Install Graphical Desktop for ClearOS 7

A desktop environment is useful for certain applications which require a full graphical desktop manager. For simplicity and security, ClearOS comes with only the graphical console for enough Webconfig components to enable remote administration through a web browser.

ClearOS is not designed for desktop managers and installing a full desktop is highly NOT recommended. This howto is only for proof of concept and should never be implemented in a production environment. In addition, only the Community Edition is supported (this will not work in the Home and Business Editions).


You will need to install a great deal of packages and also be able to reboot the system. Because you will need to reboot, you can install the packages remotely over SSH or you can do so at the console by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F2.

Installing Packages

From command line, run the following:

yum update

The purpose of this command is to get the packages up to date from the subscription that you are working from. The installation of the ClearOS Desktop will update packages from additional repositories and you will want to ensure that your system is already up to date to limit the number of packages that will be sourced in your install.

Because different repos are involved in this process that are outside the repos included with your subscription, You may introduce bugs and anomalies that are not tested. As such, doing this next step may invalidate some of the support options that you are entitled to resulting in best effort support
yum --enablerepo=clearos-centos groupinstall "X Window System"
yum --enablerepo=clearos-centos install gnome-classic-session gnome-terminal nautilus-open-terminal control-center liberation-mono-fonts firefox

There will be quite a few packages that get downloaded and installed with these two commands.

Setting the System to Launch Graphically

Run the following from command prompt to unlink the current launch target:

unlink /etc/systemd/system/

Now, link in the graphical system:

ln -sf /lib/systemd/system/ /etc/systemd/system/

Reboot your system:


Logging In

Upon reboot, you should be presented with a grey screen with the day and hour listed at the top. There are also controls for usability, sound, and power functions. In the center of the screen it will say ‘Not listed?’ This is because the system will not list your only user by default under ClearOS, namely ‘root’. Click on ‘Not listed?’ and you will be able to put in the ‘root’ username. Click Next. Supply the password for ‘root’ and then click ‘Sign In’.

Congratulations. If all is working well, your system is now converted to graphical mode with an interactive desktop.

You can even run Webconfig for the local machine by navigating to https://localhost:81 in the Firefox Web Browser.

Because ClearOS will change its certificate that is used for Webconfig after the configuration of the Certificate Manager, we suggest that you do not permanently add the certificate for the Webconfig interface until after that has taken place.

Setting up Remote Access to the Graphical Desktop

Install VNC server and create user

yum --enablerepo=clearos-centos install tigervnc-server
useradd -r vncuser

Setup systemd service parameters from template

cp /lib/systemd/system/[email protected] /etc/systemd/system/vncserver@:1.service

Edit ‘/etc/systemd/system/vncserver@:1.service‘ and replace both entries of with vncuser

Setup vncuser password and service

mkdir -p /home/vncuser
chown vncuser /home/vncuser
su vncuser
vncserver #runonce and press ctrl+d to exit back to root

Setup daemon and configure to run

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl enable vncserver@:1.service

You can now download your favourite VNC viewer to your client (e.g. TightVNC for windows) and connect to your display by using your ClearOS address “hostname:1” or “ipaddress:1”. If you have the firewall enabled you may need to open up port 5901+

It should start automatically after boot, but you can also call manually with:- systemctl start vncserver@:1.service and check status with systemctl start vncserver@:1.service

P.S if you want to change the screen resolution, connect via VNC, and go to top left hand menu Applications → Settings → Displays

Special Considerations — HPE MicroServer Gen10

If you need multi-monitor support for the graphical user interface you MUST install the driver from AMD to support this. This is a secondary driver to the one that comes default on ClearOS. As mentioned, ClearOS does not typically use a monitor for its normal operations so this driver was not included when you installed ClearOS. If your MicroServer came pre-installed with ClearOS then you can find the driver in the /boot/utilities subdirectories but our recommendation is to download the latest version from the ClearCenter FTP site:

  • username: pub
  • password: pub
  • path: pub/MicroServerGen10/drivers


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