Installing Using Anaconda

This chapter provides step-by-step instructions for installing Fedora using the Anaconda installer. The bulk of this chapter describes installation using the graphical user interface. A text mode is also available for systems with no graphical display, but this mode is limited in certain aspects (for example, custom partitioning is not possible in text mode).

If your system does not have the ability to use the graphical mode, you can:

  • Use Kickstart to automate the installation as described in Automating the Installation with Kickstart

  • Perform the graphical installation remotely by connecting to the installation system from another computer with a graphical display using the VNC (Virtual Network Computing) protocol - see Installing Using VNC

Introduction to Anaconda

The Fedora installer, Anaconda, is different from most other operating system installation programs due to its parallel nature. Most installers follow a fixed path: you must choose your language first, then you configure network, then installation type, then partitioning, etc. There is usually only one way to proceed at any given time.

In Anaconda you are only required to select your language and locale first, and then you are presented with a central screen, where you can configure most aspects of the installation in any order you like. This does not apply to all parts of the installation process, however - for example, when installing from a network location, you must configure the network before you can select which packages to install.

Some screens will be automatically configured depending on your hardware and the type of media you used to start the installation. You can still change the detected settings in any screen. Screens which have not been automatically configured, and therefore require your attention before you begin the installation, are marked by an exclamation mark. You can not start the actual installation process before you finish configuring these settings.

Additional differences appear in certain screens; notably the custom partitioning process is very different from other Linux distributions. These differences are described in each screen’s subsection.

Consoles and Logging During the Installation

The following sections describe how to access logs and an interactive shell during the installation. This is useful when troubleshooting problems, but should not be necessary in most cases.

Accessing Consoles

The Fedora installer uses the tmux terminal multiplexer to display and control several windows you can use in addition to the main interface. Each of these windows serves a different purpose - they display several different logs, which can be used to troubleshoot any issues during the installation, and one of the windows provides an interactive shell prompt with root privileges, unless this prompt was specifically disabled using a boot option or a Kickstart command.

In general, there is no reason to leave the default graphical installation environment unless you need to diagnose an installation problem.

The terminal multiplexer is running in virtual console 1. To switch from the actual installation environment to tmux, press Ctrl+Alt+F1. To go back to the main installation interface which runs in virtual console 6, press Ctrl+Alt+F6.

If you choose text mode installation, you will start in virtual console 1 (tmux), and switching to console 6 will open a shell prompt instead of a graphical interface.

The console running tmux has 5 available windows; their contents are described in the table below, along with keyboard shortcuts used to access them. Note that the keyboard shortcuts are two-part: first press Ctrl+b, then release both keys, and press the number key for the window you want to use.

You can also use Ctrl+b n and Ctrl+b p to switch to the next or previous tmux window, respectively.

Table 1. Available tmux Windows
Shortcut Contents

Ctrl+b 1

Main installation program window. Contains text-based prompts (during text mode installation or if you use VNC direct mode), and also some debugging information.

Ctrl+b 2

Interactive shell prompt with root privileges.

Ctrl+b 3

Installation log; displays messages stored in /tmp/anaconda.log.

Ctrl+b 4

Storage log; displays messages related storage devices from kernel and system services, stored in /tmp/storage.log.

Ctrl+b 5

Program log; displays messages from other system utilities, stored in /tmp/program.log.

In addition to displaying diagnostic information in tmux windows, Anaconda also generates several log files, which can be transferred from the installation system. These log files are described in Log Files Generated During the Installation, and directions for transferring them from the installation system are available in Transferring Log Files from the Installation System.

Saving Screenshots

You can press Shift+Print Screen at any time during the graphical installation to capture the current screen. These screenshots are saved to /tmp/anaconda-screenshots.

Additionally, you can use the autostep --autoscreenshot command in a Kickstart file to capture and save each step of the installation automatically. See autostep (optional) - Go Through Every Screen for details.

Installing in Text Mode

Text mode installation offers an interactive, non-graphical interface for installing Fedora. This may be useful on systems with no graphical capabilities; however, you should always consider the available alternatives before starting a text-based installation. Text mode is limited in the amount of choices you can make during the installation.

There are two alternatives to text mode which can both be used even if the installation system does not have a graphical display. You can either connect to the installation system using VNC and perform an interactive graphical installation remotely (see Installing Using VNC), or you can create a Kickstart file to perform the installation automatically (see Automating the Installation with Kickstart).

The main menu in during a text-based installation.
Figure 1. Text Mode Installation

Installation in text mode follows a pattern similar to the graphical installation: There is no single fixed progression; you can configure many settings in any order you want using the main status screen. Screens which have already been configured, either automatically or by you, are marked as [x], and screens which require your attention before the installation can begin are marked with [!]. Available commands are displayed below the list of available options.

Limits of interactive text mode installation include:

  • The installer will always use the English language and the US English keyboard layout. You can configure your language and keyboard settings, but these settings will only apply to the installed system, not to the installation.

  • You can not configure any advanced storage methods (LVM, software RAID, FCoE, zFCP and iSCSI).

