How to install CentOS in text mode

CentOS installer is based on Anaconda, which can offer two different modes of installation: GUI-based installation and text-mode installation. CentOS iso is available in three formats: LiveCD, minimal and netinstall. Depending on which format of CentOS you are using for installation, you can choose GUI-based and/or text-based installation.

GUI-based installation may be inconvenient when you are installing CentOS through a slow remote console. Text-based installation may be necessary also when the video card of your hardware is not capable enough, or the amount of RAM on your hardware is not sufficient. If you would like to install CentOS without GUI for whatever reason, go ahead with text mode installation. Here I will show how to install CentOS in text mode.

If you want to go for text-based installation, you need to use either netinstall or LiveCD format of CentOS iso file.

Install netinstall version of CentOS in text mode

After booting with netinstall iso, you will see the first welcome screen with different dropdown menus for 60 seconds, as shown below. At this point, press "ESC".

Then you will see the blank screen with "boot:" prompt as shown below. Type "linux text" at the prompt and enter. The rest of the installation steps will proceed in text mode.

Install LiveCD version of CentOS in text mode

If you are using LiveCD of CentOS, installing CentOS in text mode is straightforward. At the initial welcome screen, simply choose "Install (Text Mode)".

Note that the text-mode installation does not allow you to fully customize CentOS system as in GUI-based installation. For example, the text-mode installation does not ask you to specify the host name of the machine during installation. You have to manually set up the hostname after installation. Also, it does not allow you to choose the type of installation (e.g., Desktop, minimal, web server, etc) you want. It will go ahead and install a minimal version of CentOS.

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Dan Nanni is the founder and also a regular contributor of Xmodulo.com. He is a Linux/FOSS enthusiast who loves to get his hands dirty with his Linux box. He likes to procrastinate when he is supposed to be busy and productive. When he is otherwise free, he likes to watch movies and shop for the coolest gadgets.
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3 thoughts on “How to install CentOS in text mode

  1. Hi,

    I found this link on internet. it is pretty informative. I am learning Linux and have some questions. I want to know if there are limitations in text mode installation for Linux. What is the use of text mode installation for Linux? Why is it preferred over GUI mode?

    • Keyboard-driven text mode installation is convenient as it does not require high resolution display or much RAM. Also when you use automated installation methods such as Anaconda or Kickstart, text mode installation is faster and more reliable for a wide deployment.

      Besides, some video cards may have difficulty booting into the GUI-based installation when CentOS installer is not able to auto-detect the video cards. In that case, text-mode installation will be the only option.

  2. Another reason is if you have a server that will be predominantly headless. No reason to add all that unused software that may add security problems long-term.

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