How to install CentOS in Vmware workstation {CentOS 8 64-bit}

In this tutorial, I will show you "How to install Centos in Vmware workstation" without messing around with your host operating system, whether Windows or Linux. Also, you will learn about the installation of groups after minimal CentOS installation.

This post is basically for those people, who already had Windows 10 or Linux installed as the host OS. And need to install Centos 8 version on it as Guest OS. It may be for education, research or exploring new features of the Centos 8 Linux operating system.

Installing any Guest OS is not limited only to Centos Linux, it may be used for any Operating system like Windows 10, Other Linux flavours like Mint, Redhat, AlmaLinux, Suse, Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu etc., and even Solaris, Free BSD, Novell also.

I am using Vmware workstation player 15 (free to use non-commercial) in my tutorial and Centos 8. But Steps are more or less common for installing any operating system. Just need to follow instructions on the screen.

If you already having VMware workstation player 15 installed, good but if not, then you can check my tutorial -

Overview:-

I have selected Ubuntu OS 18.04 LTS as Host operating system, just because it’s open-source (No license required), easy to use, secure, accessible and free to download :-). It has everything, I need to make this tutorial.

The requirement for Centos Installation:-

  • Connect your laptop or Desktop to a power source, so that it won’t get disrupted due to power-related issues
  • Ensure you have downloaded Centos 8 ISO image
  • At least 20GB space for Centos 8 Linux installation
  • Take a backup of data, as an IT professional, I understand data backup is really important, so if you are going to perform any major activity, always take a complete backup of your data.
  • Internet connection, as it requires to download some packages online after installation

Download Centos 8 iso image

Update:- Latest version 8.4.2105 is available on the CentOS website.

Visit the website "http://isoredirect.centos.org/centos/8/isos/x86_64/". Select your Centos mirror link and download Centos 8 ".iso" image as per your preference. I have downloaded "CentOS-8.2.2004-x86_64-minimal.iso" for this post. Also, you have the option to download full package DVD iso.

If your internet bandwidth is really poor, then you can download the .torrent file and download your CentOS 8 ISO file. Please refer screenshot

Download-centos-8

Step by Step installation of CentOS in VMware

Step1 - Create a Virtual machine for CentOS Linux

The first step would be to create a virtual machine to install CentOS 8 in Vmware. So, open VMware workstation player in your host operating system. For example, I am using Ubuntu 18.04 as host operating system.

Click on show applications and search for “VMware workstation player”, then open it.

Search-Vmware-Workstation-ubuntu

Step2 - Start New virtual machine Wizard

Click on Create a new virtual machine, it will start New Virtual machine creation wizard for CentOS

Create-new-virtual-machine-wizard

Step3 - Select media "I will Install operating system later"

On Media selection page, you have three options.

Use a physical drive – if your laptop or PC has CD/DVD drive and you love to burn iso images to CD’s and Dvd’s (old school method). You can select this option. Your physical drive will be visible as /dev/sr0 and you just need to insert the installer disc, you prepared and click on Next.

Use iso image – using this option, you can just browse for your downloaded ISO on your laptop or PC.

  I will install the operating system later – if you are not willing to install Operating system immediately or you are not ready with Burnt CentOS iso CD or image, you can select this option. if you will continue using this option, it will create a new Virtual machine for you. I will select this option, to showcase each and every step involved to install CentOS in VMware workstation -> Click Next.

select-install-operating-system-later

Step4 - Choose Guest OS

Select "Guest operating system" as Linux and Version as "Centos 8 64-bit" in wizard-> Click Next.

select-centos-8-64-bit-in-guest-OS

Step5 - Provide VM Name and Location

Add the name and location of Virtual machine. For example, i have provided name as "Centos 8 64-bit" and location as "/home/dev/vmware/Centos 8 64-bit" -> Click Next.

location-of-centos-Virtual-machine

Step6 - Select Disk size

Now it's time to define your virtual disk size. Generally, 20GB is enough for any Linux flavour installation. For example, I have also selected 20 GB disk size and split virtual disk into multiple files.-> Click Next.

