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Linux Disable X Window System

Q. How do I disable X Window system on boot? I just need text based interface and there is no need to waste resources on X window system. How do I disable X Window under CentOS / RHEL / Red Hat / Fedora Linux?

A. The X Window System (also known as X11 or X) is a windowing system that implements the X display protocol and provides windowing on bitmap displays. It provides the standard toolkit and protocol with which to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs) on most Unix-like operating systems.

Disable X Windows System Under Red Hat / CentOS / Fedora Linux

Open /etc/inittab file, enter:
# vi /etc/inittab
Find the line that read as follows:
Change it as follows:
Save and close the file. Reboot system to test new changes:
# reboot
Run level 5 is used to boot into X Windows (Gnome or KDE GUI managers). Run level 3 is for text (console) based login.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Andres Montalban July 7, 2010, 8:48 pm


    Instead of rebooting you can try this command:

    telinit 3

    This will change run level to 3.

    I hope it helps.

    All the best,
    Andres Montalban

  • bill August 24, 2010, 2:19 pm

    does help if you are not root!!!

  • Raj Kumar Kundu August 30, 2010, 5:35 pm

    i want to disable the xwindow and want to run only one java application at that time..
    only that application window will open after rebooting the system..other all remains locked..what i have to do for that???
    its for Knoppix

  • keving February 10, 2011, 11:48 pm

    is there a way to do this without rebooting?

  • Deepak July 15, 2011, 5:19 am

    telinit 3

    without restart

    Thanks Andres Montalban

  • bunny April 30, 2013, 2:46 pm

    Could someone tell me, once disable the X window system, how to enable it without restarting the Machine all over again?…There are some applications which needs switching back and forth..

    • Rohit October 25, 2013, 6:12 pm

      @bunny please use “#xstart” command for centos/redhat/ubuntu

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