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Installation Solutions and Workarounds

by khaytsus last modified May 29, 2012 11:44 AM
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Sometimes installs don't go perfectly, particularly with graphical installs, but once the system is up and running and updated things are usually fine. This page is intended to get the user installed and up to date then get the system up and running in X and back to normal. This page is written specifically about installing or upgrading using the CD or DVD installers, however some of the information here could very likely be also used for Live media.

The Problem

Sometimes during an install the kernel, X, or video drivers (and potentially other things) could be down level from the latest and greatest. Particularly if you are not installing with the latest respin (see: http://spins.fedoraunity.org/) you may encounter some problems during the install process. Most often those problems can be worked around by using the latest respin, or some tweaks when executing the install. During all of these trials, please try to remember what you had to do in order to get the system to install. Once you have things figured out, please consider writing a bug report so that the problem can be fixed and other people may find your solution. Bugs can be filed at the Red Hat Bugzilla

Applicable to Fedora Versions

  • Fedora 16+

First steps to perform before any install or upgrade

Read the Release Notes

Always read the latest release notes as they will contain the latest information on problems or workaround specific to the current Fedora release.

Read the Common Bugs Page

In the Other Install Tips section, there is a link to the Common Bugs page at Fedora Project.  Please check there first to see if any problems you might be experiencing are documented there.  Often there are workarounds for such known problems.

Perform the Media Check on your media

When asked during the install please perform the Media Check to check your install disk(s) the first time you perform the install. There is no need to run the check each install as long as they pass, so once you have verified them you can skip them after that.

Other things to read before performing the install

Also, you might check out the Other Install Tips section before starting your install.

Once you've read and checked your media and you're still having trouble, please read on and try some of the following steps.

The installer doesn't seem to boot at all

First make sure that your optical drive is set to boot the disk. If you are booting your normal OS rather than the optical drive, the problem is likely that the system is not set to boot from the CD/DVD. This can be done from the BIOS options or by look for a Boot Menu option during your computers startup. If you don't see any of these sort of options, you might read your BIOS/Motherboard/Laptop manual, try hitting ESC, F2, F12, etc.. Google can sometimes help here as well to find the specific keys for your system.

If it appears to boot from the install media but it does not show you any sort of GUI or Text, errors, or other things, you might have a bad burn. If you did not already, please check the checksum of the files that you downloaded (http://fedoraproject.org/en/verify) and perhaps try burning your media at a slower speed.

Live CD does not boot, gives sr0 or IO errors

This in most cases is the result of an incorrect mode used to burn the image to the CD.  Live CDs must be burned using Disk at Once or Session at Once, sometimes labeled DAO or SAO.  Track At Once, or TAO, is often a default and will not work for a Live CD.

The CD will boot to the initial graphical splash screen which has a Fedora logo and counts down from 60s, but when this screen (called isolinux) attempts to bootstrap the kernel it won't be able to properly read the disk.  Often this results in IO errors or errors reading sr0.  Buffer I/O error on device sr0,logical block <somenum> accompanied by an error: Warning: cannot find root file system! Exiting to shell. To continue you will need to create a symlink to /dev/root

In most cases re-burning the disk and ensuring that Disk at Once or Session at Once are the burn method used.

Can't see the Installer buttons

In Fedora 17, the VESA driver was updated to support a wide dynamic range of video resolution sizes, but the Anaconda installer does not appear to behave well in the case of oddball resolutions.  If you're installing and you find that you can see the install, but not the buttons to proceed through the install on the bottom of the screen, you may need to force a 1024x768 or 800x600 resolution.  This is particularly likely to happen using a virtual machine, such as VMware.

Lockups during install

Sometimes the system freezes due to ACPI, unknown hardware, etc. Often it can be not probed or ignored to complete the install then we get the system updated and all is fine after.

