How to install GUI on Arch Linux

Cover Photo GUI Arch Linux 01

Continuing from our previous tutorial on the steps to install Arch Linux, in this tutorial we will learn how to install GUI on Arch Linux. Arch Linux is a light weight, highly customizable linux distro. Its installation does not include a desktop environment. It will only take a few steps to install your favorite Desktop Environment to your machine.

1. Installing Graphics Driver

The first thing that we are going to do is install all the necessary graphics drivers for the machine. Different machines will need different graphics driver, to check your machine’s graphic’s card you need to run the following command:

lspci | grep -e VGA

Now, you can refer to the official Arch Linux Xorg driver installation guide. It lists out all graphics card drivers which can then be installed by Pacman utility. Here, I will be installing Nvidia graphics drivers:

#To update System
sudo pacman -Syyu

#Installing Driver and related utilites
sudo pacman -S nvidia nvidia-utils nvidia-settings

If you are using virtual box, you will need to install virtualbox drivers with the following command:

sudo pacman -S virtualbox-guest-utils virtualbox-guest-dkms

2. Installing Xorg

Xorg is a display server. Display Server is the building block of a desktop environment. It provides the basic framework for the GUI environment. To install Xorg and all the related utilities with the following command:

sudo pacman -S xorg xterm xorg-xinit

To test xorg installation run the following command:


3. Installing Desktop Environment

Now we will be installing a desktop environment. There are multiple options available for us:

To install MATE Desktop Environment

sudo pacman -S mate mate-extra
Mate Desktop Environment
Mate Desktop Environment

To install Cinnamon Desktop Environment

sudo pacman -S cinnamon nemo-fileroller
Cinnamon Desktop Environment
Cinnamon Desktop Environment

To install Gnome Desktop Environment

sudo pacman -S gnome gnome-extra
Gnome Desktop Environment
Gnome Desktop Environment

To install XFCE4 Desktop Environment

sudo pacman -S xfce4 xfce4-goodies
XFCE Desktop Environment
XFCE Desktop Environment

To install KDE Plasma Desktop Environment

sudo pacman -S plasma kdeplasma-addons
KDE Plasma Desktop Environment
KDE Plasma Desktop Environment

4. Installing Display Manager

Display manager is also known as login manager. It’s mainly responsible for the login screen that you see when you first start your machine. Display manager is also responsible to start the display server and load the desktop environment.

Again we have multiple options, you can choose anyone that you like:

Installing Gnome Display Manager

sudo pacman -S gdm
sudo systemctl enable gdm
sudo systemctl start gdm

Installing SDDM

sudo pacman -S sddm
sudo systemctl enable sddm
sudo systemctl start sddm

To install LXDM

sudo pacman -S lxdm
sudo systemctl enable lxdm
sudo systemctl start lxdm

5. Installing Other utilites

We also need to install a few essential utilities for smoother experience.

Installing Sound System

sudo pacman -S pulseaudio pulseaudio-alsa pavucontrol

Installing Terminal and System Monitor

sudo pacman -S gnome-terminal gnome-system-monitor

Installing Firefox and Media Players

sudo pacman -S firefox vlc audacious

Installing LibreOFfice

sudo pacman -S libreoffice


We learned how to install GUI on arch linux. I hope you learned something from this tutorial. Have a great day ahead. Cheers!