Red Hat Boot Process

The process is described in “Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Installation Guide”:

F.2. A Detailed Look at the Boot Process

The beginning of the boot process varies depending on the hardware platform being used. However, once the kernel is found and loaded by the boot loader, the default boot process is identical across all architectures. This chapter focuses primarily on the x86 architecture.

F.2.1. The firmware interface

F.2.1.1. BIOS-based x86 systems

The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) is a firmware interface that controls not only the first step of the boot process, but also provides the lowest level interface to peripheral devices. On x86 systems equipped with BIOS, the program is written into read-only, permanent memory and is always available for use. When the system boots, the processor looks at the end of system memory for the BIOS program, and runs it.

Once loaded, the BIOS tests the system, looks for and checks peripherals, and then locates a valid device with which to boot the system. Usually, it checks any optical drives or USB storage devices present for bootable media, then, failing that, looks to the system’s hard drives. In most cases, the order of the drives searched while booting is controlled with a setting in the BIOS, and it looks on the master IDE on the primary IDE bus or for a SATA device with a boot flag set. The BIOS then loads into memory whatever program is residing in the first sector of this device, called the Master Boot Record (MBR). The MBR is only 512 bytes in size and contains machine code instructions for booting the machine, called a boot loader, along with the partition table. Once the BIOS finds and loads the boot loader program into memory, it yields control of the boot process to it.

This first-stage boot loader is a small machine code binary on the MBR. Its sole job is to locate the second stage boot loader (GRUB) and load the first part of it into memory.

F.2.1.2. UEFI-based x86 systems

The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is designed, like BIOS, to control the boot process (through boot services) and to provide an interface between system firmware and an operating system (through runtime services). Unlike BIOS, it features its own architecture, independent of the CPU, and its own device drivers. UEFI can mount partitions and read certain file systems.

When an x86 computer equipped with UEFI boots, the interface searches the system storage for a partition labeled with a specific globally unique identifier (GUID) that marks it as the EFI System Partition (ESP). This partition contains applications compiled for the EFI architecture, which might include bootloaders for operating systems and utility software. UEFI systems include an EFI boot manager that can boot the system from a default configuration, or prompt a user to choose an operating system to boot. When a bootloader is selected, manually or automatically, UEFI reads it into memory and yields control of the boot process to it.

Boot Loader

From the same guide:

F.2.2. The Boot Loader F.2.2.1. The GRUB boot loader for x86 systems

The system loads GRUB into memory, as directed by either a first-stage bootloader in the case of systems equipped with BIOS, or read directly from an EFI System Partition in the case of systems equipped with UEFI.

GRUB has the advantage of being able to read ext2, ext3, and ext4 partitions and load its configuration file — /boot/grub/grub.conf (for BIOS) or /boot/efi/EFI/redhat/grub.conf (for UEFI) — at boot time.

Once the second stage boot loader is in memory, it presents the user with a graphical screen showing the different operating systems or kernels it has been configured to boot (when you update the kernel, the boot loader configuration file is updated automatically). On this screen a user can use the arrow keys to choose which operating system or kernel they wish to boot and press Enter. If no key is pressed, the boot loader loads the default selection after a configurable period of time has passed.

Once the second stage boot loader has determined which kernel to boot, it locates the corresponding kernel binary in the /boot/ directory. The kernel binary is named using the following format — /boot/vmlinuz-kernel-version file (where kernel-version corresponds to the kernel version specified in the boot loader’s settings).

The boot loader then places one or more appropriate initramfs images into memory. The initramfs is used by the kernel to load drivers and modules necessary to boot the system. This is particularly important if SCSI hard drives are present or if the systems use the ext3 or ext4 file system.

Once the kernel and the initramfs image(s) are loaded into memory, the boot loader hands control of the boot process to the kernel.

At this point the kernel takes over:

F.2.3. The Kernel

When the kernel is loaded, it immediately initializes and configures the computer’s memory and configures the various hardware attached to the system, including all processors, I/O subsystems, and storage devices. It then looks for the compressed initramfs image(s) in a predetermined location in memory, decompresses it directly to /sysroot/, and loads all necessary drivers. Next, it initializes virtual devices related to the file system, such as LVM or software RAID, before completing the initramfs processes and freeing up all the memory the disk image once occupied.

