Installing Fedora 9 Linux in VirtualPC

If you are using Microsoft’s VirtualPC 2007 as a host for installing Red Hat’s Fedora 9 Linux (aka Sulphur) distribution you may have run into a few problems.  The first problem that plagues just about anyone attempting to install the latest versions of Linux (not just Fedora) is that of auto-detected virtualization.  To overcome this problem we have to forcibly disable paravirtualization.  This is easier than it sounds.

When the initial Fedora 9 menu comes up after you boot from the install CD ISO image, that is the “Welcome to Fedora 9!” menu, you will need to press [tab] in order to be able to manually edit the boot options.  You only get 60 seconds to press [tab] after the menu comes up so pay attention.

If you pressed [tab] you will get a line that looks roughly like this:

> vmlinuz initrd=initrd.img

This is the boot options line that you can modify.  Simply add the option “noreplace-paravirt” and your installation will go much smoother.  The line should look like this when you are done.

> vmlinuz initrd=initrd.img noreplace-paravirt

In my own installation experience I had some problems with the native text mode of Fedora 9 not displaying correctly.  “Normal” X Window operations were not a problem.  Some installations, however, will go only in text mode which should work fine during initial setup but will then go to the bad screen modes after the installation completes.

If you set your memory level too low (I made the mistake of trying to use only 128MB) then full graphical installation mode will not be possible and the problem will arise.  Increase memory allotment to at least 192MB to allow graphical mode to be used.  256MB is recommended.  The graphical install should work just fine.  [All specs are for the x86 32bit architecture version of Fedora 9 as this is the architecture used for VirtualPC.]

Thanks to Sean of “The Sean Blog” over at TechNet for pointing us in the right direction on this one!

Installation requirements for Fedora 9 can be found at Red Hat’s Fedora 9 Architecture Specification page.

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