Install GNOME GUI on RHEL 6 and 7 Linux Server


If you have performend a RHEL 7 Linux Server installation and did not include Graphical User Interface (GUI) you can do it later directly from command line using yum command and selecting an appropriate installation group. To list all available installation groups on Redhat 7 Linux use:

[[email protected] ~]# yum group list
Loaded plugins: product-id, subscription-manager
This system is not registered to Red Hat Subscription Management. You can use subscription-manager to register.
There is no installed groups file.
Maybe run: yum groups mark convert (see man yum)
Available environment groups:
   Minimal Install
   Infrastructure Server
   File and Print Server
   Basic Web Server
   Virtualization Host
   Server with GUI
Available Groups:
   Compatibility Libraries
   Console Internet Tools
   Development Tools
   Graphical Administration Tools
   Legacy UNIX Compatibility
   Scientific Support
   Security Tools
   Smart Card Support
   System Administration Tools
   System Management

From the above list select Server with GUI installation group:

[[email protected] ~]# yum groupinstall 'Server with GUI'
Transaction Summary
Install  261 Packages (+604 Dependent packages)

Total download size: 527 M
Installed size: 1.7 G
Is this ok [y/d/N]: 

Just because gnome desktop environment is a default GUI on RHEL 7 linux system the above command will install gnome. Alternatively, you can run the below command to only install core GNOME packages:

[[email protected] ~]# yum groupinstall 'X Window System' 'GNOME'

Once the installation is finished, you need to change system’s runlevel to runlevel 5. Changing runlevel on RHEL 7 is done by use of systemctl command. The below command will change runlevel from runlevel 3 to runelevel 5 on RHEL 7:

[[email protected] ~]# systemctl set-default

Depending on your previous installations you may need to accept Redhat License after you reboot your system. Once you boot to your system you can check GNOME version using:

[[email protected] ~]# gnome-shell --version
GNOME Shell 3.8.4


  1. If you are not already root, switch users to the root account:
    su -
    Provide the administrator password when prompted.
  2. If you have not already done so, install the X Window System and a graphical desktop environment. For example, to install the GNOME desktop environment, use this command:
    yum groupinstall "X Window System" Desktop
    To install the KDE desktop environment, use:
    yum groupinstall "X Window System" "KDE Desktop"
    This step may take some time as your Red Hat Enterprise Linux system downloads and installs additional software. You may be asked to provide the installation media depending on your original installation source.
  3. Run the following command to edit the /etc/inittab file:
    vi /etc/inittab
  4. Press the I key to enter insert mode.
  5. Find the line that includes the text initdefault. Change the numeral 3 to 5.
  6. Type :wq and press the Enter key to save the file and exit the vi text editor.
Reboot the system using the reboot command. Your system will restart and present a graphical login.