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Minimal instructions for installing arch linux on an UEFI system with full system encryption using dm-crypt and luks
# Install ARCH Linux with encrypted file-system and UEFI
# The official installation guide ( contains a more verbose description.
# Download the archiso image from
# Copy to a usb-drive
dd if=archlinux.img of=/dev/sdX bs=16M && sync # on linux
# Boot from the usb. If the usb fails to boot, make sure that secure boot is disabled in the BIOS configuration.
# Set swedish keymap
loadkeys sv-latin1
# This assumes a wifi only system...
# Create partitions
cgdisk /dev/sdX
1 100MB EFI partition # Hex code ef00
2 250MB Boot partition # Hex code 8300
3 100% size partiton # (to be encrypted) Hex code 8300
mkfs.vfat -F32 /dev/sdX1
mkfs.ext2 /dev/sdX2
# Setup the encryption of the system
cryptsetup -c aes-xts-plain64 -y --use-random luksFormat /dev/sdX3
cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdX3 luks
# Create encrypted partitions
# This creates one partions for root, modify if /home or other partitions should be on separate partitions
pvcreate /dev/mapper/luks
vgcreate vg0 /dev/mapper/luks
lvcreate --size 8G vg0 --name swap
lvcreate -l +100%FREE vg0 --name root
# Create filesystems on encrypted partitions
mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/vg0-root
mkswap /dev/mapper/vg0-swap
# Mount the new system
mount /dev/mapper/vg0-root /mnt # /mnt is the installed system
swapon /dev/mapper/vg0-swap # Not needed but a good thing to test
mkdir /mnt/boot
mount /dev/sdX2 /mnt/boot
mkdir /mnt/boot/efi
mount /dev/sdX1 /mnt/boot/efi
# Install the system also includes stuff needed for starting wifi when first booting into the newly installed system
# Unless vim and zsh are desired these can be removed from the command
pacstrap /mnt base base-devel grub-efi-x86_64 zsh vim git efibootmgr dialog wpa_supplicant
# 'install' fstab
genfstab -pU /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab
# Make /tmp a ramdisk (add the following line to /mnt/etc/fstab)
tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
# Change relatime on all non-boot partitions to noatime (reduces wear if using an SSD)
# Enter the new system
arch-chroot /mnt /bin/bash
# Setup system clock
ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Stockholm /etc/localtime
hwclock --systohc --utc
# Set the hostname
echo MYHOSTNAME > /etc/hostname
# Update locale
echo LANG=en_US.UTF-8 >> /etc/locale.conf
echo LANGUAGE=en_US >> /etc/locale.conf
echo LC_ALL=C >> /etc/locale.conf
# Set password for root
# Add real user remove -s flag if you don't whish to use zsh
# useradd -m -g users -G wheel -s /bin/zsh MYUSERNAME
# Configure mkinitcpio with modules needed for the initrd image
vim /etc/mkinitcpio.conf
# Add 'ext4' to MODULES
# Add 'encrypt' and 'lvm2' to HOOKS before filesystems
# Regenerate initrd image
mkinitcpio -p linux
# Setup grub
In /etc/default/grub edit the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="cryptdevice=/dev/sdX3:luks:allow-discards" then run:
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
# Exit new system and go into the cd shell
# Unmount all partitions
umount -R /mnt
swapoff -a
# Reboot into the new system, don't forget to remove the cd/usb
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HardenedArray commented Jan 30, 2017

Mattias - Thank you for your effort in creating an UEFI-booting, encrypted Arch installation framework that appears to have attracted a following. I agree with the thrust of several users' comments that the Arch installation wiki, with respect to achieving UEFI booting on an encrypted root and swap Arch system can seem confusing and ambiguous. I can assure you, several other major linux flavors are far worse, in that they are either silent, or lack important information, in support of the vital topic of secure system encryption. Your guide simplifies and eases the Arch Linux installation process for users who care about the maintenance of their privacy.

I'd like to offer some comments which I believe will prove useful to the average user, and particularly to those who are new to Arch Linux, or even to Linux.

N.B.: All of my comments pertain specifically to my tested Arch x86_64 installation process using the 1 January 2017 Arch Linux *.iso, which was the latest media available at the time of this post. That being said, it is highly probable my comments remain pertinent to users of previous, and also likely, to users of future Arch installation media releases.

I UEFI boot and run more than five operating systems from my SSD. All of my OSes UEFI boot from my single, 100 MiB, EFI partition. All of my OSes have encrypted root and swap, utilizing my SSD's native hardware-based AES-256-bit encryption support with BitLocker or Linux's software-based LUKS on LVM encryption to secure my data, when at rest. My Arch Linux install is just another encrypted Linux OS installation that happens to reside on my SSD.

