Install Arch Linux with one computer

By Ev Bogue - December 3rd 2014

Today is usually fish day, but I went to the pez mercado on Monday and there were no good fish. So I called it. Business lessons from fish: you gotta know when you call it.

So instead, let's talk about something much less floatery.... Linux!

One of the biggest mysteries about the Arch Linux install process is how to manage an Arch Linux install when you only have access to one computer.

The Arch Linux install usb/cd/dvd boots to a naked command-line without any instructions about what to do next, so you're stuck if you can't get to a website that describes the process in more detail. I have my own notes that I wrote down in a product I created in 2013 called BYPM, and but those are on occasion out of date at this point, so I find myself cross referencing with the Arch Linux wiki.

But what if you're all alone in the world and only have one computer? And you want to install Linux on that computer?

Well, this stumped me for the longest time. So I used another computer to read in the instructions and performed the actions on my own computer. Since I only own one computer, this has always meant I had to borrow someone else's computer, which wasn't always ideal because they might want to use the computer while I'm using their computer.

In recent days, I figure out how to do an Arch Linux install without another computer.

This is how you do it.

  1. Download the Arch Linux install iso.
  2. Write it to a USB
  3. Boot off the disk
  4. Connect to the Internet on the Arch Linux install disk
  5. Install a terminal broswer $ pacman -Syu w3m
  6. switch to tty2 using ctrl-alt-f2
  7. type $ w3m wiki.archlinux.org or load up BYPM if you have a copy of that.

Now you're able to read the fucking manual and install Arch Linux at the same time without needing two computers!

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