How to Install Arch Linux on VirtualBox [17 Effective Steps]

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Last updated: June 25, 2023

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Here is a step-by-step guide to install Arch Linux on VirtualBox:

  1. Visit the official Arch Linux website and navigate to the Downloads section.
  2. Select a nearby mirror link and download the latest Arch Linux ISO image.
  3. Open VirtualBox and create a new virtual machine, specifying the name, type, and operating system version (Arch Linux). Attach the Arch Linux ISO image.
  4. Allocate the desired amount of memory (RAM) and create a virtual hard disk with sufficient storage capacity.
  5. Adjust the virtual machine’s settings as needed and ensure it is set to boot from the Arch Linux ISO image.
  6. Start the virtual machine, follow the on-screen instructions to install Arch Linux, and select Arch Linux as the boot option once the installation is complete.

To install Arch Linux on VirtualBox, it’s important to follow best practices like thoroughly reading the documentation, regularly updating the system, and taking snapshots/backups. Common errors include bootable media detection, partitioning issues, and network connection problems. By being mindful of these common errors, you can ensure a successful Arch Linux installation on VirtualBox.

Explore the guide below to learn to install Arch Linux on VirtualBox, best practices for installation, and common errors.

If you’re seeking an operating system offering unparalleled customization, performance, and control, Arch Linux is your answer. Designed to be lightweight and minimalist, Arch Linux provides a solid foundation for building a tailored and optimized system that suits your needs. Following the “do-it-yourself” approach, Arch Linux empowers you to shape your computing environment from the ground up, resulting in a truly personalized and efficient experience. In this article, I will explore the step-by-step guide to install Arch Linux on virtualbox, three best practices, and three common errors with possible solutions.

How to Install Arch Linux on Virtualbox

To install Arch Linux on Virtualbox, you need a modern processor, minimum 512 MB RAM (2 GB recommended), 2 GB disk space, compatible graphics card, network connectivity, and a bootable medium. Refer to official documentation for detailed requirements. Follow these steps to install Arch Linux on virtualbox:

  1. Visit the official Arch Linux website at.
go to official website of arch linux
  1. Navigate to the Downloads section.
navigate to download section
  1. From download page select nearby mirror link.
select mirror link
  1. Now download the latest Arch Linux ISO image.
downloading iso file
  1. Open VirtualBox and click on the New button to create a new virtual machine.
open virtual box
  1. Specify the desired name, type, and operating system version (Arch Linux). Also select arch Linux ISO image from the folder where you downloaded it.
pre installation process
  1. Allocate the appropriate amount of memory (RAM) for your virtual machine.
assigning base memory and processor
  1. Create a virtual hard disk for the virtual machine, ensuring sufficient storage capacity.
creating virtual hard disk
  1. Go through the virtual machine’s settings as per your requirements.
cross check the settings
  1. Select the newly created virtual machine and click on the Start button to launch the virtual system.
launching Arch Linux
  1. Ensure that the virtual machine is set to boot from the Arch Linux ISO image to initiate the installation process. To boot into install medium select the first option.
choosing installation type
  1. Run the following command to start installation process for arch Linux.
<strong>archinstall</strong>
  1. The command will start the installation process.
starting process to install arch linux on virtualbox
  1.  Modify the given options according to your system requirements using arrow keys and save them by pressing Enter.
setting configuration
  1. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete installation.
follow on screen instructions
  1.  After the installation is complete Virtual Machine will be rebooted, now select arch Linux to launch it.
starting Arch Linux
  1.  Arch Linux interface will look like this:
arch linux interface

3 Best Practices to Install Arch Linux on VirtualBox

To install Arch Linux on VirtualBox, there are three best practices to keep in mind to enhance your installation experience, maintain a secure and up-to-date Arch Linux system, and have the flexibility to roll back to previous configurations if needed. Here are three important best practices:

  • 📚 Thoroughly Read the Documentation: Before starting the installation process, thoroughly read the official Arch Linux documentation. The documentation provides detailed instructions, explanations, and troubleshooting tips to help you navigate the installation and configuration process effectively. Familiarize yourself with the documentation to better understand the steps involved and be prepared to handle any challenges that may arise.
  • 🔄 Regularly Update and Maintain Arch Linux: After installing Arch Linux, regularly update and maintain your system to ensure security, stability, and optimization. Arch Linux follows a rolling release model, frequently releasing updates for the latest software versions and security patches. Run system updates regularly using the command sudo pacman -Syu to keep your virtual environment secure and up-to-date.
  • 💾 Take Snapshots and Backups: Utilize VirtualBox’s snapshot feature to capture different stages of your Arch Linux installation. Before making major changes or updates, take snapshots as a precautionary measure. Snapshots allow you to revert back to a previous working state if issues occur. Additionally, back up important files and configurations within the virtual machine to an external storage location. This provides an extra layer of protection in case of unforeseen issues or accidents. 

