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NOTE: CentOS Enterprise Linux 5 is built from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code. Other than logo and name changes CentOS Enterprise Linux 5 is compatible with the equivalent Red Hat version. This document applies equally to both Red Hat and CentOS Enterprise Linux 5.

28.8. Making the Kickstart File Available

A kickstart file must be placed in one of the following locations:

  • On a boot diskette

  • On a boot CD-ROM

  • On a network

Normally a kickstart file is copied to the boot diskette, or made available on the network. The network-based approach is most commonly used, as most kickstart installations tend to be performed on networked computers.

Let us take a more in-depth look at where the kickstart file may be placed.

28.8.1. Creating Kickstart Boot Media

Diskette-based booting is no longer supported in Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Installations must use CD-ROM or flash memory products for booting. However, the kickstart file may still reside on a diskette's top-level directory, and must be named ks.cfg.

To perform a CD-ROM-based kickstart installation, the kickstart file must be named ks.cfg and must be located in the boot CD-ROM's top-level directory. Since a CD-ROM is read-only, the file must be added to the directory used to create the image that is written to the CD-ROM. Refer to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Installation Guide for instructions on creating boot media; however, before making the file.iso image file, copy the ks.cfg kickstart file to the isolinux/ directory.

To perform a pen-based flash memory kickstart installation, the kickstart file must be named ks.cfg and must be located in the flash memory's top-level directory. Create the boot image first, and then copy the ks.cfg file.

For example, the following transfers a boot image to the pen drive (/dev/sda) using the dd command:

          dd if=diskboot.img of=/dev/sda bs=1M


Creation of USB flash memory pen drives for booting is possible, but is heavily dependent on system hardware BIOS settings. Refer to your hardware manufacturer to see if your system supports booting to alternate devices.

28.8.2. Making the Kickstart File Available on the Network

Network installations using kickstart are quite common, because system administrators can easily automate the installation on many networked computers quickly and painlessly. In general, the approach most commonly used is for the administrator to have both a BOOTP/DHCP server and an NFS server on the local network. The BOOTP/DHCP server is used to give the client system its networking information, while the actual files used during the installation are served by the NFS server. Often, these two servers run on the same physical machine, but they are not required to.

To perform a network-based kickstart installation, you must have a BOOTP/DHCP server on your network, and it must include configuration information for the machine on which you are attempting to install Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The BOOTP/DHCP server provides the client with its networking information as well as the location of the kickstart file.

If a kickstart file is specified by the BOOTP/DHCP server, the client system attempts an NFS mount of the file's path, and copies the specified file to the client, using it as the kickstart file. The exact settings required vary depending on the BOOTP/DHCP server you use.

Here is an example of a line from the dhcpd.conf file for the DHCP server:

filename"/usr/new-machine/kickstart/"; next-server;

Note that you should replace the value after filename with the name of the kickstart file (or the directory in which the kickstart file resides) and the value after next-server with the NFS server name.

If the file name returned by the BOOTP/DHCP server ends with a slash ("/"), then it is interpreted as a path only. In this case, the client system mounts that path using NFS, and searches for a particular file. The file name the client searches for is:


The <ip-addr> section of the file name should be replaced with the client's IP address in dotted decimal notation. For example, the file name for a computer with an IP address of would be

Note that if you do not specify a server name, then the client system attempts to use the server that answered the BOOTP/DHCP request as its NFS server. If you do not specify a path or file name, the client system tries to mount /kickstart from the BOOTP/DHCP server and tries to find the kickstart file using the same <ip-addr>-kickstart file name as described above.

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire