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Kickstart for RHEL6 Cheatsheet

For RHEL 7 see 27.3. Kickstart Syntax Reference Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 - Red Hat Customer Portal

For RHEL 8/CentOs8 Kickstart commands and options reference -- CentOS Docs Site

Create a new entry in /etc/grub.conf to pass Anaconda's command line options from GRUB. The following table describes some of the Anaconda command line options:

lowres Force GUI installer to run at 640x480.
vnc Enable VNC-based installation. You will need to connect to the machine using a VNC client application.
vncpassword=<password> Enable a password for the VNC connection. This will prevent someone from inadvertantly connecting to the VNC-based installation. Requires 'vnc' option to be specified as well.
vncconnect=<hostip>[:<port>] Once installation is up and running, connect to the VNC client on  <hostip> address (you can also use DNS if you are DHCP segment), and optionally use port <port>. Requires 'vnc' option to be specified as well.
ks=cdrom: Kickstart from CDROM
ks=nfs:<path> Kickstart from NFS.
ks=<url> Kickstart via HTTP.
ks=hd:<dev> Kickstart via harddrive (dev = 'hda1', for example)
ks=file:<path> Kickstart from a file (path = 'fd0/ks.cfg')
ks=ftp://<path> Kickstart from FTP.
ks=http://<path> Kickstart from HTTP.
lang=<lang> Language to use for the installation. This should be a language which is valid to be used with the 'lang' kickstart command.
keymap=<keymap> Keyboard layout to use. Valid values are those which can be used for the 'keyboard' kickstart command.
ip=<ip> IP to use for a network installation, use 'dhcp' for DHCP.
netmask=<nm> Netmask to use for a network installation.
gateway=<gw> Gateway to use for a network installation.
dns=<dns> Comma separated list of nameservers to use for a network installation.
method=nfs:<path> Use <path> for an NFS installation.
method=http://<path> Use <path> for an HTTP installation
method=ftp://<path> Use <path> for an FTP installation
method=hd://<dev>/<path> Use <path> on for a hard drive installation
method=cdrom Do a CDROM based installation.

The first step is to copy the initrd.img (RAM disk) and vmlinuz (kernel) files from the installation source (isolinux directory) to the /boot directory of the target remote server. You will need to be root to do this. You can find the isolinux directory in the root directory of the first Fedora CD.

You may need to mount the .iso to get to these files.

Config file

You can also pre-set those parameters in config file:

title Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS (2.6.9-5.ELsmp)
        root (hd0,0)
        kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.9-5.ELsmp ro root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00
        initrd /initrd-2.6.9-5.ELsmp.img
title Remote Install
        root (hd0,0)
        kernel /vmlinuz_remote lang=en_US keymap=us method=http://<your_domain>/<path_to_tree>/i386/tree vnc vncconnect=<observing ip> ip=dhcp
        initrd /initrd_remote.img

We can reduce the amount of Anaconda options passed when performing a remote kickstart since most of the information Anaconda needs is already in the kickstart configuration:

title Remote Install
        root (hd0,0)
        kernel /vmlinuz_remote ks=http://<domain>/<path_to_file>/<kickstart_config> vnc vncconnect=<observing_ip> 
        initrd /initrd_remote.img

Barebone demo remote kickstart configuration for RHEL6

# Barebones demo remote kickstart configuration

network --bootproto dhcp
url --url http://<domain>/<path_to_file>/i386/tree
lang en_US
langsupport --default en_US en_US
keyboard us
mouse none
zerombr yes
clearpart --all
part pv.01 --size=1000 --grow
part /boot --fstype=ext3 --size=200
part swap --size=1000   --maxsize=2000
volgroup myvg pv.01
logvol / --vgname=myvg --name=rootvol --size=1000 --grow
bootloader --location mbr
timezone America/New_York
auth --enablemd5 --enableshadow
rootpw --iscrypted <encryptedpasswdstring>
selinux --permissive
firewall --enabled --http --ssh --smtp

%packages --resolvedeps

@ Base


echo << /etc/motd
echo "Remote kickstart on $(date +'%Y-%m-%d')" << /etc/motd
echo << /etc/motd

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux System Administration Guide contains an in-depth discussion of kickstart. You can insert the root password in a kickstart file as clear text or you can specify an encrypted password. To use an unencrypted password in the kickstart configuration file, use the rootpw keyword, followed by the clear text password:
rootpw mypasswd
If you would rather use an encrypted password, use grub-md5-crypt or the openssl passwd module to generate MD5-hashed passwords. For example, to generate an encrypted password using openssl enter the following,
openssl passwd -1 -salt "shaker" "your_password"
Entries in the /etc/shadow file also contain MD5-hashed passwords. Now add the --iscrypted option and encrypted password to the kickstart file as follows:
rootpw --iscrypted encryptedpasswdstring

Save the new grub.conf file without restarting the remote server. GRUB offers a safety precaution that we will take advantage of in the next section.


GRUB boots one or more entries when a default boot entry fails. Usually the fallback entries are kernel entries that the system expects will boot successfully in case we boot to a kernel that does not agree with the system. For a remote install, GRUB only needs to set the default entry and boot to it once.

Rather then modifying the grub.conf file, save the default entry with the GRUB command line tool and then boot to it. As root, enter the command 'grub' from the command line. This will load a bash-like grub tool. GRUB entries are indexed from 0. If the remote install is the second entry in grub.conf, then enter the following commands:

grub> savedefault --default=1 --once

grub> quit

GRUB will now only boot to the remote install entry one time.

grub> help savedefault
savedefault: savedefault [--stage2=STAGE2_FILE] [--default=DEFAULT] [--once]
   Save DEFAULT as the default boot entry in STAGE2_FILE. If
   '--once' is specified, the default is reset after the next reboot.

So when we save the default grub entry to boot to, the --once flag will reset the default after the next reboot. This helps if the boot was not successful so we can go back to a known good boot entry.

Resist the temptation to use GRUB's fallback mechanism as a substitute for testing your install. It's always a good idea to test your remote install in an environment where you are physically present. Your remote install could be waiting for an answer needed for the second stage that will never be provided if you have a misspelled or missing argument. Debugging these types of errors is much easier in a physically available testing environment.

Hacking Red Hat Kickstart

Listing 2. Modified syslinux.cfg File

default ks
prompt 1
timeout 60
display custom.msg
F1 boot.msg
F2 options.msg
F3 general.msg
F4 param.msg
F5 rescue.msg
F7 custom.msg
label linux
  kernel vmlinuz
  append initrd=initrd.img lang= devfs=nomount \
label text
  kernel vmlinuz
  append initrd=initrd.img lang= text devfs=nomount \
label expert
  kernel vmlinuz
  append expert initrd=initrd.img lang= \
    devfs=nomount ramdisk_size=9216
label ks
  kernel vmlinuz
  append text ks=cdrom:/ks.cfg initrd=initrd.img \
    lang= devfs=nomount ramdisk_size=9216
label nofb
  kernel vmlinuz
  append initrd=initrd.img lang= devfs=nomount \
    nofb ramdisk_size=9216
label lowres
  kernel vmlinuz
  append initrd=initrd.img lang= lowres \
    devfs=nomount ramdisk_size=9216



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