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Automating the Installation with Kickstart
Kickstart installations offer a means to automate the installation process, either partially or fully. Kickstart files contain answers to all questions normally asked by the installation program, such as what time zone do you want the system to use, how should the drives be partitioned or which packages should be installed. Providing a prepared Kickstart file when the installation begins therefore allows the you to perform the installation automatically, without need for any intervention from the user. This is especially useful when deploying {PRODUCT} on a large number of systems at once.
All Kickstart scripts and the log files of their execution are stored in the `/tmp` directory to assist with debugging installation issues.
How to Perform a Kickstart Installation
Kickstart installations can be performed using a local DVD, a local hard drive, or via NFS, FTP, HTTP, or HTTPS.
To use Kickstart, you must:
Create a Kickstart file.
Create boot media or configure a network boot (PXE) server which will be used to begin the installation.
Make the Kickstart file available on removable media, a hard drive, or a network location.
Start the Kickstart installation by booting the installer and using a boot option to tell the installer where to find the Kickstart file.
This chapter explains these steps in detail.
Creating a Kickstart File
The Kickstart file itself is a plain text file, containing keywords listed in xref:appendixes/Kickstart_Syntax_Reference.adoc#appe-kickstart-syntax-reference[Kickstart Syntax Reference], which serve as directions for the installation. Any text editor able to save files as ASCII text (such as [application]*Gedit* or [application]*vim* on Linux systems or [application]*Notepad* on Windows systems) can be used to create and edit Kickstart files.
The recommended approach to creating Kickstart files is to perform a manual installation on one system first. After the installation completes, all choices made during the installation are saved into a file named `anaconda-ks.cfg`, located in the `/root/` directory on the installed system. You can then copy this file, make any changes you need, and use the resulting configuration file in further installations.
When creating a Kickstart file, keep in mind the following:
Lines starting with a pound sign (`#`) are treated as comments and are ignored.
Sections must be specified *in order*. Items within the sections do not have to be in a specific order unless otherwise specified. The correct section order is:
The command section which contains actual Kickstart commands and options as listed in xref:appendixes/Kickstart_Syntax_Reference.adoc#appe-kickstart-syntax-reference[Kickstart Syntax Reference]. Note that some commands, such as [command]#install#, are mandatory, but most commands are optional.
The [command]#%packages# section which contains a list of packages and package groups to be installed. See xref:appendixes/Kickstart_Syntax_Reference.adoc#sect-kickstart-packages[%packages (required) - Package Selection] for details.
The [command]#%pre# and [command]#%post# sections, containing a pre-installation and post-installation scripts. These two sections can be in any order and are not mandatory. See xref:appendixes/Kickstart_Syntax_Reference.adoc#sect-kickstart-preinstall[%pre (optional) - Pre-installation Script] and xref:appendixes/Kickstart_Syntax_Reference.adoc#sect-kickstart-postinstall[%post (optional) - Post-installation Script] for details.