- System requirements
- Download Chakra
- Create a live media
- Install Chakra
- A processor with 64-bit support (also known as
- 2 GiB of RAM
- 8 GiB of hard disk drive space
- A screen capable of 1024 x 768 or higher resolution
- While not strictly required, an Internet connection is practical because of the half-rolling release schedule
Make a list of your hardware before installing any operating system that didn’t come with the computer. If you get hardware support issues, you’ll know what you’ve got and can search for drivers without having to disassemble your computer.
How to verify that your processor has 64-bit support
In a Linux environment,
lm (Long Mode) is listed in the
flags: line if the system supports
# cat /proc/cpuinfo
In a Microsoft Windows environment:
wmic OS get OSArchitecture
In a Mac OS X environment:
$ uname -m
In terms of physical and virtual machines, there are several options available for installing Chakra:
Recommended. The Linux kernel makes efficient use of hardware and will run relatively well even on dated hardware. You can also install it alongside another operating system:
Dual-boot with a single hard disk drive
One way to run Chakra, without giving up on other operating systems, is to install it on the same hard disk drive that your Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, or other operating system is already installed on. You can then choose between them at boot time.
You need to shrink the partition that the current operating system is installed on. It is recommended to shrink the partition on your hard disk drive before you run the live media - this will help you avoid any difficulties that may arise when you are at the partitioning step during installation. A minimum of 20 GiB is recommended. If you’re going to store a lot of pictures, music, or videos on your hard disk drive, you’ll need more. If you’re determined to transition away from Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X, try to provide enough space to duplicate everything you’re used to doing in your Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X environment.
In Microsoft Windows XP or later, use the built-in tool called Disk Management to shrink the partition. It is also recommended to defragment your hard drive first. In Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or later, use the built-in tool called Disk Utility.
Dual-boot with a separate hard disk drive
Another way to dual-boot is to install Chakra on a separate hard disk drive.
You can run another operating system (a “guest”) inside your current one (the “host”) by installing it on a virtual machine. Virtual machines are a popular way to try out different operating systems. Examples of virtualization software include KVM, Virtualbox, and Xen.
To download Chakra, go here. Read the release notes to learn what is new in this release, and if there are any known issues.
Create a live media
An ISO image is an archive file of an optical disc, a type of disk image composed of the data contents from every written sector on an optical disc, including the optical disc file system. ISO image files usually have a file extension of .iso. The name ISO is taken from the ISO 9660 file system used with CD-ROM media, but what is known as an ISO image might also contain a UDF (ISO/IEC 13346) file system (commonly used by DVDs and Blu-ray Discs).
Virtualization software usually supports reading ISO images directly - to install Chakra on a virtual machine, skip ahead to Install Chakra.
To install Chakra on a physical machine, the Chakra ISO image needs to be put onto a USB flash drive (or a DVD) with at least 2 GiB of space. A machine with USB ports, and any of the below suggested software, is also required. Ensure that the system where you will boot the USB flash drive also has USB ports and can boot USB flash drives. Before following the below instructions, ensure that the USB flash drive is plugged in but not mounted.
Download the software from here, unpack and run. You need to rename your
chakra.img first, as the application only allows
.img files. Select your renamed
.img file, pick the drive letter you wish to write on, and press the Write button. Once you start writing, all previous data on the USB flash drive will be destroyed. win32diskimager will limit selection to USB flash drives, but ensure that you select the correct USB flash drive if you’ve got more than one plugged in.
You need to download dd, which is a program with the primary purpose of low-level copying of raw data. Once installed, open the command prompt and run this (substitute examples with the actual paths):
dd.exe if=/path/to/chakra.iso of=/path/to/usb/flash/drive
SUSE Studio ImageWriter
ImageWriter, available in the Chakra
[desktop] repository, is recommended. Install the package:
$ sudo pacman -S imagewriter
Start it, then drag the downloaded ISO image into ImageWriter, or browse to the directory containing the ISO image, check that the shown path is correct, and click the Write button.
dd is provided by
coreutils. Most GNU/Linux distributions (including Chakra) have
coreutils installed by default. Be careful as the
dd program will erase drive contents. To use
dd, run this in a terminal (substitute examples with the actual paths):
$ sudo dd if=/path/to/chakra.iso of=/path/to/usb/flash/drive
If you want to view the progress of the command, you can install
pv and run this in a terminal (substitute examples with the actual paths):
$ pv -tpreb /path/to/chakra.iso | sudo dd of=/path/to/usb/flash/drive
/path/to/usb/flash/drive is the USB flash drive under
/dev. It is probably
X is a letter. Remember that the USB flash drive is to be plugged in but not mounted - there should be no
sdXn entries, where
n is a digit. You can then check that the creation of the bootable USB flash drive was successful. Use
fdisk -l as root to check it. You should see an asterisk (*) like this in the USB line:
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System /dev/sdb1 * 1 697 713728 17 Hidden HPFS/NTFS
If you are installing Chakra on a virtual machine, select the
.iso file as your boot medium when you first start the virtual machine. Remember to deselect the
.iso file as your boot medium after the installation, or it will be used again.
