Starting the Installation Program

To start the installation, you must first boot the installation program. Please make sure you have all the resources you will need for the installation. If you have already read through Chapter 1 , and followed the instructions, you should be ready to begin.


Occasionally, some hardware components require a driver disk during the installation. A driver disk adds support for hardware that is not otherwise supported by the installation program. Refer to Appendix F for more information.

Booting the Installation Program

You can boot the Red Hat Linux installation program using any one of the following media (depending upon what your system can support):

To create a boot disk, refer to the Section called Making Installation Diskettes in Chapter 1.

Insert the boot disk into your computer's first diskette drive and reboot (or boot using the CD-ROM, if your computer supports booting from it). Your BIOS settings may need to be changed to allow you to boot from the diskette or CD-ROM.


To change your BIOS settings, watch the instructions provided on your display when your computer first boots. You will see a line of text telling you to press the [Del] or [F1] key to enter the BIOS settings.

Once you have entered your BIOS setup program, find the section where you can alter your boot sequence. The default is often C, A or A, C (depending on whether you boot from your hard drive [C] or a diskette drive [A]). Change this sequence so that the CD-ROM is first in your boot order and that C or A (whichever is your typical boot default) is second. This instructs the computer to first look at the CD-ROM drive for bootable media; if it does not find bootable media on the CD-ROM drive, it will then check your hard drive or diskette drive.

Save your changes before exiting the BIOS. For more information, refer to the documentation that came with your system.

After a short delay, a screen containing the boot: prompt should appear. The screen contains information on a variety of boot options. Each boot option also has one or more help screens associated with it. To access a help screen, press the appropriate function key as listed in the line at the bottom of the screen.

As you boot the installation program, be aware of two issues:

Normally, you only need to press [Enter] to boot. Watch the boot messages to see if the Linux kernel detects your hardware. If your hardware is properly detected, please continue to the next section. If it does not properly detect your hardware, you may need to restart the installation in expert mode.

Additional Boot Options

While it is easiest for a user to boot from CD-ROM and perform a graphical installation, sometimes there are installation scenarios where booting in a different manner may be needed. This section discusses addition boot options available for Red Hat Linux.

  • If you are having trouble booting into the graphical installation program, you can try to boot using the no framebuffer (nofb) boot option.

    At the boot command, enter the following:

    boot: nofb

    This option allows you to use the graphical installation program without using a framebuffer.

  • If you do not wish to perform a graphical installation, you can start a text mode installation using the following boot command:

    boot: text
  • ISO images now have an md5sum embedded in them. To test the checksum integrity of an ISO image, at the installation boot prompt, type:

    boot: linux mediacheck

    The installation program will prompt you to insert a CD or select an ISO image to test, and select OK to perform the checksum operation. This checksum operation can be performed on any Red Hat Linux CD and does not have to be performed in a specific order (for example, CD #1 does not have the be the first CD you verify). It is strongly recommended to perform this operation on any Red Hat Linux CD that was created from downloaded ISO images. This procedure works with CD-based installations and hard drive and NFS installations using ISO images.

  • If the installation program does not properly detect your hardware, you may need to restart the installation in expert mode. Enter expert mode using the following boot command:

    boot: linux noprobe

    For text mode installations, use:

    boot: text noprobe

    Expert mode disables most hardware probing, and gives you the option of entering options for the drivers loaded during the installation.


    The initial boot messages will not contain any references to SCSI or network cards. This is normal; these devices are supported by modules that are loaded during the installation process.

  • If you need to perform the installation in serial mode, type the following command:

    boot: linux console=<device>

    For text mode installations, use:

    boot: linux text console=<device>

    In the above command, <device> should be the device you are using (such as ttyS0 or ttyS1). For example, linux console=ttyS0,115200n8.

Kernel Options

Options can also be passed to the kernel. For example, to instruct the kernel to use all the RAM in a system with 128 MB of RAM, enter:

boot: linux mem=128M

For text mode installations, use:

boot: linux text mem=128M

After entering any options, press [Enter] to boot using those options.

If you need to specify boot options to identify your hardware, please write them down. The boot options will be needed during the boot loader configuration portion of the installation (please see the Section called Boot Loader Installation for more information).

Booting Without Diskettes

The Red Hat Linux CD-ROM can be booted by computers that support bootable CD-ROMs. Not all computers support this feature, so if your system cannot boot from the CD-ROM, there is one other way to start the installation without using a boot disk. The following method is specific to x86-based computers only.

If you have MS-DOS installed on your system, you can boot directly from the CD-ROM drive without using a boot disk. To do this (assuming your CD-ROM is drive d:), use the following commands:

C:\> d:
D:\> cd \dosutils
D:\dosutils> autoboot.bat

This method will not work if run in a DOS window — the autoboot.bat file must be executed with DOS as the only operating system. In other words, Windows cannot be running.

If your computer cannot boot directly from CD-ROM (and you cannot use a DOS-based autoboot), you will have to use a boot diskette to get things started.