Installation via chroot (x86/x86_64/aarch64)

This guide details the process of manually installing Void via a chroot on an x86, x86_64 or aarch64 architecture. It is assumed that you have a familiarity with Linux, but not necessarily with installing a Linux system via a chroot. This guide can be used to create a "typical" setup, using a single partition on a single SATA/IDE/USB disk. Each step may be modified to create less typical setups, such as full disk encryption.

Void provides two options for bootstrapping the new installation. The XBPS method uses the XBPS Package Manager running on a host operating system to install the base system. The ROOTFS method installs the base system by unpacking a ROOTFS tarball.

The XBPS method requires that the host operating system have XBPS installed. This may be an existing installation of Void, an official live image, or any Linux installation running a statically linked XBPS.

The ROOTFS method requires only a host operating system that can enter a Linux chroot and that has both tar(1) and xz(1) installed. This method may be preferable if you wish to install Void using a different Linux distribution.

Prepare Filesystems

Partition your disks and format them using mke2fs(8), mkfs.xfs(8), mkfs.btrfs(8) or whatever tools are necessary for your filesystem(s) of choice.

mkfs.vfat(8) is also available to create FAT32 partitions. However, due to restrictions associated with FAT filesystems, it should only be used when no other filesystem is suitable (such as for the EFI System Partition).

cfdisk(8) and fdisk(8) are available on the live images for partitioning, but you may wish to use gdisk(8) (from the package gptfdisk) or parted(8) instead.

For a UEFI booting system, make sure to create an EFI System Partition (ESP). The ESP should have the partition type "EFI System" (code EF00) and be formatted as FAT32 using mkfs.vfat(8).

If you're unsure what partitions to create, create a 1GB partition of type "EFI System" (code EF00), then create a second partition of type "Linux Filesystem" (code 8300) using the remainder of the drive.

Format these partitions as FAT32 and ext4, respectively:

# mkfs.vfat /dev/sda1
# mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda2

Create a New Root and Mount Filesystems

This guide will assume the new root filesystem is mounted on /mnt. You may wish to mount it elsewhere.

If using UEFI, mount the EFI System Partition as /mnt/boot/efi.

For example, if /dev/sda2 is to be mounted as / and dev/sda1 is the EFI System Partition:

# mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/
# mkdir -p /mnt/boot/efi/
# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot/efi/

Initialize swap space, if desired, using mkswap(8).

Base Installation

Follow only one of the two following subsections.

If on aarch64, it will be necessary to install a kernel package in addition to base-system. For example, linux is a kernel package that points to the latest stable kernel packaged by Void.

The XBPS Method

Select a mirror and use the appropriate URL for the type of system you wish to install. For simplicity, save this URL to a shell variable. A glibc installation, for example, would use:


XBPS also needs to know what architecture is being installed. Available options are x86_64, x86_64-musl, i686 for PC architecture computers and aarch64. For example:

# ARCH=x86_64

This architecture must be compatible with your current operating system, but does not need to be the same. If your host is running an x86_64 operating system, any of the three architectures can be installed (whether the host is musl or glibc), but an i686 host can only install i686 distributions.

Copy the RSA keys from the installation medium to the target root directory:

# mkdir -p /mnt/var/db/xbps/keys
# cp /var/db/xbps/keys/* /mnt/var/db/xbps/keys/

Use xbps-install(1) to bootstrap the installation by installing the base-system metapackage:

# XBPS_ARCH=$ARCH xbps-install -S -r /mnt -R "$REPO" base-system

The ROOTFS Method

Download a ROOTFS tarball matching your architecture.

Unpack the tarball into the newly configured filesystems:

# tar xvf void-<...>-ROOTFS.tar.xz -C /mnt


With the exception of the section "Install base-system (ROOTFS method only)", the remainder of this guide is common to both the XBPS and ROOTFS installation methods.

Entering the Chroot

xchroot(1) (from xtools) can be used to set up and enter the chroot. Alternatively, this can be done manually.

# xchroot /mnt /bin/bash

Install base-system (ROOTFS method only)

ROOTFS images generally contain out of date software, due to being a snapshot of the time when they were built, and do not come with a complete base-system. Update the package manager and install base-system:

[xchroot /mnt] # xbps-install -Su xbps
[xchroot /mnt] # xbps-install -u
[xchroot /mnt] # xbps-install base-system
[xchroot /mnt] # xbps-remove base-container-full

Installation Configuration

Specify the hostname in /etc/hostname. Go through the options in /etc/rc.conf. If installing a glibc distribution, edit /etc/default/libc-locales, uncommenting desired locales.

nvi(1) is available in the chroot, but you may wish to install your preferred text editor at this time.

