Install via a CD-ROM or a USB Key

For clients that are not yet registered to SUSE Manager, and if network boot over PXE is not an option, a bootable CD-ROM or USB key can be used to install the system.

One option to prepare such a removable medium is to use Cobbler. For information about using Cobbler to prepare an ISO image, see Build an ISO Image With Cobbler.

The other option is to use mechanisms specific to the distribution:

In all cases, you use the resulting image to burn a CD-ROM or prepare a USB key.

1. Build an ISO Image With Cobbler

Cobbler can create ISO boot images that contain a set of distributions, kernels, and a menu that works in a similar way to a PXE installation.

Building ISOs with Cobbler is not supported on IBM Z.

In order to prepare an ISO image with Cobbler, you need to prepare a distribution and a profile, similar to using network boot over PXE. For information about creating a distribution, see Autoinstallable Distributions. For information about creating a profile, see Autoinstallation Profiles.

The Cobbler buildiso command takes parameters to define the name and output location of the boot ISO. Specifying the distribution with --distro is mandatory when running buildiso command.

cobbler buildiso --iso=/path/to/boot.iso --distro=<your-distro-label>

You must use distro and profile labels as listed by Cobbler, and not simply as shown in the UI.

To list the names of distributions and profiles stored by Cobbler, run the commands:

# cobbler distro list
# cobbler profile list

The boot ISO includes all profiles and systems by default. You can limit which profiles and systems are used with the --profiles and --systems options. For example:

cobbler buildiso --systems="system1 system2 system3" \
  --profiles="<your-profile1-label> <your-profile2-label> <your-profile3-label> --distro=<your-distro-label>

If you cannot write an ISO image to a public tmp directory, check your systemd settings in /usr/lib/systemd/system/cobblerd.service.

2. Build a SUSE ISO Image With KIWI

KIWI is an image creation system. You can use KIWI to create a bootable ISO image to be used by the target system for installation of a SUSE system. When the system is rebooted or switched on, it boots from the image, loads the AutoYaST configuration from your SUSE Manager, and installs SUSE Linux Enterprise Server according to the AutoYaST profile.

To use the ISO image, boot the system and type autoyast at the prompt (assuming you left the label for the AutoYaST boot as autoyast). Press Enter to begin the AutoYaST installation.

For more information about KIWI, see

3. Build a RedHat ISO Image With mkisofs

You can use mkisofs to create a bootable ISO image to be used by the target system for installation of a Red Hat system. When the system is rebooted or switched on, it boots from the image, loads the Kickstart configuration from your SUSE Manager, and installs Red Hat Enterprise Linux according to the Kickstart profile.

Procedure: Building a Bootable ISO With mkisofs
  1. Copy the contents of /isolinux from the first CD-ROM of the target distribution.

  2. Edit the isolinux.cfg file to default to 'ks'. Change the 'ks' section to read:

    label ks
    kernel vmlinuz
      append text ks=`url` initrd=initrd.img lang= devfs=nomount \
        ramdisk_size=16438 `ksdevice`

    IP address-based Kickstart URLs look like this:


    The Kickstart distribution defined via the IP range should match the distribution from which you are building, to prevent errors occurring.

  3. OPTIONAL: If you want to use the ksdevice, it looks like this:


    It is possible to change the distribution for a Kickstart profile within a family, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 4 to Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES 4, by specifying the new distribution label. Note that you cannot move between versions (4 to 5) or between updates (U1 to U2).

  4. Customize isolinux.cfg further as required. For example, you can add multiple options, different boot messages, or shorter timeout periods.

  5. Create the ISO with this command:

    mkisofs -o file.iso -b isolinux.bin -c -no-emul-boot \
      -boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table -R -J -v -T isolinux/

    Note that isolinux/ is the relative path to the directory containing the modified isolinux files copied from the distribution CD, while file.iso is the output ISO file, which is placed into the current directory.

  6. Burn the ISO to CD-ROM and insert the disk. Alternatively prepare an USB key and insert it.

  7. Boot the system and type ks at the prompt (if you left the label for the Kickstart boot as 'ks').

  8. Press Enter to start Kickstart.