The kernel then creates a root device, mounts the root partition read-only, and frees any unused memory.

At this point, the kernel is loaded into memory and operational. However, since there are no user applications that allow meaningful input to the system, not much can be done with the system. To set up the user environment, the kernel executes the /sbin/init program


And then the init process starts:

F.2.4 . The /sbin/init Program

The /sbin/init program (also called init) coordinates the rest of the boot process and configures the environment for the user.

When the init command starts, it becomes the parent or grandparent of all of the processes that start up automatically on the system. First, it runs the /etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit script, which sets the environment path, starts swap, checks the file systems, and executes all other steps required for system initialization. For example, most systems use a clock, so rc.sysinit reads the /etc/sysconfig/clock configuration file to initialize the hardware clock. Another example is if there are special serial port processes which must be initialized, rc.sysinit executes the /etc/rc.serial file.

The init command then processes the jobs in the /etc/event.d directory, which describe how the system should be set up in each SysV init runlevel. Runlevels are a state, or mode, defined by the services listed in the SysV /etc/rc.d/rcX.d/ directory, where X is the number of the runlevel.

Next, the init command sets the source function library, /etc/rc.d/init.d/functions, for the system, which configures how to start, kill, and determine the PID of a program.

The init program starts all of the background processes by looking in the appropriate rc directory for the runlevel specified as the default in /etc/inittab. The rc directories are numbered to correspond to the runlevel they represent. For instance, /etc/rc.d/rc5.d/ is the directory for runlevel 5.

When booting to runlevel 5, the init program looks in the /etc/rc.d/rc5.d/ directory to determine which processes to start and stop.

Here is what I saw in my system:

[root@rhel01 rc5.d]# ls -l
total 0
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 19 Dec 27 17:52 K10saslauthd -> ../init.d/saslauthd
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 20 Dec 27 17:52 K50netconsole -> ../init.d/netconsole
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 21 Dec 27 17:52 K87restorecond -> ../init.d/restorecond
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 15 Dec 27 17:51 K89rdisc -> ../init.d/rdisc
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 22 Dec 27 17:56 S02lvm2-monitor -> ../init.d/lvm2-monitor
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 19 Dec 27 17:50 S08ip6tables -> ../init.d/ip6tables
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 18 Dec 27 17:49 S08iptables -> ../init.d/iptables
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 17 Dec 27 17:52 S10network -> ../init.d/network
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 16 Dec 27 17:56 S11auditd -> ../init.d/auditd
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 17 Dec 27 17:52 S12rsyslog -> ../init.d/rsyslog
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 15 Dec 27 17:52 S25netfs -> ../init.d/netfs
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 19 Dec 27 17:52 S26udev-post -> ../init.d/udev-post
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 14 Dec 27 17:56 S55sshd -> ../init.d/sshd
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 17 Dec 27 17:52 S80postfix -> ../init.d/postfix
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 15 Dec 27 17:52 S90crond -> ../init.d/crond
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 15 Dec 27 17:53 S97rhnsd -> ../init.d/rhnsd
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 19 Dec 27 17:56 S97rhsmcertd -> ../init.d/rhsmcertd
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 11 Dec 27 17:52 S99local -> ../rc.local

and here is my default init level:

[root@rhel01 ~]# tail -1 /etc/inittab

More information from the above guide:

As illustrated in this listing, none of the scripts that actually start and stop the services are located in the /etc/rc.d/rc5.d/ directory. Rather, all of the files in /etc/rc.d/rc5.d/ are symbolic links pointing to scripts located in the /etc/rc.d/init.d/ directory. Symbolic links are used in each of the rc directories so that the runlevels can be reconfigured by creating, modifying, and deleting the symbolic links without affecting the actual scripts they reference.

The name of each symbolic link begins with either a K or an S. The K links are processes that are killed on that runlevel, while those beginning with an S are started.

The init command first stops all of the K symbolic links in the directory by issuing the /etc/rc.d/init.d/command stop command, where command is the process to be killed. It then starts all of the S symbolic links by issuing /etc/rc.d/init.d/command start.

Each of the symbolic links are numbered to dictate start order. The order in which the services are started or stopped can be altered by changing this number. The lower the number, the earlier it is started. Symbolic links with the same number are started alphabetically.