My comments are targeted toward those interested in encrypted multi-OS booting, as well as to those who just want to install encrypted Arch. I hope my experience and insights prove beneficial:

  1. Mattias's guide will work, as published, but it is not ideal for all users. In several important areas, the guide offers incorrect or unnecessary advice, which I've addressed below. Blindly following guides on the Net and hoping for a successful outcome without understanding the implications is never a recommended practice. Tremendous effort by many tremendous people has been expended publishing the superlative ArchWiki over the years, so use it to your advantage: Read, Think, and only then, Install.

  2. The partioning and filesystems advice are correct. If you multi-boot, be sure you mount Arch's /boot/efi at your existing ESP partition. If you installed Windows 10 first, your EFI partition is likely to be /dev/sda2.

  3. I would never use the term 'luks' as a /dev/mapper mount point, as it can prove confusing with several cryptsetup commands, as in:

    a. cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdX3 luks. Instead, use a unique, memorable mount point. I'm currently fond of:
    b. cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdXY 2016-Global-OpSec-Champion-LyingHillary

Y can be set to any integer value appropriate to your system drive's partition structure.

  1. On modern, capable, computers, including laptops, with sufficient DRAM, allocating 8 GiB of drive space dedicated to swap is simply a waste of system resources. 512 MiB of encrypted swap drive space is more than sufficient, if you even need swap.

  2. Your chosen VG and LV names are completely arbitrary. The terms: vg0, root and swap can be 'swapped out' for any names memorable to you. Arch, as a volume group label, works for me.

  3. The mounting instructions are correct. Multi-OS UEFI-booters will need to adjust their partition mounts, as appropriate to their drive layout, keeping in mind that /boot, /boot/efi, and '/' root-owned mount points are required for correct Arch system installation.

  4. I disagree that adding a tmpfs mount point is required, or whether it is even advantageous to add a RAM disk, particularly if you plan on installing a DE later. Adding tmpfs to /etc/fstab is not necessary, at all.

  5. The locales advice offered, once chrooted, is not correct, especially if you are an English speaker. If English is your native language, you need to edit exactly two lines to correctly configure your language settings:

    a. In /etc/locale.gen uncomment only: en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8
    b. In /etc/locale.conf, you should only have this line: LANG=en_US.UTF-8

These language settings are critical to the proper operation of your Arch system, and incorrect language settings can prevent a DE from even launching a terminal if they are not set correctly! If you install a DE, you should configure additional languages through its Region/Language settings to ensure the correct dependencies get installed. Most users will benefit by reading up on how to properly enable spell-checking support, post-installation.

Furthermore, users should carefully consider this warning prior to setting 'LC_ALL=C', as suggested. See:

LC_ALL: troubleshooting
The locale set for this variable will always override LANG and all the other LC_* variables, whether they are set or not.
LC_ALL is the only LC_* variable, which cannot be set in locale.conf files: it is meant to be used only for testing or troubleshooting purposes, for example in /etc/profile.

  1. The vast majority of users will find the (default) BASH terminal far more intuitive than using zsh, but personal preferences vary. Default programs don't make it into major Linux distributions without thoughtful reasoning, especially when it comes to something as critical as a terminal.

  2. There is no need to add 'ext4' to MODULES. I run an ext4 encrypted Arch Linux root filesystem without issue. There is no 'ext4' in my MODULES statement.

  3. This hooks statement (in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf) is known to work well:

HOOKS="base udev autodetect modconf block keymap encrypt lvm2 resume filesystems keyboard fsck"

If you've made changes, re-run 'mkinitcpio -p linux' as root.

  1. The correct way to install grub on an UEFI computer, irrespective of your use of a HDD or SSD, and whether you are installing dedicated Arch, or multi-OS booting, is:

grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot/efi --bootloader-id=ArchLinux

Note that bootloader-id can also be set to any label of memorable value to you. The suggested ArchWiki label of '--bootloader-id=grub' is a non-descriptive, non-creative, and a generally poor, idea.

  1. Even if you use a SSD, do not enable 'allow-discards' in /etc/default/grub, specifically:


There exist better SSD solutions, without the security implications. Read, first.

  1. You also may want to consider adding something like 'resume=/dev/mapper/MyVolGroupName-MyLVSwapName' to your GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX.

  2. As always, following any change to /etc/default/grub: re-run: 'grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg' as root, and reboot.

I hope these comments provide further insight, flexibility and utility to those interested. Best of luck, enjoy running and continuously learning about new ways to optimize your UEFI-booting, properly encrypted Arch Linux system!


