12.3. A Note about Linux Virtual Consoles

12.3. A Note about Linux Virtual Consoles

This information only applies to users of non-partitioned System p systems using a video card as their console. Users of partitioned System i and System p systems should skip to Section 12.4, “Using the HMC vterm”.

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation program offers more than the dialog boxes of the installation process. Several kinds of diagnostic messages are available to you, as well as a way to enter commands from a shell prompt. The installation program displays these messages on five virtual consoles, among which you can switch using a single keystroke combination.

A virtual console is a shell prompt in a non-graphical environment, accessed from the physical machine, not remotely. Multiple virtual consoles can be accessed simultaneously.

These virtual consoles can be helpful if you encounter a problem while installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Messages displayed on the installation or system consoles can help pinpoint a problem. Refer to Table 12.1, “Console, Keystrokes, and Contents” for a listing of the virtual consoles, keystrokes used to switch to them, and their contents.

Generally, there is no reason to leave the default console (virtual console #6) for graphical installations unless you are attempting to diagnose installation problems.

console keystrokes contents
1 ctrl-alt-f1 installation dialog
2 ctrl-alt-f2 shell prompt
3 ctrl-alt-f3 install log (messages from installation program)
4 ctrl-alt-f4 system-related messages
5 ctrl-alt-f5 other messages
6 ctrl-alt-f6 x graphical display
Table 12.1. Console, Keystrokes, and Contents


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