After the init command has progressed through the appropriate rc directory for the runlevel, Upstart forks an /sbin/mingetty process for each virtual console (login prompt) allocated to the runlevel by the job definition in the /etc/event.d directory. Runlevels 2 through 5 have all six virtual consoles, while runlevel 1 (single user mode) has one, and runlevels 0 and 6 have none. The /sbin/mingetty process opens communication pathways to tty devices, sets their modes, prints the login prompt, accepts the user’s username and password, and initiates the login process.

In runlevel 5, Upstart runs a script called /etc/X11/prefdm. The prefdm script executes the preferred X display manager — gdm, kdm, or xdm, depending on the contents of the /etc/sysconfig/desktop file. Once finished, the system operates on runlevel 5 and displays a login screen.

F.2.5. Job definitions

Previously, the sysvinit package provided the init daemon for the default configuration. When the system started, this init daemon ran the /etc/inittab script to start system processes defined for each runlevel. The default configuration now uses an event-driven init daemon provided by the Upstart package. Whenever particular events occur, the init daemon processes jobs stored in the /etc/event.d directory. The init daemon recognizes the start of the system as such an event.

Each job typically specifies a program, and the events that trigger init to run or to stop the program. Some jobs are constructed as tasks, which perform actions and then terminate until another event triggers the job again. Other jobs are constructed as services, which init keeps running until another event (or the user) stops it.

For example, the /etc/events.d/tty2 job is a service to maintain a virtual terminal on tty2 from the time that the system starts until the system shuts down, or another event (such as a change in runlevel) stops the job. The job is constructed so that init will restart the virtual terminal if it stops unexpectedly during that time:

# tty2 - getty
# This service maintains a getty on tty2 from the point the system is
# started until it is shut down again.
start on stopped rc2
start on stopped rc3
start on stopped rc4
start on started prefdm
stop on runlevel 0
stop on runlevel 1
stop on runlevel 6
exec /sbin/mingetty tty2


F.3. Running Additional Programs at Boot Time

The /etc/rc.d/rc.local script is executed by the init command at boot time or when changing runlevels. Adding commands to the bottom of this script is an easy way to perform necessary tasks like starting special services or initialize devices without writing complex initialization scripts in the /etc/rc.d/init.d/ directory and creating symbolic links.

SysV Init RunLevels

F.4. SysV Init Runlevels

The SysV init runlevel system provides a standard process for controlling which programs init launches or halts when initializing a runlevel. SysV init was chosen because it is easier to use and more flexible than the traditional BSD-style init process.

The configuration files for SysV init are located in the /etc/rc.d/ directory. Within this directory, are the rc, rc.local, rc.sysinit, and, optionally, the rc.serial scripts as well as the following directories:

init.d/ rc0.d/ rc1.d/ rc2.d/ rc3.d/ rc4.d/ rc5.d/ rc6.d/

The init.d/ directory contains the scripts used by the /sbin/init command when controlling services. Each of the numbered directories represent the six runlevels configured by default under Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

F.4 .1. Runlevels

The idea behind SysV init runlevels revolves around the idea that different systems can be used in different ways. For example, a server runs more efficiently without the drag on system resources created by the X Window System. Or there may be times when a system administrator may need to operate the system at a lower runlevel to perform diagnostic tasks, like fixing disk corruption in runlevel 1.

The characteristics of a given runlevel determine which services are halted and started by init. For instance, runlevel 1 (single user mode) halts any network services, while runlevel 3 starts these services. By assigning specific services to be halted or started on a given runlevel, init can quickly change the mode of the machine without the user manually stopping and starting services. The following runlevels are defined by default under Red Hat Enterprise Linux:

  • ** — Halt
  • 1 — Single-user text mode
  • 2 — Not used (user-definable)
  • 3 — Full multi-user text mode
  • 4 — Not used (user-definable)
  • 5 — Full multi-user graphical mode (with an X-based login screen)
  • 6 — Reboot

In general, users operate Red Hat Enterprise Linux at runlevel 3 or runlevel 5 — both full multi-user modes. Users sometimes customize runlevels 2 and 4 to meet specific needs, since they are not used. The default runlevel for the system is listed in /etc/inittab. To find out the default runlevel for a system, look for the line similar to the following near the bottom of /etc/inittab:


The default runlevel listed in this example is five, as the number after the first colon indicates. To change it, edit /etc/inittab as root.

