choose Typical as type of installation
  3. Check the ‘installer disc image file (ISO)’ to install the OS. Then click on ‘Browse’ and select the downloaded iso file from your host operating system. Choose the second installation process and click on browse to fetch the iso file
  4. After that, select Linux as a Guest Operating System, and select ‘Other Linux 5.x kernel 64-bit’ in the version option. Select Linux as guest operating system and choose a version of that.
  5. Give a name to the virtual machine and browse the location where you want to keep the VM. Set a name of the VM and specify the location of the VM using Browse
  6. Specify the disk capacity with a minimum of 30 GB of disk size and choose to ‘split virtual disk into multiple files’. Specify 30GB as disc capacity.
  7. This prompt shows the whole configuration of the virtual machine newly created. Shows the settings of the VM

If you want any change there, click on the ‘Customize Hardware’ option. Otherwise, click on Finish.

Finally, this is the newly created  virtual machine named Arch Linux. Virtual Machine created

Step 3: Configure the Virtual Machine Settings

To configure the virtual machine for Arch Linux installation, follow the steps:

  1. Right-click on the virtual machine (Arch Linux), and click on Settings. Right click on the Arch Linux and click on the settings.
  2. Now, click on the Memory option and set 4GB memory space. Allocate 4GB memory to this virtual machine.
  3. Navigate to Options > Advanced option. Choose UEFI as the firmware type and click on OK. Set UEFI as firmware type.

Step 4: Power on the Arch Linux VM

Select the Arch Linux VM and click on the “Power on this virtual machine” option. Power on the virtual machine to start booting.

Step 5: Boot and Pre-installation Setup

After booting, follow the pre-installation setup:

  1. Take the cursor over the “Arch Linux Booting interface” and click to enter into the GNU GRUB interface.
  2. Now, select the “Arch Linux install medium” using the DOWN Arrow key from the keyboard and press ENTER. Select "Arch Linux install medium" using the "down arrow" on your keyboard. Shows the booting of Arch Linux VM.After booting, you’ll see an interface like below. Appears an interface after booting.
    Note: If you want to change the console font while Arch Linux installation, run the command to get a list of the available console fonts:
    ls /usr/share/kbd/consolefonts

    Then run the setfont command followed by the font name which you want to set. A recommended example is:

    setfont ter-224b.psf.gz.
  3. Now, to set keymaps, run:
  4. Check if the system is on UEFI boot mode using the command:
    ls /sys/firmware/efivars

    Confirms that the system is booting on UEFI mode.The above output confirms the booting mode as UEFI.

  5. Check the network connectivity by running ping command. For example:
    ping -c 4

    Check the system's network connectivity using "ping " command.

  6. Then, update the system clock using
    timedatectl set-ntp true

    After that, run

    timedatectl status

    Update system time

Step 6: Partitioning the Hard Disk

  1. First, to check the partitions of your storage, run the  fdisk -l command. Check the partitions of your system using "fsblk"command.
  2. Now, run cfdisk to create partitions in storage.
    An interface that shows four label type.An interface will appear showing four label types.
  3. Navigate to “get” (GUID Partition Table) by using the down arrow from your keyboard. Then, Press ENTER. Here, “gpt” is a partitioning scheme of UEFI-based firmware systems.
  4. Here, you have to create 3 partitions (Boot partition, Swap partition, and EFI system partition). To do that, select “New” and press ENTER. Select "New" and press ENTER to create the first partition.
  5. Boot partition requires a minimum size of 100MB, but 1GB is recommended. To set that, type “1G”. Then press ENTER. Set 1GB space for the first partition.
  6. Scroll down to “Free Space” and Select “New”. Then, press ENTER. Type “4G” as partition size and again press ENTER. Create second partition and set 4GB space for that.
  7. Again, repeat the same process to create the third partition. This time, type “25G” and press ENTER. Click on "New" to create the third partition.The third partition automatically takes away the rest of the space.Here, you can see the list of the newly created partitions with their size.
  8. Now, select “Write” using the arrow key and press ENTER.  Select "Write" option and press ENTER.
  9. Finally, type “yes” to write the partition table to the disk and press ENTER. Press "yes" to write the partition table in the disk.
  10. Lastly, select “Quit” and press ENTER. To exit from the interface, select "Quit" and press ENTER.
    To check the final partition table, run lsblk command.

Shows the partition table in the disk.

