Getting Started

You can install CentOS with an installation utility called Anaconda. Most users can simply follow the procedure outlined in Interactive Installation to install CentOS using the graphical interface in Anaconda.

Users with advanced requirements can also use the graphical interface to configure many aspects of the installation, and install CentOS on a wide variety of systems. On systems without a local interface, installation can be accessed entirely remotely. Installation can also be automated by using a Kickstart file, and performed with no interaction at all.

Graphical Installation

The CentOS installer, Anaconda, provides a simple graphical method to install CentOS. The graphical installation interface has a built-in help system which can guide you through most installations, even if you have never installed Linux before. However, Anaconda can also be used to configure advanced installation options if required.

Anaconda is different from most other operating system installation programs due to its parallel nature. Most installers follow a linear path; you must choose your language first, then you configure networking, and so on. There is usually only one way to proceed at any given time.

In the graphical interface in Anaconda you are at first only required to select your language and locale, and then you are presented with a central screen, where you can configure most aspects of the installation in any order you like. While certain parts require others to be completed before configuration - for example, when installing from a network location, you must configure networking before you can select which packages to install - most options in Anaconda can be configured in any order. If a background task, such as network initialization or disk detection, is blocking configuration of a certain option, you can configure unrelated options while waiting for it to complete.

Additional differences appear in certain screens; notably the custom partition process is very different from other Linux distributions. These differences are described in each screen’s subsection.

Some screens will be automatically configured depending on your hardware and the type of media you used to start the installation. You can still change the detected settings in any screen. Screens which have not been automatically configured, and therefore require your attention before you begin the installation, are marked by an exclamation mark. You cannot start the actual installation process before you finish configuring these settings.

Installation can also be performed in text mode, however certain options, notably including custom partitioning, are unavailable. For more information, see Installing in Text Mode (x86) if using a AMD64/Intel 64 system or Installing in Text Mode (ppc) if using an IBM Power Systems server.

Remote Installation

You can use the graphical interface remotely to install CentOS. For headless systems, Connect Mode can be used to perform a graphical installation completely remotely. For systems with a display and keyboard, but without the capacity to run the graphical interface, Direct Mode can instead be used to facilitate setup. For more information, see the Using VNC.

Automated Installation

Anaconda installations can be automated through the use of a Kickstart file. Kickstart files can be used to configure any aspect of installation, allowing installation without user interaction, and can be used to easily automate installation of multiple instances of CentOS.

In most situations, you can simply follow the procedure outlined in Automatic Installation to create and configure a Kickstart file, which can be used to perform an arbitrary number of non-interactive installations of CentOS.

Kickstart files can be automatically created based on choices made using the graphical or text mode interface, or written from scratch using any text editor. For more information, see Creating a Kickstart File.