Certification Objective 3.01: Installation Troubleshooting

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There are actually many processes running and many parts to the installation. The system logs everything to an installation log file and separates related information between four of the five virtual console screens supported during the installation.

Exam Watch 

If your installation is trouble-free, you'll have a few minutes on your hands during the Installation and Configuration exam. I suggest that you use that time to plan how you'll configure the services per the requirements of your particular exam. But pay attention to the following sections. If your installation gets stuck, the console screens described can quickly help you diagnose the problem.

The Console Installation Output Screens

There are up to six consoles available during the installation process. Each console tells a different story. What you see depends slightly on whether you install in text or graphical mode. A network graphical installation is something of a hybrid; it starts in text mode before connecting to the network source and proceeding to the graphical installation.

Text mode starts in the first virtual console. Graphical mode runs in the seventh virtual console (console number 6 is not used). You can switch between virtual consoles using the commands defined in Table 3-1. If you're in text mode, you don't need to use the CTRL key (but it does no harm). As you can see in the table, each console is associated with a function key.

Table 3-1: Installation Virtual Consoles


Console and Function


Text installation display; if you're running in graphical mode, it includes the basic commands to start graphics drivers.


Accesses a bash shell prompt; available after the first few installation steps.


Lists the log of installation messages.


Displays all kernel messages, including detected hardware and drivers.


Installation displays partition formatting; not available until Anaconda formats the actual partitions.


Graphical installation display; active only if you're running the installation program in graphical mode.

The messages on the third and fourth consoles can scroll by quickly; fortunately, they're collected in dedicated files which I'll show you shortly.

Installation bash

You can find a bash shell on the second console. It can help you review what has been installed so far. Check it out for yourself with the CTRL-ALT-F2 command. You'll see the following installation boot prompt during the installation process:


This prompt allows you to run standard bash commands on the system as configured so far. Before Anaconda starts installing packages, you can inspect a number of things at this prompt. The installation files from the CD or network source will be mounted on the /mnt/source directory.

Exam Watch 

While installation proceeds, you'll have a bit of 'dead time.' You can use this time to start configuring your RHEL 3 system. Just press the Ctrl-Alt-F2 command and you'll see a shell. You'll find the standard root directory (/) mounted on the /mnt/sysimage subdirectory during the installation process. You can edit the files of your choice as soon as they're installed.

You can also find a number of interesting files in the /tmp directory; I've described the significant ones in Table 3-2.

Exam Watch 

If you're installing from a Kickstart configuration file, ks.cfg, you may be able to find it in the /tmp directory in the second virtual console during the installation process. It could be helpful to read this file during the Troubleshooting exam.

Table 3-2: The /tmp Directory Contains Configuration Files During the Installation Process

File from installation /tmp



Contains a log of installation messages (from the third console).


If you're installing from a Kickstart configuration file, it's stored in the /tmp directory.


Includes detected hardware that requires a driver module (frequently includes network cards).


Contains IP address information for configured network cards.


Includes a log of kernel messages (from the fourth console).


Contains a temporary X Window configuration file.

Other Consoles

The third console primarily lists detected hardware. If your computer is having problems with something critical, such as the CD drive or network card, you'll see it here.

The fourth console tells you more about detected hardware. However, you may need to be a detective to understand these messages. For example, if you see the following message:

<6>pcnet32: 1 cards_found.

you might not know there's a problem unless you remember that there are two network cards on this computer. On the fifth console, you can see what happens to your partitions; it lists the output of the mke2fs command, which can tell you if there's a problem with your partitions.

While Installing Software

Once Anaconda starts installing software, you'll see the Installing Packages screen, where you can watch as it actually installs Linux on your computer. Once this process starts, press the CTRL-ALT-F2 keys to return to the bash console. Now run the following command:

-/bin/sh-2.05b# cd /mnt/sysimage

You can now browse around the directory tree as it's being built.

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RCHE Red Hat Certified Engineer Linux Study Guide[c] Exam (Rh302)
RCHE Red Hat Certified Engineer Linux Study Guide[c] Exam (Rh302)
ISBN: 71765654
Year: 2003
Pages: 194

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