As seen above my default runlevel is 3. You can also run the following commands to check your current runlevel:

[root@rhel01 ~]# who -r
run-level 3 2012-12-28 12:44

and also this:

[root@rhel01 ~]# runlevel -v
N 3

RunLevel Utilities

Here are some utilities to configure runlevels and services:

F.4 .2. Runlevel Utilities

One of the best ways to configure runlevels is to use an initscript utility. These tools are designed to simplify the task of maintaining files in the SysV init directory hierarchy and relieves system administrators from having to directly manipulate the numerous symbolic links in the subdirectories of /etc/rc.d/.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides three such utilities:

  • /sbin/chkconfig — The /sbin/chkconfig utility is a simple command line tool for maintaining the** /etc/rc.d/init.d/** directory hierarchy.
  • /usr/sbin/ntsysv — The ncurses-based /sbin/ntsysv utility provides an interactive text-based interface, which some find easier to use than chkconfig.
  • Services Configuration Tool — The graphical Services Configuration Tool (system-config-services) program is a flexible utility for configuring runlevels.

Here is a list of all the services on my machine and which runlevel they start up on:

[root@rhel01 ~]# chkconfig --list
auditd 0:off    1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
crond 0:off 1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
ip6tables 0:off 1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
iptables 0:off  1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
lvm2-monitor 0:off  1:on    2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
netconsole 0:off    1:off   2:off   3:off   4:off   5:off   6:off
netfs 0:off 1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
network 0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
postfix 0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
rdisc 0:off 1:off   2:off   3:off   4:off   5:off   6:off
restorecond 0:off   1:off   2:off   3:off   4:off   5:off   6:off
rhnsd 0:off 1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
rhsmcertd 0:off 1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
rsyslog 0:off   1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
saslauthd 0:off 1:off   2:off   3:off   4:off   5:off   6:off
sshd 0:off  1:off   2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
udev-post 0:off 1:on    2:on    3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off

To change any of the above settings we can check out the help page:

[root@rhel01 ~]# chkconfig --help
chkconfig version - Copyright (C) 1997-2000 Red Hat, Inc.
This may be freely redistributed under the terms of the GNU Public License.

usage: chkconfig [--list] [--type <type>] [name]
chkconfig --add <name>
chkconfig --del <name>
chkconfig --override <name>
chkconfig [--level <levels>] [--type <type>] <name> <on|off|reset|resetpriorities>

And lastly here is a way to shutdown a RHEL machine:

F.5. Shutting Down

To shut down Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the root user may issue the /sbin/shutdown command. The shutdown man page has a complete list of options, but the two most common uses are:

/sbin/shutdown -h now


/sbin/shutdown -r now

After shutting everything down, the -hstrong text option halts the machine, and the -r option reboots. PAM console users can use the reboot and halt commands to shut down the system while in runlevels 1 through 5


Here is more information regarding GRUB:

E.7. GRUB Menu Configuration File

The configuration file (/boot/grub/grub.conf), which is used to create the list of operating systems to boot in GRUB’s menu interface, essentially allows the user to select a pre-set group of commands to execute.

E.7.1. Configuration File Structure

The GRUB menu interface configuration file is /boot/grub/grub.conf. The commands to set the global preferences for the menu interface are placed at the top of the file, followed by stanzas for each operating kernel or operating system listed in the menu. The following is a very basic GRUB menu configuration file designed to boot either Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Microsoft Windows Vista:

title Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server (
root (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz- ro root=LABEL=/1 rhgb quiet
initrd /boot/initrd-

# section to load Windows
title Windows
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

This file configures GRUB to build a menu with Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the default operating system and sets it to autoboot after 10 seconds. Two sections are given, one for each operating system entry, with commands specific to the system disk partition table.

