13.2 Installation Problems
Installation problems are situations when a machine fails to install. It
may fail entirely or it may not be able to start the graphical installer.
This section highlights some of the typical problems you might run into
and offers possible solutions or workarounds for this kind of situations.
13.2.2 Hardware Information
Display detected hardware and technical data using
. Click any node of the tree for more information about a
device. This module is especially useful, for example, when submitting a
support request for which you need information about your hardware.
Save the hardware information displayed to a file by clicking
. Select the desired directory and
filename then click to create the file.
13.2.3 No Bootable DVD Drive Available
If your computer does not contain a bootable DVD-ROM drive or if the one
you have is not supported by Linux, there are several options for
installing your machine without a need for a built-in DVD drive:
- Booting from a Floppy Disk
Create a boot floppy and boot from floppy disk instead of DVD.
- Using an External Boot Device
If it is supported by the machine's BIOS and the installation kernel,
boot for installation from external DVD drives.
- Network Boot via PXE
If a machine lacks a DVD drive, but provides a working ethernet
connection, perform a completely network-based installation. See
Remote Installation via VNC—PXE Boot and Wake on LAN, (↑ Reference )
Remote Installation via SSH—PXE Boot and Wake on LAN, (↑ Reference )
Booting from a Floppy Disk (SYSLINUX)
On some older computers, there is no bootable DVD drive available, but
a floppy disk drive. To install on such a system, create boot disks and
boot your system with them.
The boot disks include the loader SYSLINUX and the program linuxrc.
SYSLINUX enables the selection of a kernel during the boot procedure
and the specification of any parameters needed for the hardware used.
The program linuxrc supports the loading of kernel modules for your
hardware and subsequently starts the installation.
When booting from a boot disk, the boot procedure is initiated by the
boot loader SYSLINUX (package syslinux). When
the system is booted, SYSLINUX runs a minimum hardware detection that
mainly consists of the following steps:
The program checks if the BIOS provides VESA 2.0–compliant
framebuffer support and boots the kernel accordingly.
The monitor data (DDC info) is read.
The first block of the first hard disk (MBR) is read to map BIOS IDs
to Linux device names during the boot loader configuration. The
program attempts to read the block by means of the the lba32
functions of the BIOS to determine if the BIOS supports these
If you keep Shift pressed when SYSLINUX starts, all
these steps are skipped. For troubleshooting purposes, insert the line
in syslinux.cfg for the boot loader to display
which action is currently being performed.
If the machine does not boot from the floppy disk, you may need to
change the boot sequence in the BIOS to A,C,CDROM.
External Boot Devices
Most DVD drives are supported. If the system does not have one or
floppy disk, it is still possible that an external DVD drive, connected
with USB, FireWire, or SCSI, can be used to boot the system. This
depends largely on the interaction of the BIOS and the hardware used.
Sometimes a BIOS update may help if you encounter problems.
13.2.4 Booting from Installation Media Fails
One reason for a machine not to boot for installation is an incorrect
boot sequence in BIOS. The BIOS boot sequence must have DVD drive set as
the first entry for booting. Otherwise the machine would try to boot
from another medium, typically the hard disk. Guidance for changing the
BIOS boot sequence can be found the documentation provided with your
motherboard or in the following paragraphs.
The BIOS is the software that enables the very basic functions of a
computer. Motherboard vendors provide a BIOS specifically made for their
hardware. Normally, the BIOS setup can only be accessed at a specific
time—when the machine is booting. During this initialization
phase, the machine performs a number of diagnostic hardware tests. One
of them is a memory check, indicated by a memory counter. When the
counter appears, look for a line, usually below the counter or somewhere
at the bottom, mentioning the key to press to access the BIOS setup.
Usually the key to press is Del, F1,
or Esc. Press this key until the BIOS setup screen
Changing the BIOS Boot Sequence
Enter the BIOS using the proper key as announced by the boot routines
and wait for the BIOS screen to appear.
To change the boot sequence in an AWARD BIOS, look for the
entry. Other manufacturers may
have a different name for this, such as . When you have found the entry, select it and confirm
In the screen that opens, look for a subentry called C,A or A,C. In the former case,
the machine first searches the hard disk (C) then the floppy drive (A)
to find a bootable medium. Change the settings by pressing
PgUp or PgDown until the sequence is
. The boot sequence is often set to something like
Leave the BIOS setup screen by pressing Esc. To save
the changes, select or press
F10. To confirm that your settings should be saved,
Changing the Boot Sequence in a SCSI BIOS (Adaptec Host Adapter)
Open the setup by pressing Ctrl+A.
, which displays the connected
Make note of the SCSI ID of your DVD drive.
Exit the menu with Esc.
, select and press
Enter the ID of the DVD drive and press Enter again.