If you are installing Chakra on a physical machine, insert your live media, and start your computer. It may be necessary to enter the computer BIOS and change the default boot drive (which usually is the hard disk drive) to your USB hub (or DVD reader). For most BIOS, this means changing the “boot order” so that these devices are probed before the hard disk drive is.
If this is your first time encountering your BIOS, consult the manual for your computer or motherboard. If you hard copy is missing, it is likely available online, e.g. on the website of the manufacturer. Otherwise, search for your computers make and model using your preferred Internet search engine. After making the necessary adjustments to the boot order, save them, and restart your computer.
For UEFI systems, the USB hub (or DVD reader) should appear as another boot option. You can choose between the boot options or put e.g. the USB hub first in the list, and therefore used as the default.
The live media will start with a screen that prompts you to select your language, followed by a screen where you may choose between using free (open source) or non-free (proprietary) drivers. Your hardware is automatically detected to determine which drivers are to be installed, but there is hardware for which open source drivers aren’t available, or where using proprietary drivers may result in better performance. Press Enter to continue loading the desktop environment.
This is the Plasma desktop environment, with Chakra’s custom wallpaper and a plasmoid to help you get started. You can run Chakra from the live media without installing it to try it out. Everything works as if it was installed, but if the live media is on a DVD, none of your settings will be saved and you will need to configure them again the next time you start the live media. If the live media is on a USB flash drive you can save your settings to persist even after the computer being shut down. It is likely that your experience with Chakra installed on your hard disk drive will provide a smoother and more responsive experience compared to running Chakra from a live media.
Note about Plasma being a single-click environment
Plasma is a single-click environment; only click once on whatever it is you want to open or select. Only if clicking once doesn’t do anything should you double-click. This may take some getting used to if you’re transitioning over from a Microsoft Windows environment (or from certain other desktop environments), but once you get used to it you may come to like it. It is possible to change this behaviour, but be aware that clicking the mouse buttons is one of the biggest repetitive strains associated with using a computer.
Chakra uses Calamares, a distribution-independent installer framework. Click on the “Installation” icon, which is located inside the plasmoid on the desktop.
Choose the language you want to be used during the installation process, and then click Next.
This is where you select your time zone and system locale. Click on the map to choose your location. Alternatively, you can use the dropdown menus below to select region and time zone. Once you’ve selected your region the locale fields will change to reflect your choices, but you can change them manually if you don’t want to use the default. The values chosen will determine the system language and the time displayed on your clock. Once you have selected your preferred time and date settings, click Next.
This is where you select your keyboard model, language, and layout. The image on the top will change to show you the chosen keyboard layout. You can test typing in the text field at the bottom. Once you have selected the appropriate layout, click Next.
This is where you configure your hard disk drive partitions. A partition is the physical space on a drive that data is stored on.
Calamares automates the installation on UEFI systems, using the GPT partition table (common for newer hardware), and on BIOS systems using MBR (common for older hardware). It does not yet support certain more complex configurations, such as RAID, LVM, LUKS, or using GPT on BIOS systems. Other operating systems installed are automatically detected in order to offer recommended partitioning.
Replace a partition with Chakra
Use a pre-existing partition to install Chakra on. This procedure is fully automated.
Erase entire disk and install Chakra
Use an entire hard disk drive to install Chakra on. Any data on the hard disk drive will be deleted - ensure that you back up any data you want to keep first. This procedure is fully automated.
Manually configure partitions and mount options.
Select the hard disk drive you want to install Chakra on in the dropdown menu at the top. Your hard disk drives and any USB flash drives you have plugged in will be listed there. Any existing partitions on the hard disk drive will be displayed in the graph and list, along with any free space.
If you’re dual-booting on a single hard disk drive and haven’t resized your existing partition yet, select the partition you are resizing. If you’re going to write over existing partitions, select them and click Delete. None of the changes are finalized until you click Next. You can select Revert all changes to go back to the initial state.
