HOW-TO: Install CentOS into a Virtual Machine

Posted by SpudDogg - July 25, 2011 - How-to - 1 Comment

Ever wanted to run CentOS to test it out? Maybe you don’t want to fully dual-boot? Well, follow along to put it into a virtual machine. This guide will be aimed at servers, so we’re going to do everything the nitty-gritty way; Servers don’t need mice after all :)

Things you’ll need:
Virtualization (I use VMWare) Player is free, workstation is recommended.

My VM specs:
Removed printers, sound and floppy
Network bridged

Set yours up however you like, just be sure to set it to boot your downloaded CentOS ISO.
Here’s what mine looks like:

Ok, all set up and ready to boot? Lets do it.

When you first power on your VM, you’ll see a screen like this:

Click anywhere in the screen to set your input to the virtual machine, and press enter to bring up the boot menu, shown here:

I like to go with the text-based installer, as this should not need a mouse. It’s a server, not a desktop.
After a while of scrolling text and the machine starting up, you’ll be greeted with this screen:

We’re going to be working on a virtual machine, so there’s no need to VNC into it. Select “Use text mode” here.

Aye, welcome indeed. Press enter and be greeted by language selection.

For me, English. Now select your keyboard layout:

Mine is US, so I select that and press enter. Your VM will check out your drives now. Mine came up and informed me that it needed to be initialized. Keep in mind this is NOT touching your partitions, specifically, it will have no affect on your Windows install. When VMWare creates a drive it’s just an empty space.

I selected “Re-initialize” and am now greeted with a time zone selection screen:

I select America/New York because I’m Eastern.
Now you’re prompted to enter the root password. I assume you know what this is, and the importance of choosing a good, strong one. Please, don’t lose this password.

Enter yours twice, and press OK.
Next up is the partition screen. For this guide, since we’re not doing any dual-booting, we’re just gonna take the easy way here and select “Replace Entire Linux system”

The installer is now telling us that the whole partition will be erased. It’s only a VM, so go for it:

You’ll see the installer create the partitions and file systems, then continue to start copying files over. This might take a few minutes, so take a break if needed.

All set? Well so is the installer.

I got a lot of junk on my screen, but no matter, it’s just a buggy installer as far as I know. Go ahead and reboot!
During reboot, you’ll see a progress bar at the bottom. Kinda cool, so screenie:

So, that’s done. You’re now in your new linux install! No, we’re not done yet, but so far so good right? Let’s continue.
Now we need to set the machine up to be usable. We’ll start with the first item, “Authentication configuration.”

We’re not on a Windows domain here, so LDAP won’t be necessary. I like typical shadow passwords over MD5, so the defaults here are good.

Now you can go through these items one by one and check out all the features. They’re beyond the scope of this drive, so we’re going to skip them. The defaults are pretty good for most users unless you were to be doing something specialized. I’m not, so I’m selecting defaults. In the last menu item, system services, I am however turning off a few features.
Turning off:
CUPS (printing)
Turning on:
For me, the rest of the defaults are fine.

Select “Quit” at the end, and be greeted with a login! You’re installed!

Easy stuff!

You can now log in and start using your system. Watch here for more how-to’s outlining popular functions.

Feel free to post any comments or questions.

One comment

  • Needed a quick solution for quickly queuing, expanding, building, and then the tearing down of cloud servers and this helped get me started.

    Dynamically created servers on-the-fly, on demand, and neatly in a load balanced cluster …. just what the doctor ordered. Needed to handle SDK, stats from live game (multiplayer online/cross platform), downloads, forum activity, pbx software, outbound dialers, and a few other services. THe CLOUD IS GREAT!!

    Thanks for the info, much appreciated as you sparked the inner flame!

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