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@HardenedArray Thanks for the feedback on the instructions. I will update the instructions as soon as I have more time to try everything out.

The reason for sharing this in the first place was the effort I had to put in to install my system 3 years ago, and I tried to keep it as short as possible. Some configuration (multiboot for example) are missing and others are specific (setting zsh as a shell) to fit my personal needs. At some parts it looks like I have made mistakes as sometimes happens. I'm glad that you and others have pointed this out as I get an opportunity to learn new things about my system.

I would hope that this is used as a start for customizing to every users custom needs (as many have done in the many forks). I agree that every user following this should understand what they are doing in every step and the Arch Wiki documents this.

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HardenedArray commented Feb 1, 2017

Halloj Mattias,

I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I know you had your heart in the right place, which is always the most important character trait.

As I previously mentioned, there exist several far more poorly documented, yet purportedly 'secure' OSes, especially when it concerns the critically important matters of proper root and swap encryption, and correct UEFI booting.

I won't mention any names to protect The Guilty, but they know who they are, and all of them are very likely to burn in Hell in return for the immense suffering they caused on my end, at least until I figured out the correct encryption and booting procedures on my own!

As opposed to expecting future installers to continuously flip between your guide and my comments, I've composed a clean Arch installation guide which incorporates my comments above.

You, or anyone else interested, are welcome to test my encrypted, UEFI-booting, Arch installation procedure at:

Obviously, all users should adapt my instructions to their drive constraints, preferences and intended outcomes.

Feedback and suggested improvements are always welcome.

Please continue your good work Mattias!

All the best,


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CyberManifest commented Feb 15, 2017

Has this piece been updated with the feedback taken into consideration?
Forgive me, I'm a n00b when it comes to Arch Linux, Linux, or scripting. I was curious to know (again forgive me of my ignorance), is this a script or simply a guide? If it is a script how may I implement it? I'd like to Install Arch Linux (with UEFI support; securing with cryptography is a bonus) on a Virtual Machine (via VirtualBox) on a macOS host, and I don't know what I'm doing or understand any of it. I found the Arch Linux wiki to be confusing on matters of UEFI (especially regarding a mount point of /boot/efi) and also regarding the partitioning method with the available tools. I'm lead to believe that the efi partition is supposed to be in a FAT32/or compatible format due to the fact of uncertainty if a firmware will support anything else. If I'm sure that VirtualBox can support other file formats can the efi partition be formatted in something more native to Linux? I prefer BASH (as it's the only one I'm generally familiar with) for a command shell, as opposed to ZSH and I would like to have a partition scheme of:
/boot /dev/sdx1 EFI System Partition 1 GiB (with a sub mount for efi as in: /boot/efi)
/ /dev/sdx2 Linux 20.5 GiB
[SWAP] /dev/sdx3 Linux swap 8 GiB
/home /dev/sdx4 Linux 20.5 GiB
Can someone lend this n00b / new beginner some gracious guidance beyond the typical go "rtfm"; I'm a very hands on and visual learner so I'd like to have a system up and running to experiment with and visualize as I'm rtfing the manual and man pages. I find the Arch Linux Wiki just as indispensable as the man pages and other documentation in furthering my knowledge and understanding of this system, regardless of the confusion it sometimes dispenses. If someone is able to lend some assistance and enlighten me on how to implement this information in a way that I'm able to contain my specific customizations, please do not hesitate to contact me at
I would greatly like to achieve the original authors intents as my own but in a why I understand and is meaningful to me specifically.
NOTE: I took a look at the revenge installation tool (a Graphical Installation for Arch Linux) but it said that UEFI is not yet implemented or supported.
EDIT: Can this be implemented like shown in this video: ?

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This is written more as a guide in script form than an actual runnable script. So read it more as a guide.

Since you're a beginner and don't need to install Arch Linux on an actual system, I would recommend to install without UEFI and encryption as outlined in Install instructions. Then if you choose to move on and install Arch Linux directly on your mac these instructions should make more sense!

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angvp commented Mar 2, 2017

Hi @mattiaslundberg I found that I need to update the grub line to this

cryptdevice=/dev/sdX3:lvmpool root=/dev/mapper/vg0-root

Otherwise is going to have issues after introducing the password.

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Finally! Thank you!
I tried to follow the official guide and it didnt work

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msebolt commented Jun 13, 2017

Blown away!

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djio01 commented Sep 20, 2017

Thank you so much for this!

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Thanks for writing this, it was very helpful.

