I wanted to upgrade my machine to 64bit CentOS at FastHosts. They said that it wasn’t supported, and they couldn’t upgrade my server until my contract runs out (in September – it’s now april). Wow. Okay, unbelievable as that sounds, I press on, send them a firm, but still polite email asking how to I get this upgraded to 64bit. They recommend using eRIC. The instructions are okay, but there are a few missing points, so hence this post.

My server is a “DS650” which is a dual core 2.4Ghz machine. First note all the settings on your box. IP address(es), netmask, gateway and nameservers is a good start. Backup your stuff, since this will blow your files away 🙂

1. Setup a windows share (samba) with a CentOS iso on it. I tried using windows, and forwarding the ports, but it didn’t work. the eRIC share wouldn’t pick it up (even though I could mount it over the internet on a mac and a remote windows box). Anyway, the samba worked first time.

2. Log in to fasthosts https://login.fasthosts.co.uk/

3. Click on Dedicated Servers (tab)

4. Click on the server that you want to upgrade.

5. Click on Remote KVM Access

6. Click Enable KVM Access

7. Click on the IP address after “Login Address”. (you should also note the link below “View your server Login Details” page that has the user pass that you need.  It’s under “Remote KVM details” on that page.

9. So as long as you have java installed on your computer: Login

10. Click on Virtual Media -> CD-ROM

11. Share host is the ip address of your machine that has the mapped drive (must be accessible on the internet), share name is the share name of the cdrom (eg “D” or “cdrom”), I had to enter my user and pass for that machine to get access to the share (depends on your share config… I tested with another computer first to ease the pain)

Path to image /centosnet.iso

click set

(Just a note here that I’m almost certain it was /centosnet.iso, but it might be without the /). And of course I downloaded that centos netinstall, copied it to my share as centosnet.iso.

Click Remote Control on the left, click KVM Console.

Now log into the server using this console and reboot the server, as soon as it comes up, hit F2 to go into the bios (although for some servers, it will be “DEL”, or perhaps “F8”).

I had a lot of problems with eRIC and typing (repeat characters) .. and I’ve seen this before with other systems. So just type very slowly (wait for the character to appear on the screen before typing the next one). Perhaps there is an option to turn off keyboard repeat?

Arrow down to Boot Options, hit enter, then arrow down to Boot Sequence

Hit Enter, and now move the CD-Rom up above BootManage PXE, Slot 0B20 (by using ‘-‘ key)

Hit escape a few times, and then save and Exit.

Then you get this:

and now it should boot from the cdrom (the mounted drive!). This could be really slow (for me it was around 50k/sec, not too bad, but wouldn’t want to do the 4G CENTOS install using that!).
Here is the CentOS install just starting:

Save and exit, and now it should boot from the cdrom (which might be really slow.. depending on the connectivity back to your mounted drive).

Woo hoo .. CentOS install screen:

I used “linux text” to do the install. This is because the local mouse was out of sync with the remote mouse, and it was incredibly painful.

Manual IP address:

Configure network:

HTTP Setup:
Web site name: mirror.centos.org
CentOS Directory: centos/5.4/os/x86_64

Setup starting:

As I mentioned earlier, the mouse was out of sync when using eRIC, so I chose to use the text install. But how cool is this? The installer now has a VNC option. So I chose it:

and then choose a VNC password:

I sometimes use a mac, and so to then it was a simple as “Apple-K” when in the finder to connect to something remote, and then enter
vnc://217.xx.yy.zz:5901 and click “Connect”

hmm: no encryption… fine with me…

and sure enough up comes the normal CentOS graphical installer:

And the rest is your normal install from there.

I ran into a problem where the drives were going 2mb/s (crazy slow), so long story short, add ide0=noprobe ide1=noprobe to kernel settings: eg in /etc/grub.conf

title CentOS (2.6.18-164.11.1.el5) No Probe
root (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-164.11.1.el5 ro root=LABEL=/ ide0=noprobe ide1=noprobe
initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.18-164.11.1.el5.img


  1. Simon says:

    You sir, are a life saver!
    Looks like I might be doing this over the next day or 2 as on the Fasthosts site it says their dedicated server comes with CentOS 5.5 (among others) – I got one and chose CentOS as the OS and what should appear at login prompt? CentOS 5.3. Buggers!

  2. Stewart says:

    Thanks for this post. Was the only one I could find but ultimately it didnt help.

    My problem was that I had only forwarded port 445 on the ISO PC. You must open/forward both port 445 & 139 on your firewall/router for the KVM to be able to connect.

    Hope this saves somebody some time!

  3. Mike says:

    Hey man, just wanted to say thanks for this blog post. I now have my server mounted off it. This stupid eRIC management thing eluded me for about a week until I read your post and started to understand what the hell it wanted.

    Cheers dude.

  4. Simon Sprott says:

    This helped, but a couple of other things to add. You can’t mount DVD images (only CD images) and the only shares I could mount were on a linux box. The thing just refused to connect to a windows share…

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