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OpenSuSE 11.1 Quick Start Guide
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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.

13.2.1 Checking Media

If you encounter any problems using the openSUSE installation media, check the integrity of your installation media with Software > Media Check. Media problems are more likely to occur with media you burn yourself. To check an openSUSE medium, insert it into the drive and click Start for YaST to check the checksum of the medium. This may take several minutes. If errors are detected, do not use this medium for installation.

13.2.2 Hardware Information

Display detected hardware and technical data using Hardware > Hardware Information. 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 Save to File. Select the desired directory and filename then click Save 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 Section 1.1.3, Remote Installation via VNC—PXE Boot and Wake on LAN, (↑ Reference ) and Section 1.1.6, Remote Installation via SSH—PXE Boot and Wake on LAN, (↑ Reference ) for details.

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:

  1. The program checks if the BIOS provides VESA 2.0–compliant framebuffer support and boots the kernel accordingly.

  2. The monitor data (DDC info) is read.

  3. 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 functions.

If you keep Shift pressed when SYSLINUX starts, all these steps are skipped. For troubleshooting purposes, insert the line

verbose 1

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 appears.

Changing the BIOS Boot Sequence

  1. Enter the BIOS using the proper key as announced by the boot routines and wait for the BIOS screen to appear.

  2. To change the boot sequence in an AWARD BIOS, look for the BIOS FEATURES SETUP entry. Other manufacturers may have a different name for this, such as ADVANCED CMOS SETUP. When you have found the entry, select it and confirm with Enter.

  3. In the screen that opens, look for a subentry called BOOT SEQUENCE. The boot sequence is often set to something like 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 A,CDROM,C.

  4. Leave the BIOS setup screen by pressing Esc. To save the changes, select SAVE & EXIT SETUP or press F10. To confirm that your settings should be saved, press Y.

Changing the Boot Sequence in a SCSI BIOS (Adaptec Host Adapter)

  1. Open the setup by pressing Ctrl+A.

  2. Select Disk Utilities, which displays the connected hardware components.

    Make note of the SCSI ID of your DVD drive.

  3. Exit the menu with Esc.

  4. Open Configure Adapter Settings. Under Additional Options, select Boot Device Options and press Enter.

  5. Enter the ID of the DVD drive and press Enter again.

  6. Press Esc twice to return to the start screen of the SCSI BIOS.

  7. Exit this screen and confirm with Yes to boot the computer.

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 Installation mode from the first installation boot screen, try the following:

  1. With the DVD still in the drive, reboot the machine with Ctrl+Alt+Del or using the hardware reset button.

  2. When the boot screen appears, use the arrow keys of your keyboard to navigate to Installation–ACPI Disabled and press Enter to launch the boot and installation process. This option disables the support for ACPI power management techniques.

  3. Proceed with the installation as described in Section 1.0, Installation with YaST.

If this fails, proceed as above, but choose Installation--Safe Settings 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 /usr/src/linux/Documentation/kernel-parameters.txt.

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 specification compliant.


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 installation, select Memory Test in the boot menu to check the memory. If Memory Test 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 Installation, the graphical installer does not start.

There are several ways to deal with this situation:

  • Try to select another screen resolution for the installation dialogs.

  • Select Text Mode for installation.

  • Do a remote installation via VNC using the graphical installer.

Change Screen Resolution for Installation

  1. Boot for installation.

  2. Press F3 to open a menu from which to select a lower resolution for installation purposes.

  3. Select Installation and proceed with the installation as described in Section 1.0, Installation with YaST.

Installation in Text Mode

  1. Boot for installation.

  2. Press F3 and select Text Mode.

  3. Select Installation and proceed with the installation as described in Section 1.0, Installation with YaST.

VNC Installation

  1. Boot for installation.

  2. Enter the following text at the boot options prompt:

    vnc=1 vncpassword=some_password

    Replace some_password with the password to use for installation.

  3. Select Installation then press Enter to start the installation.

    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.

  4. 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 Enter:


    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.

    IMPORTANT: 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 Enter.

Screen Resolutions

Use the F keys to determine the screen resolution for installation. If you need to boot in text mode, choose F3.

OpenSuSE 11.1 Quick Start Guide
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  Published under the terms fo the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire