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Install Arch Linux with Full Disk Encryption (LVM on LUKS)


There are 2 choices:

  • UEFI/GPT mode: UEFI boot mode / GPT partition table
  • BIOS/MBR mode: Legacy boot mode / MBR partition table

I tried to install in UEFI mode, but my laptop (Acer E5-475-336H) had problems with it, and didn't boot after installation. This is how I installed arch linux in BIOS/MBR mode with full disk encryption (using LUKS), and LVM on LUKS.


I assume that /dev/sda is the system's disk, and /dev/sdb is USB drive.


  1. Download arch iso image from and copy to a USB drive.

    # dd if=arch.iso of=/dev/sdb
  2. Set boot mode to "Legacy" in BIOS configuration, and boot from USB.

  3. Connect to internet. Wired connection is preferred since it's easier to connect. See arch wiki.

  4. Partitioning

    A drive should first be partitioned and afterwards the partitions should be formatted with a file system. Use fdisk to create MBR partitions.

    # fdisk /dev/sda

    First, create an empty MBR partition table (WARNING: This will erase entire disk)

    (fdisk) o

    We are going to create 2 main partitions (/dev/sda1 and /dev/sda2):

    Device     Boot     Start       End   Sectors   Size Id Type
    /dev/sda1            2048    526335    524288   256M 83 Linux      /boot
    /dev/sda2          526336 765986815 765460480   365G 83 Linux      Encrypted with LUKS, 3 LVM partitions:
        swap  vg0 -wi-ao----   8.00g                                   swap
        root  vg0 -wi-ao----  80.00g                                   /
        anbar vg0 -wi-ao---- 277.00g
    /dev/sda3       765986816 976773167 210786352 100.5G 83 Linux      (Optional) Other partitions if you need... You can encrypt them separately with another password

    Create partitions:

    (fdisk) n
    (fdisk) p
    (fdisk) 1
    (fdisk) <Enter>
    (fdisk) +256M
    (fdisk) t
    (fdisk) 83
    (fdisk) n
    (fdisk) p
    (fdisk) 2
    (fdisk) <Enter>
    (fdisk) +365G
    (fdisk) t
    (fdisk) 83
    (fdisk) n
    (fdisk) p
    (fdisk) 3
    (fdisk) <Enter>
    (fdisk) <Enter>
    (fdisk) t
    (fdisk) 83
    (fdisk) w (Write Changes)

    Format Partitions:

    mkfs.ext2 /dev/sda1
  5. Setup encryption

    # cryptsetup -c aes-xts-plain64 -y --use-random luksFormat /dev/sda2
    # cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda2 luks
  6. Create LVM 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 --size 80G vg0 --name root
    # lvcreate -l +100%FREE vg0 --name anbar
  7. Format LVM partitions

    # mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/vg0-root
    # mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/vg0-anbar
    # mkswap /dev/mapper/vg0-swap
  8. Mount the new system

    # mount /dev/mapper/vg0-root /mnt
    # mkdir /mnt/boot
    # mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot
    # swapon /dev/mapper/vg0-swap
  9. Install the base system

    # pacstrap -i /mnt base base-devel linux linux-firmware openssh git vim
  10. Generate /etc/fstab. This file can be used to define how disk partitions, various other block devices, or remote filesystems should be mounted into the filesystem.

    # genfstab -pU /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

    (Optional) For making /tmp a ramdisk, add following line to /mnt/etc/fstab:

    tmpfs	/tmp	tmpfs	defaults,noatime,mode=1777	0	0
  11. Enter the new system

    # arch-chroot /mnt /bin/bash
  12. Set TimeZone

    See available timezones:
    # ls /usr/share/zoneinfo/
    Set timezone:
    # ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Asia/Tehran /etc/localtime
  13. Set Locale

    # vim /etc/locale.gen (uncomment en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8)
    # locale-gen
    # echo LANG=en_US.UTF-8 > /etc/locale.conf
    # export LANG=en_US.UTF-8
  14. Set the hardware clock mode uniformly between your operating systems. Otherwise, they may overwrite the hardware clock and cause time shifts.

    # hwclock --systohc --utc
  15. Set hostname

    # echo myhostname > /etc/hostname

    Add it to /etc/hosts:	localhost
    ::1		localhost	myhostname.localdomain	myhostname
  16. Create User

    # useradd -m -g users -G wheel -s myusername
    # passwd myusername
    # visudo
    uncomment %wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL
  17. 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
  18. Setup grub

    # pacman -S grub
    # grub-install --target=i386-pc --recheck /dev/sda

    In /etc/default/grub edit the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX to:


    [Tip] To automatically search for other operating systems on your computer, install os-prober (pacman -S os-prober) before running the next command.

    # grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
  19. Exit new system and unmount all partitions

    # exit
    # umount -R /mnt
    # swapoff -a
  20. Reboot into the new system. Don't forget to remove the CD/USB.

    # reboot
  21. Connect to internet.

    Configure systemd-networkd. Create file /etc/systemd/network/


    Restart systemd-networkd and systemd-resolved:

    # systemctl restart systemd-networkd systemd-resolved
    # ping

    Restart systemd-networkd and systemd-resolved again if required.

  22. System is installed now. If you want to install Gnome desktop, perform following steps.

  23. Install Xorg server

    # pacman -S xorg-server xorg-server-utils
  24. Install graphics driver (Arch wiki). For my laptop, graphics driver is xf86-video-intel.

    # pacman -S xf86-video-intel
  25. Install Gnome Display Manager and Gnome Desktop.

    # pacman -S gnome gdm
    # pacman -S gnome-extra gnome-system-tools  (Optional)
  26. Enable GDM service

    # systemctl enable gdm
  27. Reboot!

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lukesmolo commented Jan 15, 2018

I think the root indication in GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX is missing.
I added "root=/dev/mapper/vg0-root" in order to be able to boot.

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chindit commented Sep 28, 2019

Tanks A LOT for your work. I was struggling with Grub config.

You made it so clear. Thanks again!

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mold-resistant commented Oct 10, 2019

Thank you a very helpful guide to my first encrypted Arch install!

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quienesbryan commented Oct 15, 2019

hi there, everything looks good until i try to install on arch linux 20191001 iso, mkinitcpio not found

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LukasWerthmanns commented Oct 25, 2019


hi there, everything looks good until i try to install on arch linux 20191001 iso, mkinitcpio not found

I worked around the issue through running "pacman -S mkinicpio linux-firmware linux" idk if there is a better way

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SnailShea commented Apr 12, 2020

I had to manually install lvm2 for the initcpio to be created successfully. Thanks for this guide!

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Spen53 commented Mar 12, 2021

This script helped immensely installing on an old hp probook 6550b with a ssd drive.
I have a problem with the home partition. It is not connected at boot. It is not in the fstab.
When I tried to edit my fstab and add it using the UUID, then while booting up, I get to my login (lightdm) but it no longer accepts my password.
I did run grub-mkconfig and re-checked the file to make sure all was there and not more.
Any ideas, I can do a complete re-install if necessary.?

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