How to start GUI on CentOS/AlmaLinux/Rocky Linux 8

Updated on March 11, 2022

Typically Linux servers don’t provide Graphical User Interface (GUI) as it adds up in RAM & CPU usage. Administrators prefer the command line over GUI to manage the Servers. This article explains how to start GUI on CentOS 8. The same procedure holds good to start GUI on AlmaLinux 8 and Rocky Linux 8 also. Are you looking for how to install desktop and start GUI on Ubuntu machines? Click here

How to start GUI on CentOS 8

Step 1: Update the server

Update the server to ensure that all packages installed on the system are up to date.

# dnf update

Step 2: List all available package groups

List all the available package groups in the repositories of the distribution.

[root@almalinux ~]# dnf grouplist
Last metadata expiration check: 0:05:02 ago on Mon 07 Mar 2022 12:04:16 PM UTC.
Available Environment Groups:
   Server with GUI
   Minimal Install
   Custom Operating System
   Virtualization Host
Available Groups:
   Legacy UNIX Compatibility
   Container Management
   Development Tools
   .NET Core Development
   Graphical Administration Tools
   Headless Management
   Network Servers
   RPM Development Tools
   Scientific Support
   Security Tools
   Smart Card Support
   System Tools

Step 3: Install Server with GUI group package

Identify the Server with GUI entry in the Available Environment Group. Install this group.

# dnf groupinstall "Server with GUI"

Step 4: Verify default boot

The default boot is for non-graphical multi-user

# systemctl get-default

Step 5: Change default boot to graphical mode

The next system boot goes to GUI

# systemctl set-default
Removed /etc/systemd/system/
Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /usr/lib/systemd/system/

Step 6: Reboot the server

# reboot

Once the server is rebooted completely, you’ll find the GNOME login Interface. Log in with your username and password to see the GNOME Desktop Environment.

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