I want to install Arch Linux on my laptop machine. I have created a 20GB partition (/dev/sda5) to be used as Arch Linux root partition. I tried installing using a USB thumbdrive (I don't have a CD drive on that machine) and my partitions were not recognized. I read a little bit and concluded this has something to do with cfdisk which Arch Linux uses to create the partitions. Is there a way to bypass that and directly install Arch to my hard drive in a similar process?


3 Answers 3


Yes. You can use a graphical tool like GParted to set up all of your partitions and then continue with the standard Arch USB install from there.

You will find instructions on how to create a Live GParted USB drive here

I would then recommend that you choose a recent ISO from the Arch Releng site

Once you are back in the Arch install process, select the partition, filesystem and mountpoints you require and continue with the installation

  • I have the partition set up an ready using Ubuntu (GParted)
    – Yotam
    Aug 9, 2011 at 7:36
  • Then proceed to setting the filesystem mountpoints as per the Install Guide. If that is where you are stuck, try a more recent ISO.
    – jasonwryan
    Aug 9, 2011 at 7:48
  • This is exactly whay I can't do. I have them set up on my HD. I have downloaded the 2010.05 iso (which is the one featured in the website) and cdisk can't identify my partitions
    – Yotam
    Aug 9, 2011 at 9:09
  • But it does display your partition table? Switch to TTY2 and run cfdisk /dev/sda5. But as I said in my answer, your best bet is to download a more recent ISO and try again. Arch has moved on a lot in 15 months...
    – jasonwryan
    Aug 9, 2011 at 9:26

What you are looking for is installation from chroot environment. Arch linux has a very detailed tutorial for this.


You can easily plugin the hard drive into another computer to do the install and when you are done, just switch the drive back into the laptop and you should be good to go.

Otherwise, you can install something like ubuntu or tails borum onto a USB so you can boot up a "live" session on the laptop to give you something you can work from to do the installation if you don't have another computer running linux or if you just don't want to mess with removing the drive. If you use ubuntu, just select "try ubuntu without installing" to start up the live session.

You can also create your partitions from the live session using the gparted partition tool.


There is Archboot which (iirc) uses parted instead of cfdisk to do the partition stuff.

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