Step-by-step to a USABLE KDE Archlinux Installation (Updated 2022)

by | Jul 11, 2017 | Linux, Tips | 0 comments

UPDATE 2018: pacaur is no longer maintained, one of the best alternatives is trizen, the post is updated accordingly. 

UPDATE 2019: pacaur is back in business, still my favorite AUR helper tool

Archlinux is still, by far, our best linux distro of all times. Although you might have installed Archlinux a number of times before, but there are always some steps that might get missing and based on that requires some extra reboots to get inside an operable Archlinux installation. So this post is for beginners, intermediates and experts who need to have a step-by-step installation from a live ISO to a fully functional Archlinux/KDE installation.

You can always check The Official Guide

After partitioning your harddrive, you can start following these steps this post.

Installing Archlinux

Important Notes

  • Use fdisk to partition your PC through terminal.
  • Recommended partition table is (3 different mount points):
    • / : Root mount point (More than 10 GB is recommended)
    • /boot : Boot Mount point (100~500 MB)
    • /home : Home Mount point (More than 1 GB is recommended)
  • To connect to the internet through Wifi use : wifi-menu and follow instructions.
  • Anything with an example, means you need to replace something in the command to make it work on your machine, like your specific locale, drives, partitions, etc.


  • mount /dev/sdaX /mnt
    • Example : mount /dev/sda1 /mnt (Depends on your drives/partitions names)
  • mkdir /mnt/boot
  • mount /dev/sdaY /mnt/boot
    • Example : mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/boot (Depends on your drives/partitions names)
  • pacstrap /mnt base

pacstrap is the line to give birth to a new Archlinux installation! After this line we should have a new arch under /mnt.

So, now, let’s use the new arch installation,


Welcome to Arch

Chroot is a process to “encage” the root directory for the current running process and its children. So, we are telling our installer to go to /mnt and take it as the new root (/) to help us run some commands as if we have booted to the new arch installation without actually doing so.


  • arch-chroot /mnt
  • ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Region/City /etc/localtime
    • Example : ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Egypt /etc/localtime
  • hwclock –systohc
  • nano /etc/locale.gen then uncomment desired locales, at least uncomment en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 entry
  • locale-gen
  • echo LANG=en_US.UTF-8 >> /etc/locale.conf
  • echo ‘yourhostname’ >> /etc/hostname
    • Example : echo ‘titrias.home’ >> /etc/hostname’

After these steps, arch is configured to run on your PC, but without any packages. If you try to boot after this step, you will get a working terminal which is enough in some cases, but not ours. It’s time to give our newborn some clothes. Anyways please don’t reboot just yet!


Post Installation

While you are still chrooted, we will need to start installing some packages to get a more functional installation.

Install grub

Use this command to install grub :

pacman -S  grub

Then use this command to burn grub on your hard disk:

grub-install –target=i386-pc /dev/sdx (Example : grub-install –target=i386-pc /dev/sda)


Use disk path not partition path, i.e., sda not sda1. Otherwise you will get this error:

warning: File system `ext2′ doesn’t support embedding.
warning: Embedding is not possible. GRUB can only be installed in this setup by using blocklists. However, blocklists are UNRELIABLE and their use is discouraged..
error: will not proceed with blocklists.

Then use this command to generate a config file :

grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Install Xorg

Xorg is responsible of giving us a GUI instead of a CLI, it’s called a video server

pacman -S  xorg-server

Install video driver and OpenGL

For example, for intel GPUs use this command :

pacman -S xf86-video-intel mesa

For more info check Xorg guide.

Install sudo

Archlinux comes with NO sudo capabilities so you have to install sudo, and specify sudoing policy.

Use this command to install sudo:

pacman -S sudo

For how to Specify sudoing policy, check this guide

Sudo policies can be found in /etc/sudoers

So, edit the file to match your needs or follow one of these recommendations:

Recommendation 1 : Create new group called sudo and uncomment this line : # %sudo ALL=(ALL) ALL

Recommendation 2 : Just use wheel group, to do so uncomment this line # %wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL

Create new user

useradd -m -g wheel -s /bin/bash fady

Here we created new user fady and added it to group wheel and hooked it to bash as the default terminal

Install pacaur

Pacaur is no longer maintained and will soon it won’t work, use trizen or choose your better alternative here.

[Update] Pacaur is back in business in 2019

First, we need to install base development group :

pacman -S –needed base-devel

Then, for pacaur this shell file is one of the best to get it done in no time, by the great Tadly

Install trizen [pacaur alternative]

Trizen is popular and maintained AUR helper tool.

git clone
cd trizen
makepkg -si

Install bash autocomplete

Bash compilation gives your bash wings and some auto complete capabilities

pacman -S bash-completion

Install SDDM

SDDM is responsible of providing a login screen on each boot instead of going through the TTY/startx procedure.

pacman -S sddm

systemctl start sddm

systemctl enable sddm

Install KDE

Let’s install the best desktop environemnt, our beloved KDE

pacman -S plasma

Archlinux gives you three options for installing KDE, plasma, plasma-meta and plasma-desktop

  1. plasma-meta is a meta package, we don’t recommend using it because if you tried to remove any dependency later on, it will ask to remove the whole meta, the cool thing about meta is, it can automatically add new dependencies later on and it will ask to install it for you on any later update.
  2. plasma is a group package, we recommend using it, as it feels Archie the most, because you can easily select which dependencies you need and you can later remove any dependency at well, but you need to maintain new dependency whenever Archlinux adds one.
  3. plasma-desktop is a minimal meta package, it takes the best of both worlds, by installing only the very core packages of KDE and you can take care of the rest manually.

Install Plasma-nm applet and enable NetworkManager

Plasma-nm makes you tray a home for a nice NetworkManager applet

pacman -S plasma-nm

To enable (make it autostart) NetworkManager service use:

systemctl enable NetworkManager

Install okular

Okular is an Ebook Reader, simple yet capable.

pacman -S okular

Install yakuake

Yakuake is the best terminal for KDE, it’s very similar to guake

pacman -S yakuake

Install VLC

VLC can simply play all your videos without any external tools. You will need QT4 to have it working on KDE.

pacman -S qt4 vlc

Install gwenview

Gwenview is the best image viewer for KDE

pacman -S gwenview

Install Thunderbird

Thunderbird is by far my favorite email client for linux, recently it has started to play nicely with KDE

pacman -S thunderbird

After that you should install the FireTray extension to have thunderbird icon in the tray (Tools>Add-ons)

Install Hunspell

Hunspell is a spellchecker that’s used by a lot of applications, e.g. Thunderbird.

pacman -S hunspell hunspell-en

Install Kate

Kate is used to handle text files, pretty much similar to Geany.

pacman -S kate

Install ark

Ark compresses/extract zip files from within dolphin.

pacman -S ark

Install Gimp (Optional)

Gimp is the photoshop for linux.

pacman -S gimp

Install LibreOffice (Optional)

Create and edit document files, spreadsheets and presentations.

pacman -S libreoffice

Install Chromium Browser or Firefox (Optional)

My pick is chromium but you can install whatever you want

pacman -S chromium


pacman -S firefox


Install dialog

Dialog is important in case we needed the wifi-menu command, so this step is totally optional

pacman -S dialog

Install NTFS-3G

NTFS-3G is an open source implementation of NTFS that includes read and write support.

pacman -S ntfs-3g


Congratulations on your Archlinux/KDE installation, if you have any favorite KDE apps not on the list, feel free to mention it in the comments.



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