If you're experiencing a very slow beginning of the install process, complete freezing during the install, or the install never seems to start beyond the initial GUI or Text "Welcome" screen where you're offered the options of Install, Rescue, Memory Test, etc, then you might try some of the options on this page

Please read the information the URL above carefully if this section applies to you. How you actually apply some of the information in the article is by modifying the install options after booting the CD. When you boot, you'll get a GUI or Text screen of which the first option is Install or Upgrade. You'll want to make sure this option is highlighted, then hit the Tab key. Once you have done this, you'll see the actual line used to boot the installer. You can add to or modify this line per instructions in the CommonProblems link above to help the install process.

Some typical kernel options which help some various things are listed below. Please read the link above, but some or all of the below are some of the most-used kernel option workarounds

  • noacpi
  • acpi=off
  • noapm
  • nodma

No GUI Install or X Freezes during install

If all else fails with installing in the GUI mode, you can most likely perform a text mode install. This will avoid any conflicts or problems due to kernel, X, or X drivers in relation to video problems and allow you to install the system, get up to date, and then switch back to a GUI once you're finished.

Try disabling kernel mode settings

Somewhat new to Fedora (introduced in F10) are Kernel Mode settings, or KMS.  KMS is supported on most Intel, ATI, and NVidia chipsets.  Even to this day it's still a work in process, so what ships on the install media might not be compatible or understand your hardware. The first step to trying to eliminate a GUI-related problem is to disable this new functionality temporarily.

At the Welcome screen after booting from your install media, make sure that the line saying Install or Upgrade is highlighted and press the Tab key. The line will likely look something like this:

vmlinuz initrd=initrd.img

What you want to do is add nomodeset to this, so it looks like this:

vmlinuz initrd=initrd.img nomodeset

Try the install now. If this eliminates your problems, please finish the install, get your system updated, then make sure to review the section at the bottom of this article titled If you had to add kernel options to install to make sure that any modifications we had to make during the install process get removed from the system. We don't want to run the system normally with workarounds if at all possible.  Please note that on modern video chipsets this may not help at all or make things worse.

Try the Vesa video driver

You can pick the option which is labelled Install system with basic video driver, which should hopefully eliminate any video-specific issues with your video card.

For older releases, you can do the following.  At the Welcome screen after booting from your install media, make sure that the line saying Install or Upgrade is highlighted and press the Tab key. The line will likely look something like this:

vmlinuz initrd=initrd.img

What you want to do is add xdriver=vesa to this, so it looks like this:

vmlinuz initrd=initrd.img xdriver=vesa

Now try the install again. If this still does not workaround the problem for you, it's time to try a text mode install.

Try performing a Text install

Assuming disabling kernel mode settings and trying the Vesa driver did not work, the next thing to try is a Text Mode install.

The text install is a very minimal installer and you will have to install some number of packages to get a full system installed.  Most likely involves groupadding a few groups post-install.  When possible, that information will be added to this guide.  For now, it is advised you try the Basic Video Driver, and save the text install as a last resort.

As you did previously, edit the installer line and this time add text 

to the line, so it looks like this:

vmlinuz initrd=initrd.img text

The install process is very similar to the GUI process, except it uses the keyboard to go through the install. There will be some items which may be deferred until after we're able to boot into GUI mode, but don't worry about that for right now.

When the installation completes, you'll have a very minimalistic text-mode install.  You'll need to go online by configuring the Network service or manually running dhclient.  The following command should install most of the default packages on a system.  Substitute @gnome-desktop for your preferred desktop environment, such as @xfce-desktop.

yum install @base-x @base @core @fonts @input-methods @admin-tools @dial-up @hardware-support @printing fpaste memtest86+ @gnome-desktop;

Other Problems during install

Here's a list of other problems which seem to happen to a number of people, but probably not the typical issues that most users will see.