Press Esc twice to return to the start screen of the
Exit this screen and confirm with to boot the
Regardless of what language and keyboard layout your final installation
will be using, most BIOS configurations use the US keyboard layout as
depicted in the following figure:
Figure 13-1 US Keyboard Layout
13.2.5 Fails to Boot
Some hardware types, mainly fairly old or very recent ones, fail to
install. In many cases, this might happen because support for this type
of hardware is missing from the installation kernel or due to certain
functionality included in this kernel, such as ACPI, that still cause
problems on some hardware.
If your system fails to install using the standard
mode from the first installation boot
screen, try the following:
With the DVD still in the drive, reboot the machine with
Ctrl+Alt+Del or using the
hardware reset button.
When the boot screen appears, use the arrow keys of your keyboard to
navigate to Enter to launch the
boot and installation process. This option disables the support for
ACPI power management techniques.
Proceed with the installation as described in
Section 1.0, Installation with YaST.
If this fails, proceed as above, but choose
instead. This option disables ACPI and DMA support.
Most hardware should boot with this option.
If both of these options fail, use the boot options prompt to pass any
additional parameters needed to support this type of hardware to the
installation kernel. For more information about the parameters available
as boot options, refer to the kernel documentation located in
HINT: Obtaining Kernel Documentation
Install the kernel-source
package to view the kernel documentation.
There are various other ACPI-related kernel parameters that can be
entered at the boot prompt prior to booting for installation:
This parameter disables the complete ACPI subsystem on your computer.
This may be useful if your computer cannot handle ACPI at all or if
you think ACPI in your computer causes trouble.
Always enable ACPI even if your computer has an old BIOS dated before
the year 2000. This parameter also enables ACPI if it is set in
addition to acpi=off.
Do not use ACPI for IRQ routing.
Run only enough ACPI to enable hyper-threading.
Be less tolerant of platforms that are not strictly ACPI
Disable PCI IRQ routing of the new ACPI system.
This option is for seriell or parallel problems when your BIOS setup
contains wrong interrupts or ports.
Disable the time stamp counter. This option can be used to work
around timing problems on your systems. It is a new feature, if you
see regressions on your machine, especially time related or even
total hangs, this option is worth a try.
Disable the nohz feature. If your machine hangs, this option might
help. Generally, you do not need it.
Once you have determined the right parameter combination, YaST
automatically writes them to the boot loader configuration to make sure
that the system boots properly next time.
If unexplainable errors occur when the kernel is loaded or during the
in the boot menu to
check the memory. If returns an error, it
is usually a hardware error.
13.2.6 Fails to Launch Graphical Installer
After you insert the medium into your drive and reboot your machine, the
installation screen comes up, but after you select
, the graphical installer does not start.
There are several ways to deal with this situation:
Change Screen Resolution for Installation
Boot for installation.
Press F3 to open a
menu from which to select a lower resolution for installation
Select Section 1.0, Installation with YaST.
and proceed with the
installation as described in
Boot for installation.
Enter the following text at the boot options prompt:
Replace some_password with the password to
use for installation.
Select Enter to start the
Instead of starting right into the graphical installation routine, the
system continues to run in text mode then halts, displaying a message
containing the IP address and port number at which the installer can
be reached via a browser interface or a VNC viewer application.
If using a browser to access the installer, launch the browser and
enter the address information provided by the installation routines on
the future openSUSE machine and hit
A dialog opens in the browser window prompting you for the VNC
password. Enter it and proceed with the installation as described in
Section 1.0, Installation with YaST.
Installation via VNC works with any browser under any operating
system, provided Java support is enabled.
If you use any kind of VNC viewer on your preferred operating system,
enter the IP address and password when prompted to do so. A window
opens, displaying the installation dialogs. Proceed with the
installation as usual.
13.2.7 Only Minimalistic Boot Screen Started
You inserted the medium into the drive, the BIOS routines are finished,
but the system does not start with the graphical boot screen. Instead it
launches a very minimalistic text-based interface. This might happen on
any machine not providing sufficient graphics memory for rendering a
graphical boot screen.
Although the text boot screen looks minimalistic, it provides nearly the
same functionality as the graphical one:
- Boot Options
Unlike the graphical interface, the different boot options cannot be
selected using the cursor keys of your keyboard. The boot menu of the
text mode boot screen offers some keywords to enter at the boot
prompt. These keywords map to the options offered in the graphical
version. Enter your choice and hit
Enter to launch the boot process.
- Custom Boot Options
After selecting a boot option, enter the appropriate keyword at the
boot prompt or enter some custom boot options as described in
Section 13.2.5, Fails to Boot. To launch the
installation process, press
- Screen Resolutions
Use the F keys to determine the screen resolution for installation.
If you need to boot in text mode, choose F3.