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Install PIAF from USB Flash Drive

Discussion in 'Add-On Install Instructions' started by bmore, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. bmore Guru

    What type of hard drive(s) do you have in the system (ide/sata)? Which option did you select during install? Did it pause during install, if so where? Looks like the grub bootloader may be expecting the boot partition to be on the flash drive.

  2. bmore Guru

    Hmmm. Ward I think there was an error in the creation of the new iso. I used Unetbootin to create the flash from the new iso and all my ks*.cfg and syslinux.cfg files were 0 byte length. There may have been a problem when you inserted those files into the image.

  3. ou812 Guru

    I tried both Default text mode and Auto.
    It paused in the correct places, time zone, keyboard type, password,etc all of the usual places, one time it asked for location of files which I picked the usb drive and directory CentOS. on both installs it loaded the packages and at the end does a system reboot as normal.
    As for the hard drive I cant remember I think ide I will look tomorrow when back at work.

    Thanks, Gary
  4. bmore Guru

    Let me know your hard drive configuration (ide/sata etc). If possible I would also like to know how Centos detects the drives, and order hda, sda etc. This type of problem can occur when it believes the flash drive is the boot drive. This causes the bootloader to screw up the OS load. If you are Linux knowledgeable you could select rescue mode when booting and peek around. Let me know the drive info though.
  5. wardmundy Nerd Uno

    Ooops. Sorry. Glitch in the upload. New upload should be in place in about 40 minutes.

    MD5: 5eb04ff725e987f543acb13ed934b878
  6. wardmundy Nerd Uno

    Not sure what came unglued to cause the 0-byte files. But the new version on SourceForge is fine. There's one ugly screen display (underneath the progress display) when the CentOS package install begins but, aside from that little quirk, the install is just like booting from a CD.
  7. bmore Guru

    It appears that Anaconda displays the progress bar without clearing the screen first... It was not always there in my various testing/changing but I am not why it is there now. Previously, whenever it had an error it did that before aborting.
  8. ou812 Guru


    my Hard drive is ide so is the cd rom.
    looks like the boot loader must be on the usb I let it boot and it is now loading the PIAF gold payload, I let it go ahead just to see if it put everything on the usb who no's maybe I will have PIAF on a stick :crazy: Any way not sure how I can find out the linux drive info, is there a command I can try to run.

  9. bmore Guru

    Thanks. I figured out the bug last nigh and was waiting for you confirm. I will send you a ks.cfg to try. Let me know if it works.

    An aside, Actually as far as Centos is concerned the USB drive is another hard drive... So unless it marked it removable and specifically does not allow installation to removable drives... You could install to the flash :smile5:
  10. bmore Guru


    Try this file and let me know if it works. Unzip it and copy it over the one in the root of the usb drive.

    The bootloader either ended up on the usb drive and or it counts the usb drive so the drive order is wrong and it cannot find the kernel drive.



    Attached Files:

    • ks.zip
      File size:
      1.8 KB
  11. ou812 Guru


    I have the same results, at bootup it displays GRUB.

    I formated 8gig Patriot usb installed PIAF1775-usbonly.
    copied your new ks.cfg and syslinux as I have not downloaded the newer iso yet.
    booted computer picked usb boot and installed started as normal.
    Did - Default text mode install.
    It stoped and asked me were the iso was located, it gave a list /dev/hda1, /dev/hda2, /dev/hda3, /dev/sda1 I picked sda1 and CentOS. Not sure why it showed hda3 I only have 1 ide drive and 1 ide cd.
    Evey thing eles completed as normal.
  12. bmore Guru

    To fix, after logging in as root and removing the usb drive, you could type...
    grub-install hd0

    However I am curious as to why it is doing that.... I will play with a machine configured like yours. Hda1, hda2, hda3 are 3 partitions on the Ide drive (hda). The prior installs did install to the hard drive and it creates 3 partitions.

    It is normal that it will popup to ask on which drive are the files located if you have no sata drives or more than 1... Everything installs fine except the bootloader is factoring in the usb drive, so when it is absent it cannot boot... It should'nt and I need to figure why
  13. wardmundy Nerd Uno

    Lucky for Bobby, we have users with an endless variety of hardware which always makes Linux installs an adventure. :deathb:
  14. cwho New Member


    I can also confirm that your latest ks.cfg did the trick. I have been following this thread since you started and have many things suggested as time allowed! My box is an Intel Atom D945GSEJT board with SATA drive. Fanless and low power. Hope I did not over reach....(hoping to shoehorn an old T400 card into it still.)
  15. bmore Guru

    The joys of scripting :wink5: I will soon have what I think is a more robust solution.
  16. bmore Guru

    Thanks for letting me know... Any comments or suggestions are very welcome.