If you’re using a new hard disk drive that’s never been used (or are installing on a new virtual machine) there probably won’t be a partition table at all; click on the New Partition Table button and select the appropriate for your case (GPT for UEFI, and MBR for BIOS). Once you’ve got free space for your Chakra installation, note how much space there is; you now have to decide on how to divide it. Most Microsoft Windows installations put the whole operating system on a single partition. You can install Chakra the same way, but for desktop machines it is recommended to have at least three partitions. How much space you allocate to each partition is going to depend on how much free space you have. You need to adjust this based on your own hardware and personal needs, but no matter how much hard disk drive space you have, it is rarely necessary to allocate more than 50 GiB for the root partition. However, the
/home partition can be as big as you like.
This is the root partition, where your essential system files are placed. If you were to put everything in one partition it would be this one.
At least 20 GiB is recommended. It can be smaller if you create a separate partition for
pacman will store all downloaded packages even as they are replaced by updates or uninstalled. Over time this can consume large amounts of disk space.
As an example I found that my
/var/cache/pacman directory was over 16 GiB large after having had Chakra installed for about two years, keeping up with the half-rolling release schedule. Whether you keep
/var on a separate partition or not, ensure that it is large enough to accommodate as much of the cache as you wish you maintain. You can periodically clear the cache, but keeping old packages around can be useful in order to downgrade if there is a problem with an upgrade.
Set up a second partition for your
/home directory, which is the place where all of the users’ personal data is stored. When a separate partition is used, the data can be kept even if you reinstall your operating system.
The size of the
/home directory partition depends on how many users there will be, and how much data they will store on the system. If it’s just you, and you’re just trying out Chakra, it can be smaller. If you’re going to store e.g. your entire music collection on the system, it needs to be larger.
swap partition is a way to add extra memory to the system if you run low on RAM, by using the hard disk drive as a system memory. It is slow, but not as slow as running out of memory altogether. Most modern computers have plenty of memory, but it can be useful.
Years ago, it was recommended that your
swap partition should be twice as large as the amount of RAM you have, but on a modern computer with several gigabytes of RAM that much
swap is unjustified. However, if you have less than 2 GiB of RAM, the “twice as much” rule may be a good idea. If you want to use hibernation, it is recommended to make your
swap partition as large as the amount of RAM on your system.
Create the partition table
Once you have decided on a partitioning scheme, select the new partition table type. MBR is used here for display purposes.
Once you have decided on how much space you want to allocate to each of the three partitions, select your free space and click Create.
In the dialog window that pops up, select the “primary” partition. It is recommended to put
swap space at the beginning. In the File system dropdown menu, select “linuxswap”. Label it “swap”, and enter the size you decided on for your
swap space. Click “OK”, and your
swap partition should show up in the partition table, followed by the remaining free space.
Again, select the free space and click Create. In the dialog window that pops up, select the “primary” partition. In the File system dropdown menu, select “ext4”. Select
/ (root) as mountpoint and enter the size you decided on for your root partition.
Again, select the free space and click Create. In the dialog window that pops up, select the “primary” partition. In the File system dropdown menu, select “ext4”. Select
/home as mountpoint and enter the remaining space that is left as its size.
You should see your
/home partitions, along with any Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X partitions you have on your hard disk drive. Once you have ensured that everything is correct, click Next.
Enter your name, and the other entries are automatically filled in. You can choose if you want your user account to be automatically logged in after starting your computer. You can also choose to use the same password, that you set for your user account, for the root account. Click Next.
- Many people use their first name as username
- Naming the system is useful if you plan to connect it to a network, or to your phone via Bluetooth.
- A password should be something you’ll remember, but that is also reasonably secure. Don’t make it too short, and use a combination of small letters, capital letters, numbers, and a symbol or two.
Learn more about the root user
root is what the system administrator user is called in GNU/Linux and BSD operating systems. Privilege separation between root and regular users is more rigidly defined in GNU/Linux and BSD operating systems than it is in Microsoft Windows, which is one reason that GNU/Linux and BSD operating systems are less prone to viruses and malware. If you forget this password you’ll either need to reinstall your system, or use
This is an overview of what will happen once you start the installation process. Ensure that everything is as it should be - this is the last chance to cancel - and click Next.
Chakra is now being installed, and depending on your hardware and configuration it may take several minutes.
Once the installation is completed you can choose to either continue running the live media, or to restart the computer. If the latter, click the checkbox labelled Restart now, unplug the live media from the computer, and click Quit.
In moments you’ll be looking at your brand new Chakra installation!
Read How to use pacman next to learn how to keep your system up to date.
If you encounter any issues while following this tutorial or need help, please post a new topic in #help, following these pointers. Only reply directly to this tutorial with feedback concerning its layout and content, as is the norm for all tutorials.