All You Need to Know About Using Arch Linux on 32-Bit Systems

Looking to use Arch Linux on a 32-bit computer?

Well, I have both bad news and good news for you.

The bad news first. Arch Linux doesn’t support 32-bit systems for the past few years.

The good news is that you can still use Arch Linux on 32-bit computers thanks to the Arch Linux 32 project.

Intrigued? Let’s see it in detail.

Arch Linux no longer provides ISO for 32-bit systems

Like most other Linux distributions, Arch Linux no longer serves 32-bit systems.

Arch Linux ended support for i686 architecture, i.e., 32-bit systems, in 2017.

Decreasing popularity was cited as the driving factor behind this decision: “Due to the decreasing popularity of i686 among the developers and the community, we have decided to phase out the support of this architecture.” 

Since March 2017, 32-bit images of Arch Linux have not been available on the project website. Existing 32-bit installs were given this ‘grace period’ to plan their switch to other Linux distributions that still support 32-bit processors. Starting with December 2017, no updates were provided to the existing 32-bit Arch systems.

This means you can only install Arch Linux 64-bit version now, officially. More on that in the next section.

Though Arch Linux has stopped the support for 32-bit systems, it doesn’t affect the multilib repository. You can still install Steam on Arch Linux.

Arch Linux 32-bit lives in the form of archlinux32

One of the reasons why I love Linux is its open source nature and the enthusiastic community.

Meet archlinux32, a community-maintained fork of Arch Linux 32-bit. They have official packages optimized for the i686 and pentium4 architectures.

The project was created when the official Arch Linux announced ending the support for 32-bit systems. It is heartening to see that the project has continued to be active even in 2022.

Transition instructions from Arch Linux to archlinux32 are also explained. Check out the transition instructions. A dual-bootable installation media has also been made available for users.

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  • Honestly was surprised when I read the announcement it took so long. Being that it’s bleeding edge, I would have thought Arch would be one of the very first to announce dropping 32-bit.

  • I have been using my 32-bit computer smoothly with ArchLinux. Now I am going to install another distro. It was nice guys. Any suggestions?

  • Arch is may officially dropping support to 32-bit systems, but the community created separate mirrors dedicated to 32-bit systems. What’s bad with that?
    Please, don’t exagerate when there’s no reason :p