Quick-start-guide EN

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[edit] About

This Quick start Guide gives you all the important things you need to know to use SystemRescueCd. This is what you need if it is the first time you use this livecd. If you want more information please read the Online Manual.

[edit] Download and burning

First you have to download the ISO file that is made for your architecture. Most people need the x86 edition that supports both 32bits (IA32) and 64bits (AMD64 / EM64T) processors. The SPARC edition is also available if you have an hardware based on the Sun architecture. Once you have downloaded the ISO image file, you can check it is not corrupt using md5sum. And now you must burn the file. It's important to burn the CDRom using the ISO file as a CD image (click "Burn Image" in Nero, or use cdrecord under Linux) and not to just copy the ISO file on the disc. If necessary you should read the following chapter to have more details about Downloading and burning.

[edit] Booting from SystemRescueCd

First you should go in the BIOS settings of you computer (usually by pressing DEL of F2 when your reboot) to check that it boots from the CD drive (the CDRom drive must have the priority over the other boot devices, especially the Hard disk). If you successfully boot on SystemRescueCd you should see the first screen with SystemRescueCd written in ASCII art. You have to type the boot command, or you can press Enter if you just want to boot with the default options. You should press F2/F3/F4/F5/F6 to read advanced boot instruction in case you need it.

The boot command is easy to understand. There are just two parts in the boot command: "<boot-image> <boot-options>". For example if you want to boot with rescue64 as boot-image and docache setkmap=uk as boot-options, just type rescue64 docache setkmap=uk. Never use commas between the options, just use spaces. If you need options that are not listed in the following sections please read the chapter that explains everything about Booting the CD-ROM

[edit] Main boot images

There are four main boot images with SystemRescueCd-1.0.0 and newer.

The differences are detailed in the kernel page

  • rescuecd This is the default choice for 32bit systems, with Framebuffer disabled, best choice.
  • altker32 This is an alternative kernel for 32bit systems. Boot with this kernel in case you have problems with rescuecd. altker32 was named vmlinuz2 in versions prior to SystemRescueCd-1.0.0.
  • rescue64 This is the default 64 bit kernel. Use it if you want to chroot to a 64bit linux system installed on your hard disk, or if you have to run 64 bit programs. This kernel is able to boot SystemRescueCd from the cdrom with 32bit programs, and it required a processor with 64bit instructions (amd64 / em64t).
  • altker64 This is an alternative kernel for 64bit systems. Boot with this kernel in case you have problems with rescue64. Only available from SystemRescueCd-1.0.0 and newer.
  • You can also type the name of a floppy disk image. Press F2 to display the list of the floppy disk images available. For instance memtest is a very useful program to know whether or not the memory of your computer is damaged, and ntpass allows you to change the password of any windows user accounts in case you forgot it. It works for all the users including the administrator account.

[edit] Main boot options

Here are the most important boot options:

  • docache: with that option the system will copy all the files it needs to the RAM of your computer. Once the files are cached into memory, you can eject the disc from the drive and continue using the livecd. It allows you to insert another disc in the drive, and the system is running faster. That option requires at least 256MB of memory.
  • setkmap=xx: usually the systems ask you which kind of keyboard you have during the boot process. If you enter this option there will be no question to answer during the boot. Replace 'xx' with the keyboard you have: 'us' for USA, 'uk' for british, 'de' for german, ...
  • root=xxx: the root=<device> option lets you boot an existing linux system. For example, if you have a linux gentoo installed on /dev/sda6, you can type rescuecd root=/dev/sda6 and Gentoo Linux will be started instead of the system that is on the CD-ROM. Keep in mind that you must use a 64bits kernel if your system is made of 64bits programs. For instance, you can boot a 64bits linux system installed on /dev/sda6 with rescue64 root=/dev/sda6. From SystemRescueCd-1.0.4, this option works with LVM disks, so you can write something like rescuecd root=/dev/VolGroup00/LogVol00. SystemRescueCd-1.0.4 and newer versions also support root=auto, that will scan all the block devices of the computer to find a linux system. The first linux system found on the disks will be started. So with root=auto let you start the system installed from the CD-ROM in case you have problem with your boot loader or with your kernel for instance. You can have more details about that option.
  • ide=nodma or all-generic-ide: use these options if there is a problem related to the hard disk, for instance if the kernel boot process hangs on a driver related to the storage.
  • doxdetect or forcevesa: use these options if you cannot get the graphical environment to work when you type startx in the shell prompt.
  • acpi-off / noapic / irqpool: use these options if you have any problem when the kernel boots: if it hangs on a driver or if it crashes, ...

For more details, you can read the following chapter: Booting the CD-ROM (kernels and boot options)

[edit] Working in the console mode

You can use a lot of programs in the console mode. In the console mode you can mount partitions of your disks, in order to troubleshoot a Linux or a Windows operating system installed on your disk. To troubleshoot Linux, you can mount any linux filesystem (ext2fs, ext3fs, reiserfs, reiser4, jfs, xfs) and SystemRescueCd is also able to mount FAT or NTFS disk used by Windows. If you want to mount your windows disk use ntfs-3g (eg: ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /mnt/windows). This way you can backup/restore your data or your operating system.

If you don't know the linux commands, you should run Midnight Commander (just type mc at the prompt). It's able to copy/move/delete/edit files and directories. The well known vim and qemacs editors can be used if you have to edit files. There are so many things you can do that we can't explain everything. You should read the list of the main system tools you can use and read the specific documentation related to these programs.

You can work in six different virtual consoles. It allows you to use six "screens" in the same time. Just press Alt+F1 for the first virtual console, Alt+F2 for the second one, ...

[edit] Working in the graphical environment

If you need graphical tools (such as GParted) you will have to enter in the graphical environment. Check you are using SystemRescueCd-1.1.0 or newer, and just type wizard in the console. You will have the choice between two graphical environments: Xorg and Xvesa. You should try Xorg first. If Xorg fails to start, run wizard again and choose Xvesa. Xvesa should always work, but the drawback is it's not optimized for your hardware. You must use a 32bits kernel (either rescuecd or altker32) in order to use Xvesa. In other words Xvesa does not work on 64bits kernels (rescue64 and altker64).

The graphical environment allows you to work with GParted (Partition Magic clone), to use graphical editors (Geany or GVim), to browse the web with Firefox2 and even to use terminals like xfce-terminal or mrxvt.

[edit] Setting up your network

With SystemRescueCd you can use the network. It's useful in case you want to make a backup over the network, download some files, work remotely using ssh, telnet or access files that are shared on a Unix server (with NFS) or on a Windows machine (with Samba).

The most convenient way to configure your network is to type net-setup in a shell prompt. You can also use the following command lines to configure a network interface by hand:

If you have standard hardware, your network card will be auto-detected, and the driver loaded. You will have to configure your IP address. If you use dynamic configuration, you should type dhcpcd eth0. If you want to give a static IP address, just type ifconfig eth0 Once your IP address is set, you should make sure the default route is configured properly. For example, if your computer has a network card (address that is connected to a gateway ( which shares its internet connection, you can type this: route add default gw

If you need more information about it you should read the chapter about the network.

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