SysRescue First Steps


This documentation is extracted from the System Rescue CD documentation found on line at Please refer to the original documentation there.

Booting from SystemRescueCd

  • Insert the SystemRescueCd and boot your system.
  • Use Up or Down cursor keys to move the menu highlight.
  • Press F2/F3/F4/F5/F6 to read advanced boot instructions.
  • Press <Tab> to edit options on any line.
  • Press <Enter> to boot the currently selected item.


A boot command has two parts: the boot image name, and the boot options. When editing a command, use spaces to separate options. For example you may want to boot with rescue64 as boot-image and docache setkmap=us as boot-options. The resulting command would be rescue64 docache setkmap=us.

Main boot images

There are four main boot images with SystemRescueCd. The differences are detailed in the kernel page.

  • rescuecd: The default for 32bit systems, you can use it by default for most things.
  • rescue64: Use the default 64 bit kernel if you have a 64bit capable processor.
  • altker32: This alternative kernel for 32bit systems may work if you have problems with the standard kernel.
  • altker64: This alternative kernel for 64bit systems is provided in case you have problems with rescue64.

Main boot options

Here are the most common boot options:

  • docache: Copies the SysRescueCD files to RAMfs, which permits the CD to be ejected and which means programs will load faster.
  • setkmap=cc: Specify keyboard: us for USA, uk for british, de for german, ...
  • root=/dev/idxn: the root=<device> option boots an existing linux system. For example, if you have a linux Gentoo installed on /dev/sda6, use rescuecd root=/dev/sda6.
  • ide=nodma or all-generic-ide: Use these options if the kernel boot process hangs on a driver related to storage.
  • doxdetect or forcevesa: Use these options if you cannot get the graphical environment to work.
  • acpi-off / noapic / irqpool: Use these options to solve kernel boot problems.

Additional Programs


Some included programs boot from their own floppy image. Choose F) Run system tools from floppy disk image ... to select from a menu of these programs.

Working in the console mode

  • Mount disk partitions in order to troubleshoot an installed Linux or a Windows system. You can mount linux filesystems (ext2fs, ext3fs, reiserfs, reiser4, jfs, xfs) and FAT and NTFS partitions used by MS Windows (eg: ntfs-3g /dev/sda1 /mnt/windows).
  • You can backup/restore data or operating system files.
  • Midnight Commander (type mc) is able to copy/move/delete/edit files and directories.
  • vim and qemacs editors can be used to edit files.
  • Six virtual consoles are available. Press Alt+F1 for the first virtual console, Alt+F2 for the second one, ...

Working in the graphical environment

To use graphical tools (such as GParted), start the graphical environment by typing wizard. There are two graphical environments: Xorg and Xvesa. Try Xorg first, but if it fails to start, run wizard again and choose Xvesa which should always work. The drawback is that Xvesa is not optimized for your hardware and it requires a 32bit kernel (rescuecd or altker32); it is not available on 64bit kernels (rescue64 and altker64).

The graphical environment allows you to work with GParted (partition manager), to use graphical editors (Geany or GVim), to browse the web with Firefox and use terminals like xfce-terminal or mrxvt.

Setting up your network

SystemRescueCd can connect you to your network, provided your system has supported hardware, the network interface card (NIC) was auto-detected, and the driver is loaded. This functionality allows you to make a backup over the network, download files, work remotely using ssh, telnet, access files that are shared on a Unix server with NFS, or access a MS Windows system with Samba.

  • Network Manager: The most convenient way to configure your network is to use the Network-Manager service in the graphical environment. This friendly tool makes the network configuration much easier, especially if you are attempting to connect to wireless networks. Start Network Manager by clicking the small icon in the task bar next to the clock when you are in the graphical environment.


To configure the network by hand using dhcp, net-setup, or ifconfig, first you must stop the Network-Manager service: /etc/init.d/NetworkManager stop.

  • dhcpd: To use dynamic configuration, at the command shell type dhcpcd eth0. Use ifconfig -a to display the IP address which the DHCP server leased to the interface.
  • net-setup: To configure the network by hand from text mode, type net-setup at the shell prompt.
  • ifconfig, route: You can also use shell commands to configure a network interface, assigning an IP address and a default gateway. To assign a specific static IP address, enter something such as: ifconfig eth0 Next configure the default route gateway. For example, for an interface at address connected to a gateway at, enter route add default gw