- Author: Yves Hoppe
Install Arch Linux on DELL XPS 15 9550 (Skylake 2016)
Installing Arch Linux on the new DELL XPS 15 9550 can be quite troublesome, here are some tips for the installation. This tutorial covers the UHD / 4k screen model with the Intel Core i7 6700HQ and the Samsung NVME SSD. If you have another model you have to adjust your hard disk path (probably
/dev/sda instead of
Enter the Bios by pressing F2 at the system startup and adjust the following things:
– Disable secure boot
– Set SATA mode to to AHCI (in Raid mode by default)
Save the settings and reboot
During startup press F12 to access the one time boot menu, select your USB-Stick there (UEFI!). The arch boot manager should show up. In order to prevent loading of the nouveau and i915 driver (both are not working with the 4.2 kernel), you need to add
nomodeset as kernel parameter. (Just hit e to edit the entry and add it at the end of the line).
After this follow the normal arch installation / beginners tutorial until you come to Partitioning.
Please notice that NVME devices are not available as
/dev/sdX, but as
/dev/nvme (/dev/sda is probably your USB stick). Use
lsblkto get an overview. If you want, you can keep your windows installation, but you need to resize the windows data partition (the big one) in order to get free space for Arch. Use
ntfs-resize for that and
cgdisk to recreate it with the new size.
I used the existing EFI system partition as /boot, if you deleted all partitions or want to start over (without Windows), you need to create it manually.
The final partition layout (depending on your setup):
/dev/nvme0n1p1 vfat /boot
Follow the Arch installation tutorial further (mount disks to /mnt and /mnt/boot, arch-chroot etc.)
The current arch Kernel (4.3) does not work with the integrated Intel Skylake GPU (blank screen) of the Dell XPS 15.
As 4.4 has not been released yet (RC7 at the time writing), i needed to built the 4.4 Kernel myself. You could probably also use linux-git from the AUR repository
tar -xvJf linux-4.3.3.tar.xz
zcat /proc/config.gz > .config
Copy the kernel to the /boot directory:
mkinitcpio -k 4.4.0-rc7-ARCH -c /etc/mkinitcpio.conf -g /boot/initramfs-linux.img
I use bootctl (part of systemd) as boot manager. As grub did not work out very well.
# bootctl --path=/boot install
Next create a boot entry in /boot/loader/entries/arch.conf
options root=/dev/nvme0n1p2 rw intel_idle.max_cstate=1
Modify the /boot/loader/loader.conf to use this configuration:
See systemd-boot entry for information.
Now just follow the rest of the beginners guide.
Going to write an separate article on how Arch performs on the Dell XPS 15 in the couple of days. Have fun testing!