Anaconda/Boot

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There are many ways to boot and install a Fedora system with other means than a CD-ROM. The idea behind this page is to catalog various boot configurations. The goal of the Anaconda Boot page is to catalog these boot options, boot procedures, and the setup that is required to support these various boot configurations that will be discussed.

Contents

Topics Under Formulation

  • Point to the existing CD installation documentation.
  • Talk about the 'ISO install tree'.
  • One CD or other method must start of the 'ISO install tree' method.
  • Discuss the boot ISO that is available as a starter disk.
  • Talk about a 'regular install tree' for other boot methods or to refactor a Fedora image.
  • Talk about the missing ., dot, file that is not copied as part of creating an 'install tree'.
  • Point out the askmethod Linux boot option.
  • Install from USB stick and the issues involved https://www.redhat.com/archives/anaconda-devel-list/2004-September/msg00016.html
  • Install from grub for example http://www.redhat.com/archives/fedora-list/2004-May/msg05948.html and http://www.city-fan.org/tips/BootInstallerFromHardDisk
  • Is this the place to talk about creating a driver diskette should a boot option not have a supplied kernel driver?
  • Try to progress from simple boot options as far as setup or some other criteria to more advanced options.
  • Perhaps this page may be a seguay into anaconda scripting and first boot techniques.
  • Tools: mkisofs, cdrecord, syslinux, grub, the release of File Roller 2.14.0 in FC 5 can now open an ISO image as if it was a tar.gz or zip archive. Moreover, http://g-scripts.sourceforge.net/ can be adapted to refactor an ISO or create install trees.
  • Big question: Can a bigger and better contrib section of the anaconda rpm be developed by the community?
  • A graph may be useful. The graph would show the latency of the install method verses the benefits derived from not using a CD. For example, a USB 1.1 version install may be painfully slow compaired to a CD or an install from a hard drive method.
  • Setup issues: planning for an install from hard drive if installing to the same hard drive that may be an anaconda format target.
  • ISO install tree may be similar.
  • USB sticks now have capacity to hold all five ISOs.
  • How to on an extended or primary partition.
  • How to on an LVM logical volume that could grow over time.
  • Both how tos are similar in concept to leaving home on a separate partition.

Goals

  • Goal: Take the secrets out of anaconda so that some of my co-workers don't say, "I didn't know you could do that".
  • Secondary Goal: Diskettes used to be a pain. Now creating a CD from an ISO is a pain. How can physical CDs be avoided?

Notes

All are welcome to jump in an edit as they see fit. All good documents start when one doesn't stare at a blank page. Hence, this page may be rough for awhile.

USB Notes

Large drive issue. MS Windows 2000 would not create a FAT partition on a 400gig USB external hard drive. MS Manage computer utility used partition of fat 16 or fdisk ID = 6.

fdisk /dev/sda

The number of cylinders for this disk is set to 48641.
There is nothing wrong with that, but this is larger than 1024,
and could in certain setups cause problems with:
1) software that runs at boot time (e.g., old versions of LILO)
2) booting and partitioning software from other OSs
(e.g., DOS FDISK, OS/2 FDISK)

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sda: 400.0 GB, 400088456704 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 48641 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1       48641   390708801    6  FAT16

What MS Windows 2000 left in the partition table.

Command (m for help): t
Selected partition 1
Hex code (type L to list codes): l

1  FAT12
4  FAT16 <32M
5  Extended
6  FAT16
b  W95 FAT32
c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
e  W95 FAT16 (LBA)
f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
Hex code (type L to list codes): c
Changed system type of partition 1 to c (W95 FAT32 (LBA))

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sda: 400.0 GB, 400088456704 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 48641 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1       48641   390708801    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)

Command (m for help): v
5164 unallocated sectors

How to correct a bad parition table on a large drive.