E.7.2. Configuration File Directives

The following are directives commonly used in the GRUB menu configuration file:

  • chainloader /path/to/file — Loads the specified file as a chain loader. Replace /path/to/file with the absolute path to the chain loader. If the file is located on the first sector of the specified partition, use the blocklist notation, +1.
  • color normal-color selected-color — Allows specific colors to be used in the menu, where two colors are configured as the foreground and background. Use simple color names such as red/black.
  • default=integer — Replace integer with the default entry title number to be loaded if the menu interface times out
  • fallback=integer — Replace integer with the entry title number to try if the first attempt fails.
  • hiddenmenu — Prevents the GRUB menu interface from being displayed, loading the default entry when the timeout period expires. The user can see the standard GRUB menu by pressing the Esc key.
  • initrd /path/to/initrd — Enables users to specify an initial RAM disk to use when booting. Replace /path/to/initrd with the absolute path to the initial RAM disk.
  • kernel /path/to/kernel option-1 option-N — Specifies the kernel file to load when booting the operating system. Replace /path/to/kernel with an absolute path from the partition specified by the root directive. Multiple options can be passed to the kernel when it is loaded. These options include:

    • rhgb (Red Hat graphical boot) — displays an animation during the boot process, rather than lines of text.
    • quiet — suppresses all but the most important messages in the part of the boot sequence before the Red Hat graphical boot animation begins.
  • password=password — Prevents a user who does not know the password from editing the entries for this menu option

  • map — Swaps the numbers assigned to two hard drives. For example:

    map (hd0) (hd3)
    map (hd3) (hd0)

    assigns the number 0 to the fourth hard drive, and the number 3 to the first hard drive. This option is especially useful if you configure your system with an option to boot a Windows operating system, because the Windows boot loader must find the Windows installation on the first hard drive. For example, if your Windows installation is on the fourth hard drive, the following entry in grub.conf will allow the Windows boot loader to load Windows correctly:

    title Windows
    map (hd0) (hd3)
    map (hd3) (hd0)
    rootnoverify (hd3,0)
    chainloader +1
  • root (device-type><device-number,partition) — Configures the root partition for GRUB, such as (hd0,0), and mounts the partition.

  • rootnoverify (device-type><device-number,partition) — Configures the root partition for GRUB, just like the root command, but does not mount the partition.
  • timeout=integer — Specifies the interval, in seconds, that GRUB waits before loading the entry designated in the default command.
  • splashimage=path-to-image — Specifies the location of the splash screen image to be used when GRUB boots.
  • title group-title — Specifies a title to be used with a particular group of commands used to load a kernel or operating system.

There is a pretty good article from the Red Hat Magazine: “Using GRUB to overcome boot problems” and in the comments there is an example of how to re-install grub if ever needed. Boot from a cd and type in ‘linux rescue’ after the cd boots, you will have a shell from which you can re-install grub to fix any MBR issues that you may have. Here is how that looks like:

# grub
Probing devices to guess BIOS drives. This may take a long time.

GNU GRUB version 0.97 (640K lower / 3072K upper memory)

[ Minimal BASH-like line editing is supported. For the first word, TAB
lists possible command completions. Anywhere else TAB lists the possible
completions of a device/filename.]

grub> root (hd0,0)
root (hd0,0)
Filesystem type is ext2fs, partition type 0x83
grub> find /grub/grub.conf
find /grub/grub.conf
grub> setup (hd0)
setup (hd0)
Checking if "/boot/grub/stage1" exists... no
Checking if "/grub/stage1" exists... yes
Checking if "/grub/stage2" exists... yes
Checking if "/grub/e2fs_stage1_5" exists... yes
Running "embed /grub/e2fs_stage1_5 (hd0)"... 27 sectors are embedded.
Running "install /grub/stage1 (hd0) (hd0)1+27 p (hd0,0)/grub/stage2 /grub/grub.conf"... succeeded

The first command sets up what device to be used as root. The second command confirms that our device contains the grub.conf file which usually means it will contain the other stage files as well. And lastly the ‘setup’ command actually installs grub onto that device. Here is a similar process from the guide: Reinstalling the Boot Loader

In many cases, the GRUB boot loader can mistakenly be deleted, corrupted, or replaced by other operating systems. The following steps detail the process on how GRUB is reinstalled on the master boot record:

  • Boot the system from an installation boot medium.
  • Type** linux rescue** at the installation boot prompt to enter the rescue environment.
  • Type chroot /mnt/sysimage to mount the root partition.
  • Type /sbin/grub-install bootpart to reinstall the GRUB boot loader, where bootpart is the boot partition (typically, /dev/sda).
  • Review the /boot/grub/grub.conf file, as additional entries may be needed for GRUB to control additional operating systems.
  • Reboot the system. Here are instructions on how to boot into different modes:

Booting into Different Modes

36.1.3. Booting into Single-User Mode

One of the advantages of single-user mode is that you do not need a boot CD-ROM; however, it does not give you the option to mount the file systems as read-only or not mount them at all.

