28 November 2021

In preparation for getting things back on track, the automated installer has gone away for good. Manually installing a stage4 isn’t hard, and life makes it challenging for me to maintain a scripted installer. The manual install instructions are also easier to troubleshoot if you run into trouble or have questions. I want to focus on the tarball and helping people get this up and running, since that’s what matters the most.

Note for UEFI: Please make sure you understand how to boot your computer with UEFI and load a non-Windows OS if you have a UEFI machine. It is beyond the scope of this guide to assist with that.


Any modern computer will handle Gentoo Studio and professional audio, as long as it’s a multi-core processor, such as an i7, with 16+GB of RAM. (8 may be okay if your work doesnt involve a heavy DSP load.) You also need a hard drive with a minimum speed of 7200 RPM. An SSD work drive is helpful but not necessary.

Acquire a boot medium. The recommended boot medium is SystemRescueCd. You can use any boot medium that gives you access to your hard drive, allows you to chroot and supports bash.

If you wish to dual-boot, please visit the Gentoo forums if you need help.

Only the amd64 architecture is supported. There are no plans to include any other architectures.

Manual Install

For dual-boot users, you will need to handle the partitioning scheme on your own and adjust these instructions accordingly. Note that if you are dual-booting, you do not want to mklabel, you may or may not be able to apply partition names, and your boot label may or may not already be set. User takes all responsibility for the results of performing these steps.

DO NOT COPY AND PASTE. Type these instructions into your terminal and double-check for typos.

  1. Once you’ve booted with your boot medium, you need to prepare the hard drive using the following steps:
    1. parted -a optimal /dev/sda
    2. mklabel gpt
    3. unit mib
    4. mkpart primary 1 3
    5. name 1 grub
    6. set 1 bios_grub on
    7. mkpart primary 3 131
    8. name 2 boot
    9. mkpart primary 131 643
    10. name 3 swap
    11. mkpart primary 643 -1
    12. name 4 rootfs
    13. set 2 boot on
    14. print
      • You should see this:
        Number Start  End    Size   File system    Name  Flags
         1     1049kB 3146kB 2097kB                grub  bios_grub
         2     3146kB 137MB  134MB  ext2           boot  boot, esp
         3     137MB  2235MB 2097MB linux-swap(v1) swap
         4     2235MB 2000GB 1998GB ext4           rootfs
    15. quit
    1. If you have a BIOS system: > mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda2
    2. If you have a UEFI system: > mkfs.fat -F 32 /dev/sda2
  2. mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda4
  3. mkswap /dev/sda3
  4. swapon /dev/sda3

Now mount the hard drive and install the base system:

  1. mkdir /mnt/gentoo (if this dir does not exist)
  2. mount /dev/sda4 /mnt/gentoo (The mount point does not matter. Just substitute whatever you use here.)
  3. mkdir /mnt/gentoo/boot
  4. mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/gentoo/boot
  5. cd /mnt/gentoo
  6. wget
  7. tar xvjpf stage4-amd64-latest.tar.bz2 --xattrs --numeric-owner
  8. rm stage4-amd64-latest.tar.bz2

Chroot into the base system and configure:

  1. cp /mnt/gentoo/usr/share/portage/config/repos.conf /mnt/gentoo/etc/portage/repos.conf/gentoo.conf
  2. cp -L /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/gentoo/etc/, y to overwrite
  3. mount -t proc /proc /mnt/gentoo/proc
  4. mount --rbind /sys /mnt/gentoo/sys
  5. mount --rbind /dev /mnt/gentoo/dev
  6. mount --make-rslave /mnt/gentoo/sys
  7. mount --make-rslave /mnt/gentoo/dev
  8. mount --bind /run /mnt/gentoo/run
  9. mount --make-slave /mnt/gentoo/run
  10. chroot /mnt/gentoo /bin/bash
  11. source /etc/profile
  12. emerge-webrsync
  13. eix-sync
  14. ls /usr/share/zoneinfo
  15. echo "(selected timezone)" > /etc/timezone
  16. emerge --config timezone-data
  17. grub-install:
    1. If you have a BIOS system: > grub-install /dev/sda
    2. If you have a UEFI system: > grub-install --target=x86_64-efi --efi-directory=/boot --removable
  18. nano /etc/fstab
    1. If you have a BIOS system, make sure the line for /dev/sda2 has filesystem type ext4
    2. if you have an EFI system, make sure the line for /dev/sda2 has filesystem type vfat
    3. Either way, your fstab should look something like this:
      • /dev/sda2      /boot      ext4      defaults,noatime      0 2
        /dev/sda4      /             ext4      noatime                    0 1
        /dev/sda3      none      swap     sw                            0 0
  19. If you are dual-booting with Windows, emerge os-prober
  20. grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
  21. passwd (Sets root password.)
  22. useradd -m -G users,wheel,audio,plugdev -s /bin/bash (username)
  23. passwd (username)
  24. cpuid2cpuflags >> /etc/portage/make.conf
  25. nano /etc/portage/make.conf and edit the CPU_FLAGS_X86 line so it looks similar to this: CPU_FLAGS_X86="mmx sse sse2"
  26. emerge -vuDN --keep-going --with-bdeps=y --backtrack=250 @system @world This recompiles any packages that use CPU-specific flags. Also note that while it’s tempting to skip this step and boot into your system, this world update helps make sure your system is updated and working correctly on first boot. If you encounter Portage errors such as conflicts and blocks and can’t scroll up, it’s fine to reboot into your new system and try it again there.
  27. reboot
  28. On your first login, you will need to change the session to Xfce using the login manager menu in the upper right corner.

You should now have a working Gentoo Studio workstation.


  • Do NOT update /etc/security/limits.conf. Those settings are there for a reason.
  • If you dual-boot with Windows and need to re-install Windows, you will need to chroot into Gentoo Studio, re-install grub and run grub-mkconfig again. Windows installs its own bootloader and you will need to blow it away with Grub.