Centos Installation Step By Step

admin14 April 2024Last Update :

Understanding CentOS and Its Versions

CentOS, which stands for Community ENTerprise Operating System, is a Linux distribution that provides a free, enterprise-class, community-supported computing platform functionally compatible with its upstream source, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Before diving into the installation process, it’s crucial to understand the different versions of CentOS available. As of my knowledge cutoff in early 2023, CentOS Linux 8 reached its end-of-life at the end of 2021, and users are encouraged to migrate to CentOS Stream or another operating system.

CentOS Stream vs CentOS Linux

CentOS Stream is a rolling-release Linux distribution that sits between Fedora and RHEL in the RHEL development process. It provides a preview of what the next minor RHEL update will look like. CentOS Linux, on the other hand, was a rebuild of RHEL, providing binary compatibility with its upstream source but without the support and certification from Red Hat.

Prerequisites for Installing CentOS

Before starting the installation process, ensure you have the following:

  • A compatible computer or server.
  • Minimum hardware requirements: 2 GB RAM, 20 GB disk space, and a 64-bit processor.
  • An internet connection for downloading the CentOS ISO file and updates.
  • A USB drive with at least 8 GB capacity or a blank DVD for creating bootable media.
  • Access to the BIOS/UEFI settings to change the boot order.

Downloading the CentOS ISO Image

The first step is to download the appropriate CentOS ISO image from the official website or a mirror site. Choose between minimal, DVD, or everything ISO images based on your needs. The minimal ISO contains just enough to get started, while the DVD and everything ISOs include additional packages.

Creating Bootable Media

Once the ISO file is downloaded, create a bootable USB drive using tools like Rufus or dd command on Linux. For example, to create a bootable USB on Windows using Rufus:

  • Insert the USB drive into your computer.
  • Open Rufus and select the downloaded ISO file.
  • Choose the appropriate partition scheme and file system.
  • Click ‘Start’ to begin the process.

On Linux, you can use the dd command as follows:

sudo dd if=/path/to/downloaded.iso of=/dev/sdX bs=4M status=progress

Replace ‘/path/to/downloaded.iso’ with the path to your ISO file and ‘/dev/sdX’ with your USB device.

Booting from the Installation Media

After creating the bootable media, insert it into the target machine and reboot. You may need to enter the BIOS/UEFI settings to set the USB drive as the first boot option. Save changes and exit, and the machine should boot from the installation media.

Beginning the CentOS Installation Process

Upon booting from the installation media, you’ll be greeted by the CentOS installer menu. Here you can choose to test the media before installing or proceed directly to the installation.

Selecting Language and Keyboard Layout

The first screen after starting the installer is the language selection. Choose your preferred language and keyboard layout, then click ‘Continue’.

Installation Summary Screen

The Installation Summary screen is where you configure most of the installation settings:

  • Date & Time: Set your time zone and enable network time synchronization if desired.
  • Keyboard: Add or remove keyboard layouts.
  • Language Support: Add additional languages if needed.
  • Software Selection: Choose the software you want to install. Options range from a minimal install to server environments with GUI.
  • Installation Destination: Select the disk where CentOS will be installed and configure partitions if necessary.
  • Network & Hostname: Enable your network interfaces and set a hostname for your system.
  • Security Policy: Apply security policies based on your organization’s standards (optional).

Partitioning the Disk

When configuring the Installation Destination, you can let the installer automatically partition the disk or do it manually. Manual partitioning allows you to customize the size and type of partitions according to your needs. A typical setup might include a root (‘/’) partition, a swap partition, and a home (‘/home’) partition.

Beginning the Installation

After configuring all settings, click ‘Begin Installation’. While the installation proceeds, you’ll be prompted to set a root password and create a user account. Ensure the root password is strong and secure, and consider giving the new user administrative privileges by making them a sudoer.

Completing the Installation

Once the installation is complete, you’ll see a notification prompting you to reboot the system. Remove the installation media and press ‘Reboot’. Your system should now boot into your freshly installed CentOS environment.

Post-Installation Setup

After the initial boot, you may want to perform some post-installation tasks such as updating the system, installing additional software, and configuring services. Use the yum or dnf package managers to update and install packages:

sudo dnf update
sudo dnf install package_name

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I upgrade from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream?

Yes, it is possible to migrate from CentOS Linux to CentOS Stream. Red Hat provides an official guide on how to switch your system to CentOS Stream.

Is CentOS suitable for desktop use?

While CentOS is primarily used as a server operating system, it can also be configured for desktop use. However, distributions like Ubuntu or Fedora might offer a more user-friendly experience for desktop users.

What should I do if the installation fails?

If the installation fails, review the error messages provided by the installer. Common issues include hardware incompatibility, corrupted installation media, or insufficient system resources. Verify your hardware meets the requirements and try creating the bootable media again.

How do I access the BIOS/UEFI settings?

Accessing BIOS/UEFI settings usually involves pressing a key during the boot process, such as F2, F10, DEL, or ESC. The specific key varies by manufacturer and should be displayed briefly when the computer starts.

Can I install CentOS on a virtual machine?

Yes, CentOS can be installed on virtual machines using hypervisors like VMware, VirtualBox, or KVM. The installation steps are similar to those for physical hardware.


For further reading and detailed guides, please refer to the following resources:

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