Here are a few things to do after you complete installing a basic Arch Linux in your system.
Arch Linux gives you a solid foundation to build your own custom Linux distribution. If you have installed a very basic Arch Linux installation using the archinstall or any other script, then it’s time to perform some post-installation steps to tailor your system. This article assumes that there are no GUI or desktop environments installed in your base Arch Linux system, so these steps can be applied to the majority of the user.
Table of Contents
10 Things to Do after installing Arch Linux
Update your system
The obvious first thing you should do after installing Arch Linux is to update your system. This ensures that you have the latest rolling release packages. It can easily be done with
pacman command. From the terminal window, run the following command:
sudo pacman -Syu
Configure for the fastest pacman mirror
The pacman sometimes becomes a little slow while downloading packages. If you configure it properly to include the proper mirrors, you can achieve faster download speeds. There are several reasons for it, such as outdated mirrors, pacman server problems and so on.
The configurations stored in the file
/etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist. There are several programs available to automatically update this list to the faster mirrors for your location.
One of them is
reflector which is a Python script. To install it, run the following from the terminal:
sudo pacman -S reflector
Then take a backup of the current list before running it using:
cp /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist.bkp
Then from the terminal, run the following command by changing the country.
sudo reflector --country 'India' --latest 5 --age 2 --fastest 5 --protocol https --sort rate --save /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist
For more details, visit my tutorial here for reflector.
Install display manager and X.Org
If you want a graphical desktop environment, then you need to set up a display server and manager with the desktop environment. The best option for the display server is X.Org which you can install using the following command:
sudo pacman -S xorg
Once you installed the display server, you need a display manager to enable you to log in to your desktop. There are several lightweight display managers available, which you can choose from.
I would recommend anyone of them. You can run the following command to install any of them:
sudo pacman -S lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter lightdm-gtk-greeter-settings
Don’t forget to enable the display manager service after installation is complete:
sudo systemctl enable lightdm
Install desktop environment
Once you are done setting up the display server and manager, it’s time to install your favourite Linux desktop environment. All the desktop environments are available to install in Arch Linux.
For example, if you want to install the Xfce desktop environment, you can run the following command:
sudo pacman -S --needed xfce4-goodies file-roller network-manager-applet leafpad epdfview galculator lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter lightdm-gtk-greeter-settings capitaine-cursors arc-gtk-theme xdg-user-dirs-gtk
Alternatively, you can refer to the following guides to install the other desktops:
Choose basic applications
Since you are setting up your system from the ground up, you can select which applications you want. The application list may include a web browser, text editor, image viewer, file manager, etc.
Here’s a list of basic apps which you can install using the command below:
sudo pacman -S --needed firefox nemo leafpad evince ksnip lximage-qt
- Firefox web browser
- Nemo file manager
- Leafpad text editor
- Evince PDF viewer
- Ksnip screenshot tool
- LXImage viewer
Install any AUR helper
The standard Arch repository contains thousands of packages. However, the Arch User Repository (AUR) contains thousands of user-submitted applications and packages which you can use.
However, to install from AUR, it’s better to use a helper program such as Yay, paru or pikaur.
I would recommend using Yay helper, which you can install using the following commands.
sudo git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/yay.git sudo chown -R <user-name>:users ./yay cd yay makepkg -si
Once installed, you can search packages in the AUR repo and install them using simple commands such as:
yay -S <app-name>
Optimize power management settings to maximize laptop battery life or reduce power consumption on desktops. Adjust the settings through your desktop environment or window manager’s power management tools.
However, if you do not have the settings exposed via GUI for the desktop, you can use the advanced powertop tool. Install it using:
sudo pacman -S powertop
Once installed, run it using the command:
sudo powertop --auto-tune
You can also enable the Systemd service so that it runs every time you turn on your system. For more details, visit the documentation.
Set up printer
Configuring printers in Linux is very easy, thanks to CUPS. It handles many troubles and gives you all the necessary packages for the most common printers. To set up a printer in Arch Linux, you can use the following set of commands. The first command is installing the cups package, and then enabling/starting the service.
sudo pacman -S cups
sudo systemctl enable cups.service
sudo systemctl start cups.service
Install custom Kernels
Arch Linux provides an easy way to install custom Linux Kernels, bringing additional hardware support and updates. Although it might not be suitable for everyone if you are an advanced user, you may take advantage of the custom Kernels. Apart from the default mainline Kernel, the famous ones are:
- Linux LTS Kernel
- Linux Hardened Kernel
- Linux Zen Kernel
You can install them using the following commands. Make sure you know what you are doing before running these commands.
sudo pacman -S linux-lts linux-lts-headers
sudo pacman -S linux-hardened linux-hardened-headers
sudo pacman -S linux-zen linux-zen-headers
When you install the vanilla Arch Linux, the initial animated Plymouth is not installed by default. Hence you might see the operating system outputs on the screen. You can read my guide below if you want to install a nice animated boot screen.
I hope this article has provided you with some getting-started tips and guidance to make the most of your Arch Linux experience. The above tips may not apply to all, but they can be a good starting point for your custom Arch installation.
Embrace the freedom and endless possibilities that Arch Linux provides, and enjoy the journey of exploring and mastering your Arch Linux system.