  • It is not possible to configure custom partitioning; you must use one of the automatic partitioning settings. You also cannot configure where the boot loader will be installed.

To start a text mode installation, boot the installation with the inst.text boot option used either at the boot command line in the boot menu, or in your PXE server configuration. See Booting the Installation for information about booting and using boot options.

Installing in the Graphical User Interface

The graphical installation interface is the preferred method of manually installing Fedora. It allows you full control over all available settings, including custom partitioning and advanced storage configuration, and it is also localized to many languages other than English, allowing you to perform the entire installation in a different language. The graphical mode is used by default when you boot the system from local media (a CD, DVD or a USB flash drive).

The sections below discuss each screen available in the installation process. Note that due to the installer’s parallel nature, most of the screens do not have to be completed in the order in which they are described here.

Each screen in the graphical interface contains a Help button. This button opens the Yelp help browser displaying the section of the Fedora Installation Guide relevant to the current screen.

You can also control the graphical installer with your keyboard. Use Tab and Shift+Tab to cycle through active control elements (buttons, check boxes, etc.) on the current screen, Up and Down arrow keys to scroll through lists, and Left and Right to scroll through horizontal toolbars or table entries. Space or Enter can be used to select or remove a highlighted item from selection and to expand and collapse drop-down menus.

Additionally, elements in each screen can be toggled using their respective shortcuts. These shortcuts are highlighted (underlined) when you hold down the Alt key; to toggle that element, press Alt+X, where X is the highlighted letter.

Your current keyboard layout is displayed in the top right hand corner. Only one layout is configured by default; if you configure more than layout in the Keyboard Layout screen (Keyboard Layout), you can switch between them by clicking the layout indicator.

Welcome Screen and Language Selection

The first screen displayed immediately after the graphical installer starts is the Welcome screen.

Screenshot of the Welcome screen showing language selection options.
Figure 2. Welcome Screen

First, select your preferred language in the left hand side column, and then select your locale from the right hand side column. You can use the text input field in the bottom left corner to search for your language instead of looking for it in the full list of more than 70 languages.

The language you select on this screen will be used during the installation, and it will also be used on the installed system by default. You can change the language for the installed system later, but once you click Continue on this screen, you will not be able to go back and change the language used inside the installer itself.

One language is pre-selected by default on top of the list. If network access is configured at this point (for example, if you booted from a network server instead of local media), the pre-selected language will be determined based on automatic location detection using the GeoIP module. Alternatively, if you used the inst.lang= option on the boot command line or in your PXE server configuration, this language will be selected by default, but you will still be able to change it.

After you select your language and locale, click Continue to confirm your selection and proceed to Installation Summary.

If you are installing a pre-release version of Fedora, a message will be shown after you click Continue warning you about the pre-release status of your installation media. Click I accept my fate to continue with the installation, or Get me out of here to quit the installation and reboot your system.

Installation Summary

The Installation Summary screen is the central location for setting up an installation. Most of the options which can be configured during the installation can be accessed from here.

The Installation Summary screen
Figure 3. Installation Summary

If you used a Kickstart option or a boot option to specify an installation repository on a network, but no network is available at the start of the installation, the installer will display the Network Configuration screen for you to set up a network connection prior to displaying the Installation Summary screen.

The summary screen consists of several links to other screens, separated into categories. These links can be in several different states, which are graphically indicated:

  • A warning symbol (yellow triangle with an exclamation mark) next to an icon means that a screen requires your attention before you start the installation. This typically happens with the Installation Destination screen, because even though there is a default automatic partitioning variant, you always have to at least confirm this selection, even if you do not want to make any changes.

  • If a link is greyed out, it means that the installer is currently configuring this section, and you must wait for the configuration to finish before accessing that screen. This typically happens when you change the installation source in the Installation Source screen and the installer is probing the new source location and gathering a list of available packages.

  • Screens with black text and no warning symbol mean that this screen does not require your attention. You can still change your settings in these screens, but it is not necessary to do so to complete the installation. This typically happens with localization settings, as these are either detected automatically, or set up on the previous screen where you select your language and locale.

A warning message is displayed at the bottom of the summary screen, and the Begin Installation button is greyed out, as long as at least one item has not been configured yet.

A screenshot of several icons in the Installation Summary screen
Figure 4. Icon States in Installation Summary

Each screen also has an explanatory text below its title, showing settings currently configured in that screen. This text may be concatenated; in that case, move your mouse cursor over it and wait until a tooltip with the full text appears.

An entry in the Installation Summary shows a truncated description and a tooltip with full text.
Figure 5. Tooltip in the Installation Summary

Once you configure everything required for the installation, you can press the Begin Installation button to start installing Fedora. This will take you to Configuration and Installation Progress. Note that as the text below this button says, nothing will be written to your hard drive before you press this button. You can press Quit at any point; this will discard all changes you made in the installer so far and reboot the system.

Date & Time

The Date & Time screen allows you to configure time and date-related settings for your system. This screen is automatically configured based on the settings you selected in Welcome Screen and Language Selection, but you can change your date, time and location settings before you begin the installation.

