The Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation program offers more than the dialog boxes of the installation process. Several kinds of diagnostic messages are available to you, as well as a way to enter commands from a shell prompt. The installation program displays these messages on five virtual consoles, among which you can switch using a single keystroke combination.
A virtual console is a shell prompt in a non-graphical environment, accessed from the physical machine, not remotely. Multiple virtual consoles can be accessed simultaneously.
These virtual consoles can be helpful if you encounter a problem while installing Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Messages displayed on the installation or system consoles can help pinpoint a problem. Refer to Table 9.1, “Console, Keystrokes, and Contents”
for a listing of the virtual consoles, keystrokes used to switch to them, and their contents.
Generally, there is no reason to leave the default console (virtual console #6) for graphical installations unless you are attempting to diagnose installation problems.
Table 9.1. Console, Keystrokes, and Contents
| console || keystrokes || contents |
| 1 || ctrl+alt+f1 || graphical display |
| 2 || ctrl+alt+f2 || shell prompt |
| 3 || ctrl+alt+f3 || install log (messages from installation program) |
| 4 || ctrl+alt+f4 || system-related messages |
| 5 || ctrl+alt+f5 || other messages |