For glibc builds, generate locale files with:

[xchroot /mnt] # xbps-reconfigure -f glibc-locales

Set a Root Password

Configure at least one super user account. Other user accounts can be configured later, but there should either be a root password, or a new user account with sudo(8) privileges.

To set a root password, run:

[xchroot /mnt] # passwd

Configure fstab

The fstab(5) file can be automatically generated from currently mounted filesystems by copying the file /proc/mounts:

[xchroot /mnt] # cp /proc/mounts /etc/fstab

Remove lines in /etc/fstab that refer to proc, sys, devtmpfs and pts.

Replace references to /dev/sdXX, /dev/nvmeXnYpZ, etc. with their respective UUID, which can be found by running blkid(8). Referring to filesystems by their UUID guarantees they will be found even if they are assigned a different name at a later time. In some situations, such as booting from USB, this is absolutely essential. In other situations, disks will always have the same name unless drives are physically added or removed. Therefore, this step may not be strictly necessary, but is almost always recommended.

Change the last zero of the entry for / to 1, and the last zero of every other line to 2. These values configure the behaviour of fsck(8).

For example, the partition scheme used throughout previous examples yields the following fstab:

/dev/sda1       /boot/efi   vfat    rw,relatime,[...]       0 0
/dev/sda2       /           ext4    rw,relatime             0 0

The information from blkid results in the following /etc/fstab:

UUID=6914[...]  /boot/efi   vfat    rw,relatime,[...]       0 2
UUID=dc1b[...]  /           ext4    rw,relatime             0 1

Note: The output of /proc/mounts will have a single space between each field. The columns are aligned here for readability.

Add an entry to mount /tmp in RAM:

tmpfs           /tmp        tmpfs   defaults,nosuid,nodev   0 0

If using swap space, add an entry for any swap partitions:

UUID=1cb4[...]  swap        swap    rw,noatime,discard      0 0

Enable services

Services can be enabled after booting the new system, but you may need to enable some of them (e.g.: dhcpcd, sshd) now in order to access it.

Installing GRUB

Use grub-install to install GRUB onto your boot disk.

On a BIOS computer, install the package grub, then run grub-install /dev/sdX, where /dev/sdX is the drive (not partition) that you wish to install GRUB to. For example:

[xchroot /mnt] # xbps-install grub
[xchroot /mnt] # grub-install /dev/sda

On a UEFI computer, install either grub-x86_64-efi, grub-i386-efi or grub-arm64-efi, depending on your architecture, then run grub-install, optionally specifying a bootloader label (this label may be used by your computer's firmware when manually selecting a boot device):

[xchroot /mnt] # xbps-install grub-x86_64-efi
[xchroot /mnt] # grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot/efi --bootloader-id="Void"

Troubleshooting GRUB installation

It may be necessary to mount the efivarfs filesystem.

[xchroot /mnt] # mount -t efivarfs none /sys/firmware/efi/efivars

If EFI variables are still not available, add the option --no-nvram to the grub-install command.

Installing on removable media or non-compliant UEFI systems

Unfortunately, not all systems have a fully standards compliant UEFI implementation. In some cases, it is necessary to "trick" the firmware into booting by using the default fallback location for the bootloader instead of a custom one. In that case, or if installing onto a removable disk (such as USB), add the option --removable to the grub-install command.

Alternatively, use mkdir(1) to create the /boot/efi/EFI/boot directory and copy the installed GRUB executable, usually located in /boot/efi/EFI/Void/grubx64.efi (its location can be found using efibootmgr(8)), into the new folder:

[xchroot /mnt] # mkdir -p /boot/efi/EFI/boot
[xchroot /mnt] # cp /boot/efi/EFI/Void/grubx64.efi /boot/efi/EFI/boot/bootx64.efi


Use xbps-reconfigure(1) to ensure all installed packages are configured properly:

[xchroot /mnt] # xbps-reconfigure -fa

This will make dracut(8) generate an initramfs, and will make GRUB generate a working configuration.

At this point, the installation is complete. Exit the chroot and reboot your computer:

[xchroot /mnt] # exit
# umount -R /mnt
# shutdown -r now

After booting into your Void installation for the first time, perform a system update.