Software Raid detected incorrectly

Some systems are seen by the kernel as being Software Raid and therefore map the drives on the controller as one /dev/mapper device which might not be desired. If this problem seems to be happening to you, the nodmraid, nomdraid or nompath kernel option may help. For Intel based chipsets, you may also try the noiswmd parameter.  See this section for how to boot with this option. If you do need this option, it's likely that you need it to remain in your grub config, so keep that in mind if you follow this entire guide when it comes to removing any options during install.

Software Raid NOT detected

A bit of an opposite problem from the above is that some systems which had fakeraid already configured and in use from previous installs were not detected by the Fedora installer.  There is more information on this and a workaround in the following Bugzilla URL (particularly comment 25):


And the following bugs are related and might have additional useful information:

Other Problems post-install

System won't boot completely after install

This could be due to SElinux, the easiest way to check this is simply to have SElinux relabel the filesystem.  This shouldn't take long if you have had SElinux installed in the past, but if you have not, it could take a while so be prepared.  On a fresh F10 install to F11 Preview install this problem occurred, and the following solution only took about 15s to finish.

Symptoms of this are that X does not come up, HAL (messagebus/dbus) does not start, avahi does not start (due to HAL), and just a blank screen with a cursor.  If you hit the Esc key during the boot process (graphical or text) you can see if these services fail, if so, try the following.

  1. Boot the system, X might not come up
  2. Alt-F2 to get to a console, login as root
  3. Run the following:  /sbin/fixfiles onboot; reboot

You may optionally boot to init 1 then run fixfiles, whichever is easier.

Get your system up to date

Once you've gotten the system installed, be it via kernel options, vesa mode, or text install, boot up, login, get root privileges and perform a yum update. Depending upon the age of the install this might download a handful or many packages, so don't expect it to be finished immediately. It could take 10 minutes on a fast line or could take hours if you're on dialup. It's essential, so just let it update. It's always worth it to reboot and run yum update again after the update process is finished to ensure that all updates have been installed and applied.

Verify X will run on the updated system

Once you've gotten the system updated, login and run startx to see if X will start for you. What should happen is the Gnome desktop should come up. If all seems well, it's time to update the system so it boots into GUI mode.

Yay! I got installed and I can get into X with startx

Great! The thing to do now is to update a file on the system so that you can boot into GUI mode from now on. The instructions on how to do this are here:

Look for the instructions on how to update your default runlevel.

If you had to add kernel options to install

Make sure that you verify your /etc/grub/grub.conf no longer contain these workarounds! If they do, try rebooting and editing the line at the Grub prompt and removing them and verifying you can get into the system and everything is okay. To do this, refer to the same URL as above, How to Change Runlevels and look at the section on how to change your runlevel at boot time. However, what we're specifically looking for here is to edit out any options you added during the install process, such as xdriver=vesa, noacpi, etc. Remove any such items so that your kernel line looks similar to the following:

kernel /boot/vmlinuz-version ro root=somelongstring rhgb quiet

Now try to boot the kernel without your workarounds. If everything seems fine, we'll want to remove them from the Grub config so that they are no longer used by default. As root, edit the following file:

/boot/grub/grub.conf

And look for the kernel lines with your workarounds at the end of the lines. Carefully remove the workarounds and save the file.

Help! I just can't get it to install or get a GUI post-install

If none of this is helping, you'll want to check your logs and see if anything stands out that you can google for. Look at /var/log/messages, /var/log/Xorg.0.log, perhaps others and google for obvious errors.

We test this stuff on our own machines, really we do. But you may run into problems, if you do, come to #fedora on irc.freenode.net

Other Install Tips

Want to make sure your system is clean from orphans, old packages, etc?

 

Want to install extra non-Fedora packages during your install? No problem!


Fedora Project's FAQ


Fedora Project's Common Bugs page for F16 and F17


Trouble with Networking post-install?  Maybe you're not online due to a change in the default behaviour since F11

More Information

Now that you have everything installed, be sure to check out the following sections, and of course feel free to browse the whole website for other great bits of information on how to get the most out of your Fedora installation!

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