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Great work! 😎

Just some points to notice:

  1. Newer version of GRUB have a new parameter to enable crypted device to open, so we have to uncomment the line
  1. If you generated your fstab with UUIDs, you should do it also for your GRUB command line
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="cryptdevice=UUID=<UUID_OF_THE_DEVICE>:cryptoluks root=/dev/mapper/volname-devicename quiet"

You can get the UUID of a disk using blkid on a given disk like

$ blkid /dev/sdb1

Hope this helps some that are in my case when I couldn't seem to make GRUB open the crypted device.

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ellcs commented Feb 24, 2018

Hey, hey! Thanks for sharing.
There is definitely the shred your device part missing!
It's important since you want to

  • Wipe old data on the device.
  • Ensure not used/written parts are filled with junk.

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MarkusH commented Oct 4, 2018

This is a nice step by step gist. Thanks you very much!

A few notes / remarks:

  • In line 62 change ln -s to ln -sf because /etc/localtime already exists.
  • In lines 76-78 you optionally add a user that's in the "wheel" group. However, that user won't be allowed to use sudo until they're added in the sudoers file. I suggest to add a line to run visudo and uncomment the line %wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL in the sudoers file.

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grub-mkconfig does nothing but hangs... what can i do. there is no terminal output or anything

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cdolan commented Jan 5, 2019

grub-mkconfig does nothing but hangs... what can i do. there is no terminal output or anything

The issue of grub-mkconfig hanging is discussed and resolved in In summary:

mkdir /mnt/hostlvm
mount --bind /run/lvm /mnt/hostlvm
arch-chroot /mnt
ln -s /hostlvm /run/lvm

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vitorqb commented Mar 18, 2019

After 8 hours trying to replicate an old setup I had with disk encryption, your post just saved me life. I can't thank you enough.

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duesee commented Apr 9, 2019

Just in case this is useful to someone: I had to move /boot/efi/EFI/arch/grubx64.efi to /boot/efi/EFI/boot/bootx64.efi on my Dell Latitude. Otherwise I got the "no bootable medium found" error. Found this in the german Arch Wiki ( in the last note.

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@duesee YES! Thank you. I needed that for my 2015 MacBook Pro to recognize my external Arch installation.

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vincegio commented Oct 7, 2019

Read that they changed how the base package is shipped. Seems like it is a group now? How does this affect the installation. Appears to be a more minimal approach missing some extra packages.

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Hey! linux and linux-firmware need to be added in the pacstrap command now :)

Thanks for that gist, I've been using it for all my Arch installs since over a year now!

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@JPenuchot I second this. Also, you may need mkinitcpio and lvm2.

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jadeaffenjaeger commented Jan 23, 2020

I've written an updated and slightly more detailed version of this, if anyone is interested:

The key differences are that I use systemd-boot instead of GRUB, don't use any additional partitions and set it up as as an Arch/Windows Dual Boot.

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jherrlin commented Jun 2, 2020

@jadeaffenjaeger I know it's been a while but would you like to elaborate on why you did LVM when you only had one partition?

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@jadeaffenjaeger I know it's been a while but would you like to elaborate on why you did LVM when you only had one partition?

No strong reason, and could certainly be done without. I added LVM because I find that it makes resizing things easier if needed somewhere down the line and isn't a lot of extra effort.

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@jadeaffenjaeger I know it's been a while but would you like to elaborate on why you did LVM when you only had one partition?

No strong reason, and could certainly be done without. I added LVM because I find that it makes resizing things easier if needed somewhere down the line and isn't a lot of extra effort.

Thank you for the answer! Makes sense!

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Touching on one thing someone pointed out. Yes, you need to add linux and linux-firmware to your pacstrap line. Although, firmware can technically be added once in chroot. To clarify, base is now a meta package and base-devel is a group.

And to reiterate what some others have said. This is a good guide, but I highly recommend that you also refer to the wiki as you go and make sure you know why you are taking these particular steps. Remember: If you end up with a working system, but you don't understand how you got there, you didn't really install Arch. You just followed some directions. The essence of Arch is building your system your way and that requires understanding why you made certain decisions (GRUB vs SystemD, LVM or not, fstrim settings for SSDs, etc.)

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dakyskye commented Jul 21, 2020

This is perfect guide. However, if anybody is using this instructions to install and configure GRUB, and also has Windows or other system on another drive, and does not wanna break their boot manager, make sure to instead install just grub, and as said on Arch wiki, run grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot/efi --bootloader-id=GRUB /dev/sd<THE DRIVE YOU JUST INSTALLED ARCH ON>.

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nsa commented Apr 2, 2021

what if you add status=progress option to dd at line 6? I believe it would be helpful to see the progress of dd.

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Wi-Fi connection steps need updating wif-menu is no more

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