Arch Linux crypto installation

After live cd is loaded you need to setup network connection. For ethernet follow the next steps:

ip link set eth0 up #set interface up
ip addr add broadcast dev eth0 #set ip address
ip route add default via #set gateway

Setting gateway in the example above may fail. If so, you can try next commands:

ip route add dev eth0
ip route add default via dev eth0

It is good to set right time now:

timedatectl set-ntp true

Next step is to prepare our filesystems. We will be using LVM on LUKS. For /boot i am using partition on my USB flash drive /dev/sdb1 formatted to ext2. Encrypted partition with LUKS is /dev/sda1, you may choose whatever you want.

So lets create LUKS encrypted partition:

cryptsetup -v --cipher aes-xts-plain64 --key-size 512 --hash sha512 luksFormat /dev/sda1

You need to enter secure password in prompt, so choose wisely. Now open our partition:

cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda1 lvm

We opened encrypted partition /dev/sda1 as lvm name and it is now available at /dev/mapper/lvm. To create LVM follow the next steps:

pvcreate /dev/mapper/lvm #create physical volume
vgcreate ArchVol /dev/mapper/lvm #create volume group named ArchVol
lvcreate -L 4G ArchVol -n swap #in ArchVol create 4GB partition named swap
lvcreate -l 100%FREE ArchVol -n root #in ArchVol create partition named root filled all remaining space

After this time to format our new logical partitions:

  • root available at /dev/mapper/ArchVol-root
  • swap available at /dev/mapper/ArchVol-swap
  • boot is my USB flash drive at /dev/sdb1
mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/ArchVol-root
mkswap /dev/mapper/ArchVol-swap
mkfs.ext2 /dev/sdb1

Mount aour filesystems and activate swap:

mount /dev/mapper/ArchVol-root /mnt
mkdir /mnt/boot
mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/boot
swapon /dev/mapper/ArchVol-swap

Okay, now exact Arch installation:

pacstrap /mnt base

This bootstraps base system. To generate our /etc/fstab accordingly to mountpoints:

genfstab -U /mnt >> /mnt/etc/fstab

Now lets chroot to our system:

arch-chroot /mnt

Inside we need to set proper timezone and time:

ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/London /etc/localtime
hwclock --systohc

To setup locales just select and generate them:

nano /etc/locale.gen
/etc/locale.conf LANG=en_US.UTF-8

Fill the hostname:

nano /etc/hostname
nano /etc/hosts

Arch Linux has many available ways to configure network. So i am using systemd-networkd. For wired ethernet connection create the next config /etc/systemd/network/

Name = eth0

Address =
Gateway =

We are almost done. The few things which are left is generating initramfs image and installing bootloader. Our initramfs image must be configured with extra features such as lvm and encrypt. Edit configuration file /etc/mkinitcpio.conf:

HOOKS="...  encrypt  lvm2  ...  filesystems  ..."
MODULES="i915"  #if you use intel graphics

Generate initramfs: mkinitcpio -p linux

Set root password: passwd root

Install and configure bootloader:

pacman -S grub

Next you need to add your encrypted partition UUID to grub config. You can get it by running next command:

blkid /dev/sda1

# example output
/dev/sda1: UUID="cddd0a60-8281-4a09-8cce-1c5cb8849f62" TYPE="crypto_LUKS" PARTUUID="61979b00-998a-409d-aeb1-08e50f45023c"

Note the UUID part. Add it to /etc/default/grub:


Install bootloader to MBR of our USB flash drive and generate config:

grub-install --target=i386-pc /dev/sdb1
grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

At this point we have everything done. Time to unmount our partitions and reboot.

umount /mnt/boot
umount /mnt
swapoff /dev/mapper/ArchVol-swap

Congratulations! Enjoy your fresh Arch Linux system on encrypted partition and boot USB flash drive as a key!

Arch Linux crypto installation