How to gather hardware information from systems without installed OS

  • 3738106
  • 17-Jan-2008
  • 30-Apr-2012

Environment

Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9
Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 8
Novell Open Enterprise Server (Linux based)
Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
Novell openSUSE

Situation

Background

Sometimes it is necessary to gather system information like hwinfo from a system which has no operating system installed yet.
This may be the case in terms of general installation problems where the hardware is unknown.

Goal

Gather information about the hardware which may give a hint as to what exactly is causing the installation issue.

Resolution

Follow these steps to gather hardware information for a system which does not have an operating system installed yet and to store this information on a USB stick or floppy drive or over the network to another system.

Using a floppy
  1. Insert the first CD or DVD of the Novell Linux product. If service packs have been released for the product, use of the CDs/DVDs of the current service pack is preferred.
  2. Boot from the DVD or CD.
  3. In the boot loader menu, choose "rescue system".
  4. Run the command
    hwinfo > /tmp/hwinfo.txt
  5. Insert a floppy disk into the drive and run the commands
    mount -rw /dev/fd0 /media/floppy
    cp /tmp/hwinfo.txt /media/floppy
    umount /media/floppy
  6. The required data are now available on the floppy disk. The system can be powered down or reset at this point.
Using a USB stick

The procedure above can also be used with a USB stick (pen drive) instead of a floppy, with the following changes/notes:
  • The device name for a USB stick will not be /dev/fd0; instead, it will be recognised as a SCSI disk device /dev/sdX.
  • Make sure the USB stick is not connected before the rescue system is available. Consult the output of the command dmesg to identify the precise device name, e.g. /dev/sda.
Using another system for storage

If the procedures above cannot be applied, another system can be used to store the hardware information, as follows:

  1. Insert the first CD or DVD of the Novell Linux product. If service packs have been released for the product, use of the CDs/DVDs of the current service pack is preferred.
  2. Boot from the DVD or CD.
  3. In the boot loader menu, choose "rescue system".
  4. Run the command
    hwinfo --netcard
    This shows the name of the driver for the network card, e.g. bnx2. Write this module name down.
  5. Reboot the system, boot from DVD or CD and choose "manual installation".
  6. Choose the language and the keyboard setting.
  7. Select the appropriate network card module and configure the network card with
    ifconfig eth0 your-ip-address
  8. After that go back to the rescue system.
  9. Back in the rescue system run the command:
    hwinfo> /tmp/hwinfo.txt
  10. Copy the new file (/tmp/hwinfo.txt) to another machine in the network using scp:
    scp /tmp/hwinfo.txt remoteusername@other-system's-ip-address:/tmp/

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