Quick explanation of options -

Store virtual disk as a single file – you can select this option, but I won’t recommend this as managing a large file of 20GB or more would be difficult, in case you want to copy or move this VM to other PC or laptop.

Split virtual disk into multiple files –  management of Virtual machine disk file is easy but may have some performance impact due to large files.

split-virtual-disk-of-centos-8-VM

Step7 - Review and Customize hardware

On the next screen, click on Customize hardware and increase RAM size from 1024 MB to 2048 MB. Because it's recommended memory for CentOS Virtual machine.

customize-virtual-machine-hardware
edit-centos-8-virtual-machine-memory

Click close and finish.

Step8 - Install Centos 8 from iso image on Virtual machine

Once your Virtual machine is ready, now you need to provide the path of Centos 8 iso image. For that, you need to click "Edit virtual machine settings"

edit-centos-8-virtual-machine

Select CD/DVD and then click on use iso image option. Afterwards, click browse and provide path to your Centos 8 iso image.

Then click save.

provide-Centos-iso-image-path

Step9 - Power on virtual machine

Click "Power on" to boot your virtual machine.

power-on-VM-to-Install-centos-in-Vmware-workstation

Once virtual machine is powered on and successfully started booting from ISO - Select "Test this Media and install Centos Linux 8".

install centos 8 option

So now you may think, why I have not selected "install Centos Linux 8" option? So the answer is, you may encounter package missing errors as shown in the picture. Probably due to graphics and VM tools packages are not found. We need to go with a basic graphics installation to avoid this error. Also, make a note, we are doing an installation with CentOS 8 minimal iso.

Problem in request:
missing packages: gcc,ftp, open-vmtools, mesa-libxatracker, xorg-x11-drv-vmware, authselect-compat
missing groups or modules: @guest-desktop-agents, @desktop-debugging, @inputs-methods, @internet-browser, @java-platform, @multimedia, @print-client
Centos package missing error during installation

Step10 - Choose "Install CentOS Linux 8 in Basic Graphics mode"

On the next screen, Choose "Install CentOS Linux 8 in basic graphics mode". Once we are done with minimal installation. Later, we will install the required package group and graphics in this post.

Install-centos-in-vmware-with-basic-graphics-mode

As soon as you select option and press enter, it will start booting.

starting-installer-to-Install-centos-in-Vmware-

Step11 - Select Centos 8 installation options

Once you get Installation Wizard, Select your preferred language. For example, I will select English (United States). Click continue.

select-language-during-centos-install-in-vmware

Step12 - Select partitioning and Root password

On the installation summary page, you have different options like Software, System, language support, Software selection and K dump. For example, I will keep all options default, which includes automatic partitioning also.

To get the option of "Begin installation", You need to select "Installation Destination" showing warning (Yellow patch).

Additionally, if you don't want to perform minimal installation, you can select the preferred group from "Software selection" option. In this illustration, I will keep it default (server) and later, will show you, how to install groups with yum command.

Centos-Installation-summary-wizard

Once you select the Installation Destination option, in the storage configuration section. Choose Automatic and click Done. If you are new to Linux, I would suggest you keep partition as Automatic. Otherwise, you can choose "custom" and select partition size as per your need.

automatic-storage-partition-during-Install-centos-in-Vmwae

click on Begin installation, once you are out of partitioning window.

Install-centos-in-Vmware-workstation-wizard

On the Next screen, Setup root password, as it's mandatory for security. Also, you have the option to create extra user, Because log in with root is never suggested due to security concerns.

creating-disl-labels-auto-partition
setup-root-password-during-Install-centos-in-Vmware

click done, Installation will take some time. You just Sit back, relax and enjoy your tea or coffee..

Step13 - Reboot your VM

Once installation finishes, click on "Reboot".

