「The Nanami」

「The Nanami」


From Windows to Linux | Arch Linux Beginner's Guide

0. Before Starting#

Target Readers#

Windows users who want to switch their computer to Linux but don't know where to start, and have experience using the command line.

If you are a content creator and need to use software like Adobe, Linux may not be suitable for this work. Please consider using a dual-boot system.

System Selection#

This article is written for Arch Linux users (and users who have joined the religion after reading this article). There are several benefits to choosing Arch Linux as your daily operating system:

  1. A clean system with no bloatware.
  2. The powerful AUR (Arch User Repository).
  3. The ability to run the SteamOS version of the Steam client directly, and access the best Valve Proton compatibility among all distributions.

Of course, other distributions such as Ubuntu Desktop are also good choices, especially for beginners. However, after configuring Arch Linux, it is definitely the most user-friendly Linux distribution.

If you are not good at tinkering, please choose Ubuntu. Otherwise, Arch Linux will become your nightmare.

1. Preparations#

1.1 Arch Linux Installation Image#

You can obtain the installation image from the Arch Linux official website or mirror sites. It is recommended to download from the mirror site of Tsinghua University.

1.2 Review of Linux Basics#

Linux is an open-source system composed of a kernel, shell, file system, and other packages. The Linux file system structure has evolved from the Unix file system structure, and most distributions follow the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS). It is important to understand the FHS in order to navigate the file system, especially for Windows users who are not accustomed to a single root file system.

Linux usernames must be all lowercase. In daily use, avoid using the root user directly and use tools like sudo and su to perform operations that require root privileges.

For beginners, knowing these basics is enough. If you want to delve deeper, you can search for tutorials online.

1.3 Selection of Underlying Software#

1.3.1 File System#

I recommend using btrfs because it is optimized for SSDs and can be flexibly managed with LVM2, allowing for resizing partitions and creating RAID arrays.

There are other systems to choose from, such as the default ext4 used by most Linux distributions and the cutting-edge zfs. You can weigh the pros and cons of each system. In my experience, btrfs has almost no problems and is very convenient to use.

1.3.2 Shell#

Linux uses Bash Shell by default, which is a very powerful shell. However, in daily use, I prefer to use zsh because it has many plugins and themes, allowing you to customize your shell to your liking.

1.3.3 AUR Package Manager#

The package manager pacman that comes with Arch Linux cannot install AUR packages. The best package manager is undoubtedly yay, which can easily manage both pacman and AUR packages, and its usage is consistent with pacman.

1.4 Disk Partitioning#

You need to plan how to partition your disk in advance. If you are using an SSD, I recommend not partitioning it and instead mounting the entire disk, as there is little difference between partitioning and creating folders on an SSD.

It is best to reserve 300 MB for the EFI partition. If the EFI partition on your computer was created by the Windows Installer, its size may not be sufficient for dual-booting. You may need to consider creating another EFI partition or formatting the EFI partition of Windows.

2. System Installation#

For Arch Linux users, it is important to read the documentation and consult the Arch Linux Wiki. The Arch Linux Wiki's installation guide is very detailed. If you are not capable of completing the installation with the help of this Wiki, consider using Ubuntu Desktop.

If you plan to use LVM2, make sure your file system supports booting from LVM2 partitions (both btrfs and ext4 support this). If you are using btrfs, you don't need to deliberately enable the TRIM function for SSDs, as btrfs will handle it automatically.

2.1 Post-Installation Tasks#

You have already learned some general knowledge about Linux, and here are some specific knowledge about Arch Linux that you need to learn.

Arch Wiki's articles are very comprehensive, so read them.

The commands for pacman and yay are the same, so you can read the section about pacman and learn how to use both software at the same time.

2.2 Desktop Environment Selection#

Popular desktop environments like KDE and GNOME are suitable for daily use. I recommend using KDE because it is highly customizable and its default style is more similar to Windows, making it easier to get started.

3. Software Selection#

Not all software is available for Linux, so you may need to choose alternative products for some commonly used software on Windows.

The following operations require the terminal. In KDE, the default terminal emulator is Konsole.

3.0 yay Package Manager#

Install using the following command:

cd /opt
sudo git clone
sudo chown -R <your_username>:users ./yay
cd yay
makepkg -si

3.1 Internet#

Browser - Firefox

A free and open-source browser, no need to say more.

yay -S firefox

Proxy - cfw

The Linux version of Clash for Windows, very user-friendly for beginners.

yay -S cfw

Chat - New Linux QQ

A new version of QQ rebuilt using Electron.

yay -S linuxqq

3.2 Gaming#


yay -S steam

After logging into Steam, search for "Proton" in the library and install the latest version of Proton. As of the writing of this article, the latest version is Proton 7.0.

After installation, go to Settings -> Steam Play -> Enable Steam Play for all other titles, so that you can use Proton to run any Windows game.

Please note that Proton only provides a compatibility layer, so theoretically, any game can run. However, due to the closed nature of the Windows system, some games may not run properly or may frequently encounter errors/crashes.

3.3 Compatibility Layer Wine#

yay -S wine

After that, you can use Wine to run Windows programs.

Font Missing Issue#

To solve font missing issues, copy the fonts from Windows to ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/Fonts.

3.4 Entertainment#

Music - Spotify

yay -S spotify

Video Player - VLC

yay -S vlc

3.5 Productivity#

JetBrains software

yay -S jetbrains-toolbox

Drawing - Krita

yay -S krita

Video Editing - Kdenlive

yay -S kdenlive

Markdown Documents - Typora

yay -S typora

4. Desktop Customization#

This section is written for the KDE Plasma environment.

4.1 Dock#

yay -S latte

Then open Latte Dock in the KDE launcher, but make sure not to open it as a KDE widget!!!

4.2 Status Bar#

Right-click on the Windows-like taskbar -> Remove

Create a new top panel. You can add widgets according to your preferences. The Global Menu widget is the most useful component, as it allows you to display program menus in the status bar, similar to macOS.

5. System Maintenance#

Arch Linux is a rolling release distribution, so you need to regularly execute yay -Syyu to update the system.

I recommend doing this once a week, so that updates do not accumulate or become too frequent.

6. Welcome to the Arch Linux Family#

Congratulations, you have successfully entered the world of Arch Linux.

Consult the Wiki and documentation, and ask questions in the community. Most of the difficulties you encounter can be solved by referring to these resources.

After becoming proficient in Linux, you can try new things, such as the new audio system PipeWire or switching to a different desktop environment.

Finally, enjoy your journey with Linux.

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