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Step 2: Starting a SUSE 10 Installation

Inside your SUSE box you should find the SUSE manuals (which are considered among the best Linux manuals available) and the media case.

The media case contains five CDs and two double-sided DVDs. One of the installation DVDs is installable, while the other contains the SUSE Linux source code. The installable DVD has two sides, one used to install SUSE on standard Pentium-class PCs, and the other containing an installable version of SUSE Linux for 64-bit systems. Each side of the DVDs is labeled in extremely fine print around the center ring of the DVD. Depending on the hardware in your computer system, installing from DVD is the least time-consuming installation method.

Insert the first CD or the bootable DVD in your system's optical drive. If you are booting from DVD, make sure that the side that you want to boot from is facing up in your DVD drive.

Next, enable booting from the optical media drive on your computer to start the installation routine. During the bootup routine, you need to enter the BIOS and set the order in which your system will probe attached devices looking for bootable media. You can enter your system's BIOS setup routines by pressing a special key when booting the machine. Typically, this is the F2, Delete, or F1 key—check your system's boot screen for BIOS Setup instructions, which are usually displayed at the bottom of the screen. When you've entered the BIOS setup screens, different BIOS have different ways of configuring your system's boot sequence. You may find the options you are looking for under Startup Items, Boot Options, or under your Advanced settings. Make sure that your CD or DVD drive is probed before your floppy disk, hard drives, or network. Once set, save the new settings, and your machine will reboot.

At this point, your system should boot from the first SUSE CD or the DVD, and you will see the welcome screen.

Selecting boot options

When the boot splash screen has finished, you will be asked to select how you want to install SUSE, as well as some other helpful options for booting your system.

The boot menu offers more than just installation options, although the most common selection is the standard Installation item. We discuss the other six options in detail because at some point in the life of a SUSE user you will likely need to use the others.

  • Boot from hard disk: This is the default setting if you do not interact with the boot sequence. It's the default because your system automatically reboots as part of the installation process to load the kernel that is installed on your hard drive during the initial phases of the installation process. If you forget to remove the installation media, the system will still boot off the hard disk and the install routine can continue.

  • Installation: This is the standard option that most users should select. It will boot from the CD and start the install routine (YaST). We discuss the rest of the process in the remainder of this chapter.

  • Installation -- ACPI Disabled: Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) is a feature of most new processors that controls power management and the way interrupts are handled by the system hardware. You should select this option if you encounter problems during the installation process, such as if your computer system goes to sleep (blanks the screen and powers down the drives) and if pressing the appropriate keystroke does not wake it up again.

  • Installation -- Safe Settings: As with the ACPI Disabled installation method, this turns off some of the features of the kernel that can cause problems with buggy or old system hardware. You should select this option if you encounter problems during installation, and they do not seem related to power management.

  • Rescue System: The Rescue System enables you to correct system problems, such as disk corruption or lost passwords, by booting from the installation media and subsequently correcting system problems. The Rescue System is quite a feature-rich system that you can use to load and edit filesystems, as well as change the settings of an installed system.

  • Memory Test: SUSE has been very kind and integrated a memory test suite in the system boot menu. The memory test will run long and exhaustive tests on your system's memory and warn you of any anomalies that it encounters on the way. We have used this a few times with systems that don't quite seem to be running as we expect, and it has been able to tell us that a DIMM (Dual In-Line Memory Module) has indeed failed.

    In this chapter, we select the standard Installation option in the boot menu.

    So far, the system has booted a minimal Linux kernel that is sufficient to run the installation process and execute the SUSE installer and the various utilities that it uses to probe and configure your system. SUSE's YaST installer now begins to collect information that it will use to configure your system to match your personal and hardware requirements.

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