What to prepare before installing Arch Linux the first time

before installing arch linux

When people want to try Linux, it is very likely that their first distro is either Ubuntu, Mint or Zorin. But after using Linux for a while, most users will know about and want to try Arch Linux, a lightweight, flexible and highly customizable distro. You will gain a lot of benefits from trying and using Arch Linux. One week of messing around with Arch Linux will teach you more about Linux than one year of using Ubuntu. 

In this article, I wont write about how to install Arch Linux since there are already a lot of guides on the internet ( here is the best one). However, there are several things you need to prepare before installing Arch Linux the first time to save time and get the best experience with Arch Linux.

1 - Prepare to read a lot

Installing Arch Linux is hard, much harder than installing Windows or Ubuntu. Thats why you will have to read a lot to be able to install Arch the first time. In case you are not a native speaker, still make sure that you are able to understand basic, technical English. Because although the Arch community does provide guides in other languages on the Wiki, the English guide is still the most detailed and thorough one.

2 - An ethernet connection is recommended

Wifi doesnt work out of the box with Arch Linux. You will have to do some configuring later on to use wifi. That's why an ethernet connection is recommended if you try to install Arch the first time. It will save you a lot of time.

3 - You need a basic knowledge about Linux partitions


A basic knowledge about Linux partitions is enough to install Arch. The tool to do the partitioning in Arch Linux is cfdisk and it's not really hard to use.

4 - You need to know how to use Nano text editor

You will have to edit several configuration files when install Arch. The default text editor is Nano, and its quite different from its familiar counterparts like Leafpad and Gedit. Make sure you know how to edit, insert, search and save files in nano.

5 - It's better to have two computers


Having two computers, one for installing Arch and one for reading guides and googling, will save you a lot of time. There is a very big chance that you will have a lot of troubles when you install Arch the first time and you will have to read the guide over and over again. Therefore another computer will be very handy for you to read the guide and google about any problem you are encountering. 

Many people recommend to print out the guides and use text-based browsers like Lynx or Elinks to read the guides and google questions. However, an additional computer is still more convenient than these methods. One huge advantage of using another anther computer is that you can watch instruction videos on youtube, which you cannot do when using Lynx or reading the printed guides.

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That are the five things I recommend you to prepare before installing Arch the first time. And even with enough reading and preparation, it will still take quite a lot of time to successfully install Arch for newbies. However, as I have said above, its really cool to use Arch and you will learn a lot. And after that, congratulations for being an Arch Linux user.

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