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  1. #1

    [SOLVED] Problem making installation USB stick, please help


    I'm trying to make a Linux install USB stick, and am having problems
    making the last bit work.

    I have these partitions on a 32GB stick:

    # fdisk -l /dev/sdd
    Disk /dev/sdd: 32.3 GB, 32308723712 bytes
    5 heads, 32 sectors/track, 394393 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 160 * 512 = 81920 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x000d7569
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sdd1   *           1       13108     1048624    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
    /dev/sdd2           13109      394393    30502800    5  Extended
    /dev/sdd5   *       13109       45877     2621504   83  Linux
    /dev/sdd6   *       45878       78646     2621504   83  Linux
    /dev/sdd7   *       78647      117969     3145824   83  Linux
    /dev/sdd8   *      117970      157292     3145824   83  Linux
    /dev/sdd9   *      157293      203168     3670064   83  Linux
    /dev/sdd10  *      203169      262151     4718624   83  Linux
    /dev/sdd11  *      262152      314581     4194384   83  Linux
    /dev/sdd12  *      314582      380118     5242944   83  Linux
    GRUB is installed on partition 1, and I've used UNetBootIn to copy the
    various DVDs from RedHat and CentOS 4.7 and 5.2, 32-bit and 64-bit to
    partitions 5-12.

    This is the head of the GRUB menu.lst I'm using:

    default 0
    timeout 800
    title Red Hat 4.7 32-bit
      root (hd0,4)
      kernel /images/pxeboot/vmlinuz
      append initrd=/images/pxeboot/initrd.img ramdisk_size=8192
    title CentOS 4.7 32-bit
      root (hd0,5)
      kernel /images/pxeboot/vmlinuz
      append initrd=/images/pxeboot/initrd.img ramdisk_size=8192
    title Red Hat 4.7 64-bit
    I get the selections menu to come up, select the first entry to boot from.
    It does the hardware probing thing, then gets to:

    md: ... autorun DONE.
    EXT2-fs: unable to read superblock
    isofs_fill_super: bread failed, dev=md1, iso_blknum=16, block=32
    Kernel panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(9,1)
    So, what bit of magic am I missing, trying to get from a GRUB selection to
    a running installation process?


  2. #2

    Making progress...

    I fixed the menu.lst (grub.conf) file to remove the 'append' from in front of the initrd.
    Now it reads:

    default 0
    timeout 800
    serial --unit=0 --speed=9600 --word=8 --parity=no --stop=1
    terminal serial console
    title Red Hat 4.7 32-bit
      root (hd0,4)
      kernel /images/pxeboot/vmlinuz console=tty0 console=ttyS0,9600n8 debug
      append ramdisk_size=8192
    title CentOS 4.7 32-bit
      root (hd0,5)
      kernel /images/pxeboot/vmlinuz
      append ramdisk_size=8192
    It boots into the installer, then asks for an installation medium. If I select a partition with CD images (not a DVD image, nor a filesystem from CD/DVD), it'll start the installation process.

    What I want is when the installer first runs, it automatically goes into the installation process without need to select a partition. (It's hard to know which installation is on /dev/sda7, for example). Order of preference for the contents of the partition is: filesystem, DVD, CD. I can do a custom job on any of those, but they're listed in order of easiest to hardest to work with.

    How do I get from here to there?


  3. #3

    Question Almost there...

    Well, it seems this topic must be too advanced for people on this forum; there's been a number of views of my posts but no suggestions (I add to this post so that in the future it may be of use to somebody so they don't have to do as much searching and experimenting as I have). But I forge on anyway...

    I have found a way to get almost to where I want: run kickstart to get some basic values entered (most importantly, where to find the installation. The head of menu.lst:

    default 0
    timeout 800
    serial --unit=0 --speed=9600 --word=8 --parity=no --stop=1
    terminal serial console
    title Red Hat 4.7 32-bit
      root (hd0,4)
      kernel /images/pxeboot/vmlinuz console=tty0 console=ttyS0,9600n8 debug ramdisk_size=8192 ks=hd:sda5/ks.cfg
    The partition holding the installation media still must hold CD ISOs, not a DVD nor an extracted filesystem.

    The kickstart file looks like this:

    #platform=x86, AMD64, or Intel EM64T
    # System authorization information
    auth  --useshadow 
    # System bootloader configuration
    bootloader --location=mbr
    # Partition clearing information
    clearpart --none
    # Use graphical install
    # Firewall configuration
    firewall --disabled
    # Run the Setup Agent on first boot
    firstboot --enable
    # Use interactive kickstart installation method
    # System keyboard
    keyboard us
    # System language
    lang en_US
    # Use hard drive installation media
    harddrive --dir=/ --partition=sda5
    #Root password
    rootpw --iscrypted $1$w3dHrrx8$f8JDUlzD8Xgg8wPyQEs2.1
    # SELinux configuration
    selinux --disabled
    # System timezone
    timezone  America/Los_Angeles
    # Install OS instead of upgrade
    # X Window System configuration information
    xconfig  --defaultdesktop=GNOME --depth=8 --resolution=800x600 --startxonboot
    # Probe for devices?
    # Disk partitioning information
    part swap --asprimary --bytes-per-inode=4096 --fstype="swap" --size=4096
    part / --asprimary --bytes-per-inode=4096 --fstype="ext3" --grow --size=1
    The "interactive" keyword allows to step through the installation as one normally would, and change things on the way. Of course, this is the way I want things, others will probably want something different. The only important part here is the "hard drive installation media."

    So, it actually gets into the installation, but then fails because it cannot find a hard disk to install onto. I see in the debug log that it is probing the IDE interfaces, but it doesn't list any devices. There should be a CDROM and a hard disk.

    If anyone has any ideas on how to get past this one last hurdle, I'd appreciate hearing them.


  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4


    As it turns out, the machine I was testing on doesn't seem to like RedHat or CentOS 4.7, it won't even recognize the CD drive after the initial installer boot. (Testing from a CD install to see if it would recognize the HD that way.) It does work OK with RedHat/CentOS 5.2, and my install stick does what it is supposed to.

    I would say my mission is complete, and there's enough info in the above posts that a knowledgeable person would be able to build their own USB install stick. (Note that this is not intended to be a tutorial for newbies, nor do I intend to write one, but if someone wants to take the information above and run with it, be my guest. (If someone does, it would be nice if I were given some props for having figured this out -- Steve Allen, wormey at gmail dot com.))

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