3 Common Errors and Their Troubleshooting Tips

While installing Arch Linux on VirtualBox, it’s not uncommon to encounter some errors or issues. It’s important to carefully read error messages and consult the Arch Linux documentation or community forums for specific solutions to address the errors. Here are three common errors that users may come across:

  • Bootable media not detected: Sometimes, VirtualBox may fail to detect the Arch Linux ISO file as bootable media, leading to an installation error. This issue can be resolved by ensuring that the ISO file is correctly mounted within the virtual machine’s settings. Double-check that the correct ISO file is selected and properly attached to the virtual machine. Additionally, verify that the boot order is set correctly, prioritizing the booting from the mounted ISO file. By confirming these settings, you can ensure that the virtual machine recognizes the Arch Linux ISO as the primary bootable media.
  • ⚠️ Partitioning errors: Incorrect disk partitioning during the Arch Linux installation can result in various errors, such as an inability to boot the system or improper disk usage. To avoid partitioning errors, it is essential to carefully follow the provided instructions in the Arch Linux installation guide. Pay close attention to the details, including the partition sizes, file systems, and mount points specified. Double-check the accuracy of the settings before proceeding with the installation. If any error messages or warnings related to partitioning appear, take the time to address them appropriately, ensuring the partitioning is done correctly.
  • 🔌 Network connection issues: Network connection problems can occur during the Arch Linux installation, preventing the system from establishing an internet connection. This can hinder the downloading of necessary packages or updates. To troubleshoot network connection errors, start by reviewing the virtual machine’s network settings. Verify that the configuration is accurate, including the enabled and connected state of the virtual network adapter. Ensure that the correct drivers are installed within the Arch Linux virtual machine to support the network adapter. If you use a wireless connection, ensure you provide the correct credentials, such as the SSID and password, during the network setup process.

In Conclusion

I have provided you with a comprehensive guide that equips you with valuable insights and practical steps to install Arch Linux on VirtualBox. Through this guide, you now have a clear understanding of best practices to install arch Linux on virtualbox and I have also highlighted common errors that you may encounter during installation. 

Moving forward, I encourage you to explore additional resources on package management, the Arch User Repository (AUR), and system optimization, as these areas will further enhance your Arch Linux experience. By implementing these practices and leveraging the knowledge shared, you can fully unleash the potential of Arch Linux and tailor it to your specific needs. 

Frequently Asked Question

How can I share files between the host and the virtual machine in VirtualBox?

VirtualBox provides a shared folder feature that allows you to share files between the host and the virtual machine. To set up a shared folder, first, make sure the Guest Additions are installed in the virtual machine. Then, in the VirtualBox Manager, select your virtual machine, go to Settings, and navigate to the Shared Folders section. Click on the + icon to add a new shared folder, specify the folder path on the host machine, and choose a name for the folder. Finally, mount the shared folder within the virtual machine using the mount command or by adding an entry to the /etc/fstab file.

Is it necessary to reinstall Arch Linux if I want to update to a newer version?

No, it is not necessary to reinstall Arch Linux if you want to update to a newer version. Arch Linux follows a rolling release model, which means you can update the entire system, including the kernel, packages, and libraries, using the package manager called Pacman. To update Arch Linux, open a Terminal and run the following command as root or with sudo privileges,
sudo pacman -Syu. This command synchronizes the package databases, upgrades the installed packages to their latest versions, and resolves any dependency issues. It ensures that your system stays up-to-date without reinstalling the entire operating system.

Can I run graphical applications on Arch Linux within VirtualBox?

Yes, you can run graphical applications on Arch Linux within the VirtualBox environment. To enable optimal graphics performance, make sure you have installed the Guest Additions in your Arch Linux virtual machine. The Guest Additions provide additional drivers and features, including support for higher screen resolutions, seamless mouse integration, and improved graphics performance. Once the Guest Additions are installed, you can run graphical applications just like you would on a physical machine. Launch the application from the Terminal or the application launcher, and it will open within the Arch Linux virtual machine’s graphical environment, allowing you to work with graphical applications seamlessly.

Ojash

Author

Ojash is a skilled Linux expert and tech writer with over a decade of experience. He has extensive knowledge of Linux's file system, command-line interface, and software installations. Ojash is also an expert in shell scripting and automation, with experience in Bash, Python, and Perl. He has published numerous articles on Linux in various online publications, making him a valuable resource for both seasoned Linux users and beginners. Ojash is also an active member of the Linux community and participates in Linux forums.

Akshat

Reviewer

Akshat is a software engineer, product designer and the co-founder of Scrutify. He's an experienced Linux professional and the senior editor of this blog. He is also an open-source contributor to many projects on Github and has written several technical guides on Linux. Apart from that, he’s also actively sharing his ideas and tutorials on Medium and Attirer. As the editor of this blog, Akshat brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to provide readers with valuable insights and advice on a wide range of Linux-related topics.

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