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Our installer image simplifies the process of performing remote installations.

Follow our step-by-step guide to create and transfer this image onto a bootable USB drive.


If you already have a NixOS machine you can ssh into (in the cloud for example) you can skip this chapter and go directly to Configure Machines.

Step 0. Prerequisites

  • A free USB Drive with at least 1.5GB (All data on it will be lost)
  • Linux/NixOS Machine with Internet

Step 1. Identify the USB Flash Drive

  1. Insert your USB flash drive into your computer.

  2. Identify your flash drive with lsblk:

    NAME                                          MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE  MOUNTPOINTS
    sdb                                             8:0    1 117,2G  0 disk
    └─sdb1                                          8:1    1 117,2G  0 part  /run/media/qubasa/INTENSO
    nvme0n1                                       259:0    0   1,8T  0 disk
    ├─nvme0n1p1                                   259:1    0   512M  0 part  /boot
    └─nvme0n1p2                                   259:2    0   1,8T  0 part
      └─luks-f7600028-9d83-4967-84bc-dd2f498bc486 254:0    0   1,8T  0 crypt /nix/store

    In this case the USB device is sdb

  3. Ensure all partitions on the drive are unmounted. Replace sdb1 in the command below with your device identifier (like sdc1, etc.):

sudo umount /dev/sdb1

Step 2. Flash Custom Installer

Using clan flash enables the inclusion of ssh public keys and disables ssh password authentication. It also includes the language and keymap currently used into the installer image.

clan --flake git+ flash flash-installer --disk main /dev/sd<X>

Specifying the wrong device can lead to unrecoverable data loss.

The clan flash utility will erase the disk. Make sure to specify the correct device

Step 2. Download Generic Installer


Step 3. Flash the Installer to the USB Drive

Specifying the wrong device can lead to unrecoverable data loss.

The dd utility will erase the disk. Make sure to specify the correct device (of=...)

For example if the USB device is sdb use of=/dev/sdb.

Use the dd utility to write the NixOS installer image to your USB drive:

sudo dd bs=4M conv=fsync oflag=direct status=progress if=./nixos-installer-x86_64-linux.iso of=/dev/sd<X>

Step 4. Boot and Connect to your network

After writing the installer to the USB drive, use it to boot the target machine.


Plug it into the target machine and select the USB drive as a temporary boot device.

Here you can find the key combinations for selection used by most vendors.
  • Dell: F12 (Boot Menu), F2/Del (BIOS Setup)
  • HP: F9 (Boot Menu), Esc (Startup Menu)
  • Lenovo: F12 (ThinkPad Boot Menu), F2/Fn+F2/Novo Button (IdeaPad Boot Menu/BIOS Setup)
  • Acer: F12 (Boot Menu), F2/Del (BIOS Setup)
  • Asus: F8/Esc (Boot Menu), F2/Del (BIOS Setup)
  • Toshiba: F12/F2 (Boot Menu), Esc then F12 (Alternate Method)
  • Sony: F11/Assist Button (Boot Menu/Recovery Options)
  • Samsung: F2/F12/Esc (Boot Menu), F2 (BIOS Setup)
  • MSI: F11 (Boot Menu), Del (BIOS Setup)
  • Apple: Option (Alt) Key (Boot Menu for Mac)
  • If your hardware was not listed read the manufacturers instructions how to enter the boot Menu/BIOS Setup.

During Boot

Select NixOS to boot into the clan installer.

After Booting

For deploying your configuration the machine needs to be connected via LAN (recommended).

(Optional) Connect to Wifi

If you don't have access via LAN the Installer offers support for connecting via Wifi.


This will enter iwd


Now run the following command to connect to your Wifi:

# Identify your network device.
device list

# Replace 'wlan0' with your wireless device name
# Find your Wifi SSID.
station wlan0 scan
station wlan0 get-networks

# Replace your_ssid with the Wifi SSID
# Connect to your network.
station wlan0 connect your_ssid

# Verify you are connected
station wlan0 show

If the connection was successful you should see something like this:

State                 connected
Connected network     FRITZ!Box (Your router device)
IPv4 address (Your new local ip)

Press ctrl-d to exit IWD.


Press ctrl-d again to update the displayed QR code and connection information.

You're all set up

Whats next?