Step 7: Mount the Partitions

In the previous step, 3 partitions were created: sda1, sda2, and sda3. Now, to mount the partitions, you have to create the appropriate file system.

  1. To create and activate the swap file system, run the following commands:
    mkswap /dev/sda2
    swapon /dev/sda2

    Create and activate the swap file system.

  2. To create the root file system, run the following command:
    mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda3

    Creates root directory

  3. Create an EFI file system by running the following command:
    mkfs.fat -F32 /dev/sda1

    Creates EFI file system.

  4. Mount the created file systems using the commands:
    • Mount root partition: Run mount /dev/sda3 /mnt
    • Create boot directory: Run mkdir -p /mnt/boot/efi
    • Mount boot partition: Run mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot/efi
To check the partitions with their mount points, run lsblk. Shows the list of the mounted partitions.

Step 8: Install the Base System

Install the Arch Linux base system using:

pacstrap /mnt base linux linux-firmware base-devel grub nano efibootmgr networkmanager

installs the base system using "pacstrap".

Shows the installation of the base system.

Step 9: Generate “Fstab” File

Generate an fstab file to instruct the system on partition mounting location during the boot process using:

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

Step 10: Change Root into the System

Run the below command to change the root environment to the newly mounted directory /mnt.

arch-chroot /mnt

Changes the root.

Step 11: Set the Time Zone

Run the command to see the available timezones.

ls -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/US/Eastern etc/localtime Then, run the command below to synchronize the hardware clock:
hwclock --systohc

Set the time zone.

You can explore zoneinfo directory and subdirectories to find your time zone with the help of ls command.

Step 12: Edit the “locale.gen” file

  1. Open the locale.gen file using:
    nano /etc/locale.gen

    Opens the "locale.gen" file.

  2. Remove “#” to uncomment the locale you prefer. Press CTRL+O and ENTER to save the changes. Then exit from the editor using CTRL+X. Edit the "locale" file.
  3. Now, generate a locale using the command:

    Generate a locale.

  4. To configure the “/etc/locale.conf” file open it using nano /etc/locale.conf. After that, write “LANG=en_US.UTF-8”. Finally, press CTRL+O to save and CTRL+X to exit. Assign locale name to LANG

Step 13: Set a Hostname

Open the hostname file using:

nano /etc/hostname

Then write a name for the system. Set a hostname of the system Press CTRL+O to save and CTRL+X to exit.

Step 14: Set the Root Password and Create User

  1. To set the password, use:

    Here, type and re-type a password for the system. Set a password.

  2. Now, to create a user account, run the command:
    useradd -m -G wheel -s /bin/bash Auhonaa
    Replace Auhonaa with your name in the above command.

    Add user and set a password for the user account.

  3. To add the user to the sudoer file, open the file using the command
    EDITOR=nano visudo

    Then, uncomment the line “%wheel ALL=(ALL:ALL) ALL” line by removing “%”. Allows user to sudoers fileFinally, press CTRL+O and ENER. Then press CTRL+X to exit.

Step 15: Install a Boot Loader

  1. Install GRUB package using:
    pacman -S grub

     Install boot loader grub

  2. Now, to install GRUB to the /dev/sda disk, run:
    grub-install /dev/sda

    Install GRUB to the "/dev/sda" disk.

  3. Lastly, to generate the GRUB configuration file and save it to /boot/grub/grub.cfg, run the command below.
    grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

    Generate GRGUB configuration file.

Step 16: Reboot the System

  1. Run the following command to reboot the system:

    First exit and then Reboot.

  2. After rebooting, login to the user account by entering the username and password. After rebooting, login to the user account.

Step 17: Graphical Desktop Environment

  1. To set the graphical desktop environment for the Arch Linux system, run the command:
    sudo pacman -S gnome gnome-extra gdm

    Set a graphical desktop environment.

  2. Press ENTER multiple times to select packages. After that, type “Y” to proceed with the installation. Shows the installation of "grub, gdm".
  3. To start GNOME desktop environment, run the following command:
    sudo systemctl enable --now gdm

    This will take you to the “User login” interface.

  4. Now, provide the user credentials to log in and press ENTER. Now enter to the graphical desktop environment by using the user id and password.

Welcome to the Ach Linux GNOME desktop environment. Shows the "GNOME" desktop environment

To check the system details of the installed Arch Linux system, open the terminal and run the command neofetch. Check the system setup inside the GNOME desktop.


