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This article describes the booting process of SME Server.


When booting from the installation CD you will get a boot prompt where you can simply press Enter to start the standard installation (or upgrade) routine. On i586 (e.g. VIA C3) based machines type smei586 and press Enter.

After showing the boot prompt for some time SME will start the installation process automatically. It will then afford you the opportunity to test the installation medium.

Afterwards you can choose which language you want to use for the following installation process.

Boot Options

You can use the function keys F1 to F5 to get more information about different boot options.

Important.png Note:
If installing on a i586 machine you will need to replace sme with smei586 in the following commands.

Normal installation


Set raid type

sme raid=[none,0,1,5,6]
  • For SME Server 8 raid=none and raid=0 are for no software raid, other arguments are for raid levels (eg Raid1, Raid5, Raid6)
  • For SME Server 9 raid=none is for no software raid, other arguments are for raid levels (eg Raid0, Raid1, Raid5, Raid6)

Important.png Note:
For SME Server 9 the option sme raid=none have a different behaviour since the /boot is always made on a software raid 1 called /dev/md0. All other partitions (/ and swap) are without software raid. (see bugzilla:8369)

Set number of spares

In case you have 3 or more hard disks in your server and don't want to have a spare disk

sme spares=[0-(disks-2)]

Set drive type to include

Nominate which drives the installer will use to put the OS onto, not nominating a drive will exclude it from use, if left blank will include all drives

sme drives=[hda,sda,xvda,...]

Set drives to exclude

Nominate which drives the installer will not try to install the OS to eg a boot USB with the iso on it, or other connected backup USB drives, see note below

sme exclude= sdc

To install SME without software RAID

For example MB with fake raid or with 'Config Disk' issue bugzilla:5850

sme raid=none

Important.png Note:
For SME Server 9 raid=0 means that the raid level required is 0 (eg : Raid0). If you want no software raid you have to choose raid=none

To install SME without a logical volume manager type

sme nolvm

To have /, /tmp, /var, /home/e-smith/files and swap on separate partitions type

sme multipart

If you have a driver disk type

sme dd

Installation hangs

The last screen shown is "Welcome to SME Server".

sme ide=nodma

dmraid (SME8.1 off by default)

If required can be appended at boot time

sme dmraid

Installation errors when disks previously used with fake raid.

sme ide=nodmraid

SATA Driver installation error

eg IBM IntelliStation M Pro stalls

sme acpi=off

Intel DG965 Motherboards (G33xx)

sme pci=nommconf acpi=off all-generic-ide 

To enable the rescue mode type

sme rescue

To use an ext4 file system

(except for /boot) instead of the default ext3.

sme ext4

Important.png Note:
For SME Server 9 it is no longer needed to set sme ext4 to have a ext4 file system since it is the default file system


The installer without anything being passed should behave identically for disks < 10 with the exception that it won't include any device that is housed on a drive that needs the usb-storage or spb2 module.

If you want to include drives that are on USB or firewire you must use the drives= option and specify all drives (not just the usb/firewire drives) that you want to use.

If you don't want to use raid at all specify raid=0 or raid=none (they are identical, 0 means none).

If you don't want a spare you should use the spares= option and specify a value of 0. By default 1 spare will be added for disks > 3. Another spare drive will be added for every additional 7 drives you add (10, 17, ...).

If you specify a raid level but don't have enough drives it will fall back to the next highest raid level (ex. 5 drives, 2 spares, raid 6 will fail back to raid 5 as 5-2=3 useable drives).

From SME ISO releases 7.5.1 and SME 8.0 the installer will automatically exclude the drive containing the install media or ks files. Refer,46866.msg230681.html#msg230681

General Boot Help

Certain hardware configurations may have trouble with the automatic hardware detection done during the installation. If you experience problems during the installation, restart the installation adding the noprobe option. With the standard installation that would be

sme noprobe

or e.g. if you don't want a software RAID:

sme noraid noprobe

and so on.

Kernel Parameter Help

Some kernel parameters can be specified on the command line and will be passed to the kernel. This does not include options to modules such as ethernet cards or devices such as CD-ROM drives.

To pass an option to the kernel use the following format:

sme <options>

If a different installation mode is desired, enter it after the option(s).

For example, to install on a system with 128MB of RAM using noprobe mode, type the following:

sme mem=128M noprobe

To pass options to modules, you will need to use the noprobe mode to disable PCI autoprobing. When the installer asks for your device type that needs an option or parameter passed to it, there will be a place to type those in at that time.

Rescue Mode Help

The installer includes a rescue mode which can be used when a system does not boot properly. The rescue mode includes many useful utilities (editor, hard drive and RAID tools, etc.) which will allow one to restore a system to a working state.

To enter the rescue mode, boot your system from the installation CD-ROM and type:

sme rescue

To actually be able to edit files, remount the root partition by typing:

mount -n -o remount /


Some problems with booting that cannot or will not be fixed through development of SME8 and solutions on how to bypass them can be found here.

You can run Memtest86 to check your RAM by typing


at the boot prompt and pressing Enter afterwards.