NixOS Installation

November 7, 2020 Linux 1 minute, 46 seconds

This article describes a simple not heavily customized installation of NixOS (nixos-minimal-17.09.1756.c99239bca0-x86_64-linux.iso) on a clean vServer.


We download the iso image from the official Homepage and mount it as boot device in our virtual machine (usually through a admin panel of your provider).

There are also some other install methods. At the time writing this namely AWS, Azure, and OVA.



Setting a german keyboard layout with loadkeys de was not working but we will access the live image within ssh anyway as the web panel of my machine from my provider is not very convienient. We must set a password for the root user (which is empty initially) and start the ssh daemon:

passwd # set password for current user
systemctl start sshd

Now we are able to ssh into our booted iso image and benefit from the better usability.


First, we must create a (simple) partitioning layout.

fdisk /dev/sda
-> o new dos partitioning table
-> n new primary partition (will be /)
-> n new primary partition (will be swap)
-> w write changes

Now we create the filesystem

mkfs.ext4 -L nixos /dev/sda1
mkfs.ext4 -L nixos /dev/sda1

and mount the fileystem were we gonna install NixOS

mount /dev/disk/by-label/nixos /mnt

We enable our swap partition with swapon /dev/disk/by-label/swap

NixOS Configuration

In order to install NixOS we need to create a initial configuration skeleton with nixos-generate-config --root /mnt. We can adjust the settings in /mnt/etc/nixos/configuration.nix. In my case I changed the follwoing lines:

# Path where the bootloader shoud be installed
boot.loader.grub.device = "/dev/sda";
# german keyboard but english system language
i18n = {
  consoleFont = "Lat2-Terminus16";
  consoleKeyMap = "de";
  defaultLocale = "en_US.UTF-8";
# My timezone
time.timeZone = "Europe/Berlin";
# additional packages to be installed
environment.systemPackages = with pkgs; [
  wget vim curl htop
# add sshd and allow root login for further config
services.openssh = {
  enable = true;
  permitRootLogin = "yes";


Simple do a nixos-install which will last only a minute or so and asks for the root password. After a reboot NixOS should start and you can login with the root account through ssh.