Command (m for help): n
Command action
e   extended
p   primary partition (1-4)
p
Partition number (1-4): 1
First cylinder (1-48641, default 1):
Using default value 1
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (1-48641, default 48641):
Using default value 48641

Command (m for help): t
Selected partition 1
Hex code (type L to list codes): l

<snip>
Hex code (type L to list codes): c
Changed system type of partition 1 to c (W95 FAT32 (LBA))

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sda: 400.0 GB, 400088456704 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 48641 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1       48641   390708801    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)

Command (m for help): v
5164 unallocated sectors

Command (m for help): w
The partition table has been altered!

Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.

WARNING: If you have created or modified any DOS 6.x
partitions, please see the fdisk manual page for additional
information.
Syncing disks.

Creating an USB partition from scratch.


A work around is to use fdisk and ID = c W95 FAT32 (LBA).

mkdosfs -F 32 -n sg_400gig -c /dev/sda1

Follow the fdisk command with an mkdosfs with a -F 32 as shown above.

mkdosfs -F 16 -n fc_pen_boot -c /dev/sda1

A 'normal' format for a pen/flash/usb drive may be an fdisk with ID = 6 and a mkdosfs with a -F 16 fat.

Boot Problems

Some Anaconda problems may really be Basic Input Output System, BIOS, configuration problems or other hardware limitations or hardware problems. Here are some known problems during boot time in the following sections.

BIOS Issues

Error: got to setupCdrom without a CD device.

The last time I really needed a driver diskette was during the Red Hat 6.2 days. Compaq servers required a driver disk for their raid controllers or the like. Most all hardware just works with Linux anymore. I was surprised when I saw a driver diskette as an option on a recent installation.

I was trying to install Fedora 9 on a Gigabyte GA-MA69GM-S2h mother board. I worked my way to the normal "Installation Method Screen" that asks "What type of media contains the packages to be installed?" I selected the "Local CD/DVD" option. After the media was selected the "No driver found" screen. The top of the screen reads, "Unable to find any devices of the type needed for this installation type. Would you like to manually select your driver or use a driver disk?"

I tried selecting several drivers to no avail. I booted the computer with a live CD and wrote down the hard ware information that was detected. I even used a live CD to find the hard ware information. I still couldn't pick the right driver for the ATI SB600 StaticLegacy DVD-218D ST3250632A combination of information reported by the dmesg command.

At this point I felt I had a pilot error issue on my hands for several reasons.

  • I hadn't upgraded my hard ware for awhile.
  • I was using a Serial ATA, SATA DVD/CD-ROM drive for the installation.
  • I wasn't certain that the BIOS was configured correctly.

Configuring the BIOS requires restarting your computer. Right after the splash screen is displayed you will have to hit the F2 function key or the delete key, del. All BIOSes have slightly different menu schemes once you are in the configuration page. For hard drive or media drive issues, I always start with the "Advanced BIOS Features" menu option or something similar to this phrase. You may even have to poke around awhile to find these options. Make sure that the "Hard Disk Boot Priority" menu has the CD/DVD-Rom drive as the first boot device. If you are using network or USB drives, then you'll want to make this the first boot device.

The solution to my installation problem came on the BIOS "Integrated Peripherals" page. Since my DVD drive was a SATA drive, I made sure that the "On Chip SATA Controller" was "Enabled". You'd disable this option if you bought a better controller and wanted to use that device, for example. The next option for the on board SATA device was the clincher in solving the problem. The

"OnChip SATA Type"

was set to

"Legacy IDE"

The DVD SATA drive had nothing to do with "legacy" as far as I was concerned. So I changed the BIOS configuration to

"SATA -> AHCI"

as this looked to be the most promising out of

  • Native IDE
  • Raid
  • Legacy IDE
  • SATA -> AHCI

The problem was solved.

You may ask, "How did you find the 'Error: got to setupCdrom without a CD device.' error message"? Anaconda has several Alt and Function key combinations that provide diagnostic information during installation. In this case, I found the error message on the Alt F3 screen. Alt F1 takes you back to the normal installation screen sequence.

Hardware Issues