  17. bmore Guru

    I updated and uploaded a new set of configuration files (attached to the first message). You do not need to change your install flash drive. Ward will host them and the install will automatically pull them.

    The routine should be more robust on a wider array of machines. As usual do let me know if you experience any issues. A side effect is that I got rid of the ugly screen during the progress bar.

  18. bmore Guru

    I thought I would share my discoveries on creating a Pbx in a flash (PBIAX) install from a USB drive... a sort of whitepaper on the process.
    Installing CentOS and PBXIAF from a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM is a significantly simpler process.
    During install the CentOS installation routine and Anaconda install program need to know the following pertinent to our USB install problem:
    1. Location of the installation files; which drive and folder
    2. Location of the Kickstart auto configuration file
    3. Destination of the install; which drive
    4. Drive to boot from
    For an installation from a CD/DVD the installation routine assumes the following:
    1. The installation files are located on the first CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive in directory CenOS.
    2. Kickstart files are in root of CD-ROM drive
    3. Destination install drive is chosen by user or auto set in kickstart
    4. Boot drive is first hard drive found by bios/kernel
    CentOS sees a USB drive as another hard drive (the bios may have set the drive's disk is removable flag). Installation from a USB drive therefore presents the following challenges:
    1. Where are the installation files? It needs to know the particular hard drive and directory. Is it hda, hdb, sda, sdb etc? In the cd case it just assumes the first cd-rom drive. Now the bios and then kernel will assign the usb drive a device name based on factors like the amount and type of drives installed.
    2. The install routine, if set on auto, should not format the install hard drive (the usb drive)
    3. The bootloader should ignore the usb hard drive (flash drive) sice it may not be present at boot time.
    In creating the USB flash drive boot I solve (or attempt to solve) the problems in the following manner:
    1. The kickstart files are hosted by pbxinaflash.net/com (thank Ward). This solves the problem of trying to detect the location on the local hard drives.
    2. Use 2 different methods to attempt to find the device name that the kernel has assigned to the usb drive.
    3. If there are IDE drive(s) found by the kernel, assume the first one is the boot drive. most piaf machines will only have one hard drive ( a 2nd wastes power, if not necessary)
    4. If no IDE drives found assume the first SATA drive is the boot drive.
    5. Tell the bootloader to ignore the device name that we discovered for the usb drive.
    Wow the process seems a lot simpler now than trying to figure it all out the first time. :banghead:
  19. wheaties82 New Member

    Here are the steps that I have followed thus far:

    1. Download PBXIAF iso
    2. Download UNetbootin
    3. Used UNetbootin to install iso onto flash drive (completes with no errors) and prompts to reboot.
    a. Download the ks.1-20 files, extract files to root of flash drive, overwriting existing files.
    4. Safely remove usb drive from windows
    5. Connect usb drive to Acer Aspire One netbook and boot from USB drive.
    6. Press enter at inital boot screen
    7. Choose the "Default text mode install"
    8. Wait for anaconda to initialize
    9. Message prompt comes up "Error downloading kickstart file"

    My netbook does not have network connection as the driver for the NIC isn't supported by default in the kernel. So it obviously cannot download the online kickstart file.

    Have I overlooked something? I have re-read the instructions several times and it appears that the appropriate kickstart file should be located on the root of the flash drive -- I have attempted to tell the installer to look in /dev/sdb1/ks.cfg and it doesn't work. My internal HD is listed as sda so I am pretty confident the flash drive is sdb.

    Any input would be appreciated.
  20. bmore Guru

    Looks like you did do everything right. However if your NIC is not supported by the kernel how are you going to complete the 2nd stage of the piaf install? Piaf will need to download files from the net to complete the install. Essentially without internet access this will not work.

    It is trying to get the ks*.cfg files from the internet and this is why it is failing. You could do this but it will not help you after it reboots to complete the piaf install...

    After you press Enter at the initial warning screen...
    At the blue screen where you select the Default...
    With the selection on default Press TAB...
    Delete the web address, the below line...
    Replace with...
    space before k and space after g

    This should allow you to complete the initial install of CentOS... But as I said, without internet access this will not work. You need the NIC to work.

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