If your system boots, but does not allow you to log in when it has completed booting, try single-user mode.

In single-user mode, your computer boots to runlevel 1. Your local file systems are mounted, but your network is not activated. You have a usable system maintenance shell. Unlike rescue mode, single-user mode automatically tries to mount your file system. Do not use single-user mode if your file system cannot be mounted successfully. You cannot use single-user mode if the runlevel 1 configuration on your system is corrupted. On an x86 system using GRUB, use the following steps to boot into single-user mode:

  1. At the GRUB splash screen at boot time, press any key to enter the GRUB interactive menu.
  2. Select Red Hat Enterprise Linux with the version of the kernel that you wish to boot and type a to append the line.
  3. Go to the end of the line and type single as a separate word (press the Spacebar and then type single). Press Enter to exit edit mode.

And here is emergency mode:

36.1.4 . Booting into Emergency Mode

In emergency mode, you are booted into the most minimal environment possible. The root file system is mounted read-only and almost nothing is set up. The main advantage of emergency mode over single user mode is that the init files are not loaded. If init is corrupted or not working, you can still mount file systems to recover data that could be lost during a re-installation.

To boot into emergency mode, use the same method as described for single-user mode, with one exception, replace the keyword single with the keyword emergency.

Grub Example

Let’s add an entry to our grub.conf menu to have a new entry for recovery mode, but leave the regular mode as the default boot mode. Here is what I had from the default install for my grub.conf file:

[root@rhel1 ~]# cat /boot/grub/grub.conf
# grub.conf generated by anaconda
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE: You have a /boot partition. This means that
# all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /boot/, eg.
# root (hd0,0)
# kernel /vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/mapper/VolGroup-lv_root
# initrd /initrd-[generic-]version.img
title Red Hat Enterprise Linux (2.6.32-131.0.15.el6.i686)
root (hd0,0)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.32-131.0.15.el6.i686 ro root=/dev/mapper/VolGroup-lv_root rd_LVM_LV=VolGroup/lv_root rd_LVM_LV=VolGroup/lv_swap rd_NO_LUKS rd_NO_MD rd_NO_DM LANG=en_US.UTF-8 SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16 KEYBOARDTYPE=pc KEYTABLE=us nomodeset crashkernel=auto quiet
initrd /initramfs-2.6.32-131.0.15.el6.i686.img

Here is entry that I added:

title Red Hat Enterprise Linux Single UserMode (2.6.32-131.0.15.el6.i686)
root (hd0,0)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.32-131.0.15.el6.i686 ro root=/dev/mapper/VolGroup-lv_root rd_LVM_LV=VolGroup/lv_root rd_LVM_LV=VolGroup/lv_swap rd_NO_LUKS rd_NO_MD rd_NO_DM LANG=en_US.UTF-8 SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16 KEYBOARDTYPE=pc KEYTABLE=us nomodeset crashkernel=auto quiet single
initrd /initramfs-2.6.32-131.0.15.el6.i686.img

To the bottom of the file. After I rebooted I saw the following on my GRUB Menu:

grub with single RHCSA and RHCE Chapter 2 System Initialization

Selecting that entry from GRUB yielded in the OS booting into single user mode, like so:

boot single user mode RHCSA and RHCE Chapter 2 System Initialization

Another thing that was mentioned thought the guide is Upstart. RHEL 6 doesn’t have that many service converted to that, but to list the services that are using Upstart to start up you can do the following:

[root@rhel01 ~]# initctl list
rc stop/waiting
tty (/dev/tty3) start/running, process 1339
tty (/dev/tty2) start/running, process 1337
tty (/dev/tty1) start/running, process 1335
tty (/dev/tty6) start/running, process 1352
tty (/dev/tty5) start/running, process 1343
tty (/dev/tty4) start/running, process 1341
plymouth-shutdown stop/waiting
control-alt-delete stop/waiting
rcS-emergency stop/waiting
kexec-disable stop/waiting
quit-plymouth stop/waiting
rcS stop/waiting
prefdm stop/waiting
init-system-dbus stop/waiting
splash-manager stop/waiting
start-ttys stop/waiting
rcS-sulogin stop/waiting
serial stop/waiting