In conclusion, installing Arch Linux on VMware offers a gateway to the world of highly customizable and minimalistic Linux distributions without the risk of affecting your primary operating system. It may require some initial efforts, but the rewards are significant. Hope you have successfully installed Arch Linux on VMware. This guide provides a solid foundation to get you started with Archi Linux.

People Also Ask

What’s the difference between Linux and Arch Linux?

The key differences between Linux and Arch Linux:

Aspect Linux Arch Linux
Definition The core of an operating system. A specific Linux distribution.
Type Kernel. Linux distribution.
Rolling Release Not applicable. Pac-Man is used for package management.
Updates Kernel updates are separate and managed by distributions. Rolling updates for the entire system.

What are the powerful features of Arch Linux?

Arch Linux is often considered powerful due to its unique characteristics. Those are:

  1. Customization and Control: Arch Linux allows users for extensive customization and control over the components to install.
  2. Rolling Release Model: Arch Linux uses rolling release meaning that software is continuously updated rather than having scheduled major releases.
  3. Pac-Man Package Manager: This is the powerful package manager that handles package installation, upgrades, and removal.
  4. Arch User Repository (AUR): A vast community-driven repository that allows users to easily access and install packages not available in the official repositories.
  5. Documentation: The Arch wiki provides detailed guides, troubleshooting information, and documentation which make it more powerful.
  6. Community Involvement: Allows users to contribute to the forum, and share experiences that enhance the learning and problem-solving aspects.

What are the common issues in installing Arch Linux?

Some common issues that users might face while installing Arch Linux are:

  1. UEFI boot issues: Users on the UEFI system may face booth problems with the live environment. Disabling Secure Boot in the firmware settings can often resolve this issue.
  2. Partitioning Challenges: Understanding the partitioning scheme and file systems used by Arch Linux can be challenging, especially for users new to the distribution. Careful planning and adherence to the installation guide are essential.
  3. Network configuration issues: Configuring network connections, particularly wireless ones, can be complex. Users may need to install additional packages and drivers. Wireless configuration may require tools like “ip” or “iw”.
  4. Package Installation Issues: Installing packages on Arch Linux differs from other distributions. Users should familiarize themselves with the Pacman package manager, and understand how to update the package database, install packages, and manage dependencies. The Arch User Repository (AUR) offers additional software but requires careful review.

How to add GUI after installing Arch Linux?

To add a graphical user interface (GUI) to your Arch Linux installation,

  1. First, update the system using <code>sudo apcman -Syu command.
  2. Install the “X” server using <code>sudo pacman -S xorg command.
  3. Next, install a display manager using <code>sudo pacman -S lightdm command. Here, “LightDM” is a display manager.
  4. Now, enable the display manager by running the <code> sudo systemctl enable lightdm command.
  5. Lastly, run <code>sudo reboot to reboot your system to apply the changes.

After rebooting, you’ll see the LightDM login screen.

Can I install Arch Linux for use on the server?

Yes, you can install Arch Linux as a server operating system. Arch Linux is a lightweight and flexible Linux distribution that is versatile enough to suit server roles. After installing the base Arch Linux OS, you will need to configure the server to suit your needs. This may include installing additional software packages, configuring network settings, and setting up user accounts.

Is Arch Linux hard to install?

Arch Linux is known for having a more involved and manual installation process compared to some other Linux distributions. It requires users to manually configure various aspects of the system, making it a more challenging installation.

How do I boot Arch Linux from a USB?

To boot Arch Linux from a USB, you need to create a bootable USB drive with the Arch Linux ISO image. For this purpose, download the ISO file of Arch Linux and make it bootable using Etcher or Rufus. Once you have created the bootable USB drive, insert it into the computer you want to install Arch Linux on. Restart the computer and enter the BIOS settings. Change the boot order to boot from the USB drive, save the changes, and exit the BIOS settings.

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Auhona Islam

Auhona Islam is a dedicated professional with a background in Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) from Khulna University of Engineering & Technology. Graduating in 2023, Auhona is currently excelling in her role as a Linux content developer executive at SOFTEKO to provide a more straightforward route for Linux users. She aims to generate compelling materials for Linux users with her knowledge and skills. She holds her enthusiasm in the realm of Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DL), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Apart from these, she has a passion for playing instruments and singing. Read Full Bio

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