Screenshot of the Date & Time screen
Figure 6. Date & Time

First, select your Region using the drop-down menu in the top left corner of the screen. Then, select your City, or the city closest to your location in the same time zone. Selecting a specific location helps Fedora ensure that your time is always set correctly including automatic time changes for daylight savings time if applicable.

You can also select a time zone relative to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) without setting your location to a specific region. To do so, select Etc as your region.

The list of cities and regions comes from the Time Zone Database (tzdata) public domain, which is maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). The Fedora Project can not add cities or regions into this database. You can find more information at the IANA official website.

The switch labeled Network Time in the top right corner of the screen can be used to enable or disable network time synchronization using the Network Time Protocol (NTP). Enabling this option will keep your system time correct as long as the system can access the internet. By default, four NTP pools are configured; you can add others and disable or remove the default ones by clicking the gear wheel button next to the switch.

A dialog window allowing you to add or remove NTP pools from your system configuration
Figure 7. The Add and mark for usage NTP servers dialog

If you disable network time synchronization, the controls at the bottom of the screen will become active, and you will be able to set the current time and date manually.

After configuring your time and date settings, press the Done button in the top left corner to return to Installation Summary.

Keyboard Layout

The Keyboard Layout screen allows you to set up one or more keyboard layouts for your system and a way to switch between them. One keyboard layout is configured automatically based on your selection in Welcome Screen and Language Selection, but you can change this layout and add additional ones before you begin the installation.

Keyboard layouts are a separate setting from system languages, and these two settings can be mixed as you see fit.

All settings configured in this screen will be available on the installed system, and they will also become immediately available inside the installer. You can use the keyboard icon in the top right corner of any screen, or the keyboard switch you configured in this screen, to cycle between your configured layouts.

The keyboard layout configuration screen
Figure 8. Keyboard Layout

The left half of the screen contains a window listing all currently configured layouts. The order in which the layouts are displayed is important - the same order will be used when switching between layouts, and the first listed layout will be the default on your system.

The text field on the right side of the screen can be used to test the currently selected layout.

You can click a layout in the list to highlight it. At the bottom of the list, there is a set of buttons:

  • The + button adds a new layout. When you press this button, a new window opens with a list of all available layouts, grouped by language. You can find a layout by browsing the list, or you can use the search bar at the bottom of this window. When you find the layout you want to add, highlight it and press Add.

  • The - button removes the currently highlighted layout.

  • The up and down buttons can be used to move the highlighted layout up or down in the list.

  • The keyboard button opens a new window which offers a visual representation of the highlighted layout.

If you use a layout that cannot accept Latin characters, such as Russian, you are advised to also add the English (United States) layout and configure a keyboard combination to switch between the two layouts. If you only select a layout without Latin characters, you may be unable to enter a valid root password and user credentials later in the installation process. This may prevent you from completing the installation.

You can also optionally configure a keyboard switch which can be used to cycle between available layouts. To do so, click the Options button on the right side of the screen. The Layout Switching Options dialog will open, allowing you to configure one or more keys or key combinations for switching. Select one or more key combinations using the check boxes next to them, and click OK to confirm your selection.

After you finish configuring keyboard layouts and switches, click Done in the top left corner to return to Installation Summary.

Language Support

The Language Support screen allows you to configure language settings for your system. The default language is determined by your selection in Welcome Screen and Language Selection and support for this language can not be removed. You can only add additional languages, which will be available on the installed system - not during the installation.

If you want to change the default language, or the language used during the installation, you must reboot your system, start the installer again, and select a different language in Welcome Screen and Language Selection.

Adding support for another language does not automatically configure the corresponding keyboard layout. Layouts are a separate setting configured in Keyboard Layout.

The language configuration screen. The left side shows that at least one variant of English and French have been selected; the right column shows that French (France) and French (Canada) are selected in the currently highlighted French group.
Figure 9. Language Support

The left panel contains a list of available language groups such as English or Bulgarian. If at least one language from a group is selected, a check mark will be displayed next to the group, and the list entry will be highlighted. This allows you to easily see which languages you have configured support for.

To add support for one or more additional languages, click a group in the left panel, and then select one or more regional variations in the right panel using check boxes next to list entries. Repeat this process for all languages you want to install support for.

Enabling support for some languages (typically languages which use non-Latin script) will install additional packages - for example, enabling support for one or more languages from the Arabic group will also install the arabic-support package group. For more information about packages, see Software Selection.

Once you have made your selections, click Done in the top left corner to return to Installation Summary.

Installation Source

The Installation Source screen allows you to specify a location (local or on the network) from which packages will be downloaded and installed on your system. This screen will be configured automatically in most cases, but you can change your settings or add additional sources.

Normally, when you first enter the Installation Summary screen, the installer will attempt to configure an installation source based on the type of media you used to boot. The full Fedora Server DVD will configure the source as local media, the netinst ISO image will configure the closest network mirror, etc. This process takes some time, especially if the default source is a network mirror. If you plan to use a custom installation source, use the inst.askmethod boot option to skip the initial configuration; this will allow you to enter this screen immediately. See Specifying the Installation Source for information about boot options.