How to install SLES over serial console

This document (7010066) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 1


On so-called headless systems without a monitor attached, installing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) directly from the installation DVD fails to work over the serial console.


To make this work, the isolinux.cfg file on the installation DVD needs to be modified and a new customized DVD image must be generated and burned as described in the following :
  • Mount the SLES 11 (SP*) DVD1 on your machine.
  • Copy the whole content of the DVD to an existing directory - e.g. with a command like
    cp -var /media/dvd/* /tmp/sles_inst_root/
  • Change into the root directory of the unpacked installation medium (e.g. /tmp/sles_inst_root/)
  • # Edit the file boot/<$architecture>/loader/isolinux.cfg and replace its content with this :
    serial --unit=0 --speed=115200
    terminal --timeout=10 serial console
    default linux
    # install
    label linux
      kernel linux
      append initrd=initrd textmode=1 console=ttyS0,115200n81
  • This change will make the installation program start when the system is booted from the modified DVD after skipping the normal menu seen when booting from the installation DVD.
  • Create a new ISO image (still from within the root directory of the unpacked image) with a command like this (all on one line) :
    mkisofs -V SLE11SP1.001 -r -J -l -L -iso-level 4 -P "SUSE Linux AG" -b boot/x86_64/loader/isolinux.bin -c boot/x86_64/loader/ -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table -graft-points -o /tmp/sles11sp1x8664custom.iso .
  • Burn the ISO image to a DVD with the tool of your choice.
Now connect a serial console to the machine, insert and boot from the custom DVD.

Additional Information

On systems with a monitor attached just add "console=ttyS0,115200" to the boot prompt


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7010066
  • Creation Date: 27-Jan-2012
  • Modified Date:03-Mar-2020
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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