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@mattiaslundberg
Last active December 6, 2023 16:11
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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 (https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Installation_Guide) contains a more verbose description.
# Download the archiso image from https://www.archlinux.org/
# 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...
wifi-menu
# 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
passwd
# Add real user remove -s flag if you don't whish to use zsh
# useradd -m -g users -G wheel -s /bin/zsh MYUSERNAME
# passwd 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
grub-install
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
exit
# Unmount all partitions
umount -R /mnt
swapoff -a
# Reboot into the new system, don't forget to remove the cd/usb
reboot
@CyberManifest
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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 ryan.k.mckee@gmail.com
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKoEUpAfLcc ?

@mattiaslundberg
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@CyberManifest
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!

@angvp
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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.

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

@msebolt
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msebolt commented Jun 13, 2017

Blown away!

@dbio
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dbio commented Sep 20, 2017

Thank you so much for this!

@joseph4321
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Thanks for writing this, it was very helpful.

@aminnairi
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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
GRUB_ENABLE_CRYPTODISK=y
  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.

@ellcs
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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.

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Securely_wipe_disk#Preparations_for_block_device_encryption

@MarkusH
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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.

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

@cdolan
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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 https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=242594. In summary:

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

@vitorqb
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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.

@duesee
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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 (https://wiki.archlinux.de/title/UEFI_Installation#GRUB) in the last note.

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

@vincegio
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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.

@JPenuchot
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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!

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

@jadeaffenjaeger
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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:

https://etrommer.github.io/projects/2020/01/22/arch-linux-encrypted-dual-boot-windows-systemd-boot.html

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.

@hirowatari
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Thanks!

@jherrlin
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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?

@jadeaffenjaeger
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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.

@jherrlin
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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!

@palanthis
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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.)

@dakyskye
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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>.

@nsa
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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.

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

https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Iwd#iwctl

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