Appendix E. Driver Media

E.1. Why Do I Need Driver Media?

While the Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation program is loading, a screen may appear asking you for driver media. The driver media screen is most often seen in the following scenarios:

E.1.1. So What Is Driver Media Anyway?

Driver media can add support for hardware that may or may not be supported by the installation program. Driver media could include a driver diskette or image produced by Red Hat, it could be a diskette or CD-ROM you make yourself from driver images found on the Internet, or it could be a diskette or CD-ROM that a hardware vendor includes with a piece of hardware.

Driver media is used if you need access to a particular device to install Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Drivers can be used for network (NFS) installations, installations using a PCMCIA or block device, non-standard or very new CD-ROM drives, SCSI adapters, NICs, and other uncommon devices.


If an unsupported device is not needed to install Red Hat Enterprise Linux on your system, continue with the installation and add support for the new piece of hardware once the installation is complete.

E.1.2. How Do I Obtain Driver Media?

Driver images can be obtained from several sources. They may be included with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or they may be available from a hardware or software vendor's website. If you suspect that your system may require one of these drivers, you should create a driver diskette or CD-ROM before beginning your Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation.

For users with x86-based systems, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux CD #1 includes driver images (including images/drvnet.img — network card drivers and images/drvblock.img — drivers for SCSI controllers) containing many drivers (both common and obscure).


It is also possible to use a driver image via a network file. Instead of using the linux dd boot command, use the linux dd=url command, where url is replaced by an HTTP, FTP, or NFS address of the driver image to be used.

Another option for finding specialized driver information is on Red Hat's website at 

under the section called Bug Fixes. Occasionally, popular hardware may be made available after a release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux that does not work with drivers already in the installation program or included on the driver images on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux CD #1. In such cases, the Red Hat website may contain a link to a driver image.

E.1.2.1. Creating a Driver Diskette from an Image File

To create a driver diskette from a driver diskette image using Red Hat Enterprise Linux:

  1. Insert a blank, formatted diskette (or LS-120 diskette for Itanium system users) into the first diskette (or LS-120) drive.

  2. From the same directory containing the driver diskette image, such as drvnet.img, type dd if=drvnet.img of=/dev/fd0 as root.


Red Hat Enterprise Linux supports using a USB pen drive as a way to add driver images during the installation process. The best way to do this is to mount the USB pen drive and copy the desired driverdisk.img onto the USB pen drive. For example:

dd if=driverdisk.img of=/dev/sda 

You are then prompted during the installation to select the partition and specify the file to be used.

E.1.3. Using a Driver Image During Installation

If you need to use a driver image, such as during a PCMCIA device or NFS installation, the installation program prompts you to insert the driver (as a diskette, CD-ROM, or file name) when it is needed.

However, there are some cases where you must specifically tell the Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation program to load that driver diskette and use it during the installation process.

For example, to specifically load a driver diskette that you have created, begin the installation process by booting from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux CD #1 (or using boot media you have created). For x86-based systems, at the boot: prompt, enter linux dd if using an x86 or x86-64 system. Refer to Section 4.3.1 Booting the Installation Program on x86, AMD64, and Intel® EM64T Systems for details on booting the installation program. For Itanium systems, at the Shell> prompt, type elilo linux dd. Refer to Section 4.3.2 Booting the Installation Program on Itanium Systems for details on booting the installation program.

The Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation program asks you to insert the driver diskette. Once the driver diskette is read by the installation program, it can apply those drivers to hardware discovered on your system later in the installation process.