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Troubleshooting SLES Installation Problems

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Kirk Coombs

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Posted: 26 Sep 2005

Applies to:

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9

The Problem

Most SLES installations go without a hitch. There are, however, the unfortunate cases when the install does not go smoothly. When this happens, it is essential to be able to drill down to the cause of the problem. This tip introduces the most common places to look for logs that may be helpful.

YaST2 Logs

YaST2, the program used to install SLES, keeps extensive logs. They will probably be the most useful tool in troubleshooting installation problems. To access the logs, go to a root console by pressing <CTRL>+<ALT>+<F2>.  The logs are in the directory /var/log/YaST2/. To return to the installer, press <CTRL>+<ALT>+<F7> if using the graphical installer or <CTRL>+<ALT>+<F1> if using the text installer.

It is usually useful to copy the YaST2 logs to an external location, such as a USB drive, floppy disk, or network share. To do so, go to the root console by pressing <CTRL>+<ALT>+<F2> and mount the external device to /mnt. Then, copy the logs to the device. For example:

# mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
# tar cvfz /mnt/yast_logs.tar.gz /var/log/YaST2/

If SLES 9 SP1 or greater is being installed, this process is slightly easier. First, mount the external device, then return to the graphical terminal by pressing <CTRL>+<ALT>+<F7>. Now, the logs can be saved by pressing <SHIFT>+<F8>. Additionally, a screen shot can be saved by pressing <PRINTSCREEN>.

Other Logs

Syslog Output

During the install process, the syslog daemon outputs log messages to /dev/tty4. To access them, press <CTRL>+<ALT>+<F4>. To return, press <CTRL>+<ALT>+<F7> if using the graphical installer or <CTRL>+<ALT>+<F1> if using the text installer.

Kernel Ring Buffer

The kernel keeps a record of any log messages it generates. These are access through the dmesg command. To run dmesg press <CTRL>+<ALT>+<F2> to reach a root console, then enter:

# dmesg | less

Use Page Up and Page Down to navigate the messages.

The dmesg output can be saved to the external device by entering:

# dmesg > /mnt/dmesg.txt

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