So I've installed and configured everything on my Arch (VMware) except for graphics. I want it to be like I boot to a terminal, then I press X (it is Xorg, right?) and GUI pops out. How can I install it, which drivers should I choose? Got nVidia GeForce 820M

I know about its great wiki and I got through many its pages, Xorg, GNOME (which I want to install), but I did not quite find an answer how to install xorg + gnome



pacman -S extra/gnome installs a lot of things, including Xord and GDM. extra/gnome is a group of packages which you can select or deselect in pacman. But for a typical gnome install you're very likely to want all of them.

From there you can simply enable GDM to run on boot with:

systemctl enable gdm.service

The you can either reboot or use:

systemctl start gdm.service

To start the display manager right there.

Get into the display from tty

To start gnome from the command line, you want the GDM service to be disabled.

systemctl disable gdm.service

And you need two files in your home directory .xsession and .xinitrc. To make things simpler it is wise to use a .xsession that calls .xinitrc. For example



if test -r "$HOME/.xinitrc"
    source "$HOME/.xinitrc"

And then you can place whatever you need in .xinitrc


# Sometimes D-BUS stuff is placed here by packages, pick it up
if test -d /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d
    for f in /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/*
        [ -x "$f" ] && source "$f"
    unset f

# random config
setxkbmap us
xrdb .Xresources
export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/bin

# get into gnome
exec gnome-session

Now, this is important, both files must be executable.

chmod 755 .xsession .xinitrc

And you can perform startx from the tty to start Xorg and then Gnome.


Arch has several drivers available from the main repositories.

  • extra/nvidia has the latest ones (latest ones in the official repos, AUR will have slightly never ones).

  • extra/nvidia-304xx/extra/nvidia-304xx are the ones for older cards.

I'm not following NVIDIA's name conventions, you will need to go through the arch wiki and nouveau conventions to find which one has a chance to work.

But really, something of the lines of:

lspci -k | grep VGA

Will also give you a better idea of the name of your card.


  • Xorg is a display server, it deals with creating the display (or several displays).

  • GDM is a display manger, it deals with authentication and communication between the display server and the window manager.

  • Gnome is a window manager (actually it is other things as well but for our purposes it fill the window manager application stack), it provides the user with tools to interact with the display and applications with the API for windows (through GTK).


  • Thanks for a constructive answer! So how can I do the thing with booting into a text cmd line? – minecraftplayer1234 Aug 24 '16 at 0:57
  • @Frynio - forgot about that, sorry. Now updated. As for NVIDIA, it is a little tricky. I have no idea which series that card is from, but it is from 2014 so it should probably go with plain extra/nvidia (as a wild guess based on how quickly the drivers are released). – grochmal Aug 24 '16 at 1:23
  • lspci gives me VMware card actually – minecraftplayer1234 Aug 24 '16 at 1:27
  • @Frynio - The bright side is that the VMware card certainly works out of the box. The bad side is that it (probably) will not allow hardware acceleration. According to NVIDIA it is possible to access the GPU from inside a VM with some extra stuff (it even has a link to VMware in there) but I certainly never attempted such thing. – grochmal Aug 24 '16 at 1:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.