Installing custom images

Last change on 2021-10-05 • Created on 2020-03-19

Introduction

This article explains three methods for installing images that are not available on Robot as automatic installations.

important note: Hetzner Online doesn't offer any support for the installation of custom images and can't offer any warranty on the functionality of the installed system on our products.

This article explains the following available options:

  • For installing an older version of a Linux image that is available via Robot:

    • Install older Linux images using the Installimage script
  • For installing a custom Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE or CentOS image:

    • Custom image installation using the Installimage script
  • For installing Windows with your own license or any other operating system from a bootable ISO image:

    • Installation via KVM Console and USB drive
    • Installation via KVM Console and Virtual Media feature

Install older Linux images using the Installimage script

By using the Installimage Script, which is already pre-installed in the Rescue System, you can perform customizable installations of all Linux images that are available on Robot. In addition you can also install older images, for which we do not offer support or guarantee compatibility anymore. You can find those images after starting the Installimage script within the operating system selection menu under the Old images section.

Custom image installation using the Installimage script

Requirements

  • The image must be Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE or CentOS to get the network settings properly configured.
  • The image should be a current version of the distribution. It is usually still possible to install a previous version for a certain amount of time after a new version is released, but we do not actively maintain the previous version.
  • You need to archive the complete OS in the .tar.gz format and placed it on a web, NFS or FTP server, or upload it into the Rescue System (for example, by using SCP). The archive should not contain /dev, /proc or /sys folders.
  • The archive must have the name of the distribution and the version (at the second position) within the file name (for example, "debian-123-image.tar.gz" or "suse-123-backup.tar.gz").
  • You need to select and install the bootloader GRUB in the configuration file.
  • There should only be one kernel in /boot.
  • For signature verification, you need to store the signature image.tar.gz.sig and the corresponding public key public-key.asc in the same directory.

Procedure

To get started, just boot the server to the Rescue System. Then mount the remote filesystem that contains your archive (or just upload it to the Rescue System). Then start the Installimage Script (command: installimage). In the following menu, select custom_images. This will load a blank configuration, which you can customize to suit your requirements. You will also find guidelines and examples there.

Please keep in mind that some settings like IMAGEPATH etc. have no pre-defined parameters, but are required, so you must fill them in.

The available drives are automatically detected and added to the variables DRIVE1,DRIVE2...

Installation via KVM Console and USB drive

For this method, just order a KVM Console via Robot. To do this, click on the correct server on your Robot account, select the Support section, and choose the server specific request "Remote console / KVM". In the comment field for the support request, insert a direct download link for the image.

To create a link for the image, you can upload your image to your preferred file hoster, webspace, Storage Box or FTP server. As an alternative, you can send us a direct download link from a foreign website, or choose an image from our mirror. (The email that we sent you when you ordered you server also contains the login details). You will also find several Windows Server images on our mirror.

Our technicians will then download the image, create a bootable USB stick, and connect it to your server together with the KVM Console. (They will do this free of charge.)

For more information, please see this article.

Installation via KVM Console and Virtual Media feature

Important:

  • The KVM Console only supports the mounting of ISO files via the SAMBA/SMB/CIFS remote filesystem protocol.
  • Mounting an image can take a significant amount of time, so please make sure the connection to the location of the file is fast enough.
  • Unfortunately, there is no progress bar. You will see a notification once the file has been fully loaded.
  • We cannot guarantee that mounting an ISO file and installing it will always work. A firmware bug might lead to the KVM console and/or the server in certain circumstances. For that reason, it is also possible to do the installation via a USB drive. (See the previous section of this article).

To get started, just order a KVM Console via Robot. Log onto your Robot account, click on the correct server, select the Support section, and choose the server specific request "Remote console / KVM". Once you receive the login data for the KVM Console, follow this guide to mount your image.

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