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I do not normally install the GUI on CentOS so I am not sure on how to exit it, You can set the system to boot into the command line only run level instead of the Gui one, or if you have no reason to have a GUI installed reinstall as a minimal installation or server installation.
Skip all the stuff about Grub and read the stuff about editing inittab. Then you will boot to the command line, from which you can log in and start the GUI with the command "startx." When you exit the GUI, you will be back at the command line.
You will need to shutdown or reboot by issuing the appropriate command to the command line as root.
CentOS is just like other Linux. If ctrl+alt+F[1-6] do not work for you, there is probably something wrong with your keyboard. As said above, you usually don't install GUI on an headless server. Booting into run level 3 is the best option. Run levels are different "step" of the linux boot process and are usually looking like this
1-Single user mode, only one shell and no notwork. Little to no services are started
2-Base system, only necessary services
3-Networking (all default services) <--Usual server setup
4-Unused, if you need to have some kind of maintenance mode, built it in this unused level
You can select which mode to boot on by appending 1,2,3,4 or 5 in the bootloader kernel line. You can also switch at runtime using the rc command or /etc/init.d/xdm stop with super user privileges (su). You can use the "yum" command line tool to remove xorg, this is the name of the gui.
"CentOS is just like other Linux. If ctrl+alt+F[1-6] do not work for you, there is probably something wrong with your keyboard."
thanks...it was my keyboard...actually has a f lock needed to trigger f function keys...working fine now thanks
went to the command line but couldnt startx again...error...had to restart my vm...wil look into this
dost NOT shutdown or turn off X11
it just opens a tty
to turn OFF X11 you need to set "id:5:initdefault:" to " "id:3:initdefault:" in /etc/inttab ( and reboot)
run "telinit 3 " as root
the locating for telinit is NOT in the normal users $PATH
it IS in root's $PATH