How to boot CentOS 7 into Command Line or GUI Mode

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CentOS-LogoIn CentOS 7 we can use the systemctl command to select which mode the OS boots into. If you have a GUI like Gnome or KDE installed, it’s easy to boot directly into your preferred environment.

To find out what mode CentOS is currently using, use this:

systemctl get-default

This will give you one of two “targets”, either

  • multi-user.target (the command line), or
  • graphical.target (the Windows-like GUI)

To change from one to the other, use one of these commands:

systemctl set-default multi-user.target
systemctl set-default graphical.target

What happened to runlevels?

In previous versions of CentOS, switching boot modes was achieved through runlevels. Those were saved in /etc/inittab, but this file is no longer used by CentOS 7 and above. However, the file still exists and contains a little extra info this matter, including how to change boot modes:

# multi-user.target: analogous to runlevel 3
# graphical.target: analogous to runlevel 5
#
# To view current default target, run:
# systemctl get-default
#
# To set a default target, run:
# systemctl set-default TARGET.target


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