Install-centos-in-Vmware-workstation-completed

How to Activate and configure CentOS 8 network

Now Centos installation has been completed and you have logged in with your user. Let's activate the network interface.

Most of the us who are new to Linux, skip this step and really wonder later for these common issues or questions.

  • Not able to see an IP address in CentOS Linux
  • Unable to connect the internet or ping any website
  • How to activate the network in CentOS?

So this steps is really important, on - How to enable and activate network interface in CentOS 8 after installation

Step14 - Run "nmtui" command to setup Network

Run command "nmtui" from CentOS prompt. Then, you will see interactive "Network Manager TUI" console.

[root@localhost]# nmtui
# in case of sudo user
[root@localhost]$ sudo nmtui
Edit-centos-8-network-connection

Click "activate a connection" and select your network interface (ens33 in my case). Then, click activate.

configure-centos-8-network

Click back and then select Quit. You are done.

You can also use this wizard to provide the manual IP address or setting up the hostname for your CentOS 8 Linux. For example, you can click on "Edit a connection" and then selecting DHCP or manual in the provided field. You can also disable or enable IPV6 using this option.

Disable-IPv6-centos-network-interface

Select automatically connect and the press OK -> Back and then Quit.

Run ifconfig command to check IP address.

[root@localhost]# ifconfig -a
or 
[root@localhost]$ sudo ifconfig -a
Check-IP-Address-centos-8

How to list and install groups in CentOS 8

Step15 - List available Groups

Now we are done with the minimal installation with server related package. So if, you are not a fan of CLI and want GUI. Then, there are options to install groups.

To check group run this command from root user or sudo user

[root@localhost]# yum group list
or
[root@localhost]$ sudo yum group list

Once it will sync up packages metadata, you will get list of groups and environment groups available. For example,

  • Server with GUI
  • Minimal installation
  • Workstation
  • Virtualization Host
  • Custom operating system

You can select your preferred environment group, i will select "server with GUI" for this post.

list-groups-to-Install-centos-in-Vmware-workstation

Run Yum command to install "Server with GUI" environment group.

[root@localhost]# yum group install "Server with GUI"
or
[root@localhost]$ sudo yum group install "Server with GUI"
Install-centos-in-Vmware-workstation

This command will download and install all server packages and GUI (GNOME) desktop packages, you require.

If you don't want to install a complete environment group and only selected group is required. For example, only GNOME desktop need to install in Centos after minimal installation. Then run

[root@localhost]#  yum group install "GNOME"
or
[root@localhost]$ sudo yum group install "GNOME"

Once installation is done, you can run startx command to start GUI.

[root@localhost]# startx 
or
[root@localhost]$ sudo startx

Once Desktop is available, select your language and click Next.

select-your-preferred-language

Select keyboard layout and click Next. Then switch on or switch off your location services in wizard and click next.

As a final step, Connect your online account, if you want.

Connect-your-online-accounts-centos-8

Congratulation!! your done with installation, which includes all server packages and GNOME desktop.

How to install VMware Tools on Centos 8

CentOS minimal installation and GNOME desktop environment must have completed to this point. Now, you must also know VMware tools. These tools are really important for the guest operating system. Because it helps to improve functionality and management of Virtual machine.

It helps to reduce problems like -

  1. Display related (low resolution, colour depth etc.)
  2. Restricted mouse movement and abrupt clicks
  3. Sound issues
  4. Copy-paste issues
  5. Network related issues and many more.

These steps are shown using VMWare workstation player 16.

When you install CentOS 8, By-default Open-VM tools are installed with Virtual machine. But in case it's not installed or got removed.

Follow these steps -

Install or update Vmware tools in CentOS using CLI

Before installation of VMware tools, let's check VMware tools options available in VM settings-

-> To check these options,

Click on Player > Manage > Virtual machine settings

Virtual-machine-settings

Or you can just press "Ctrl + D" to open virtual machine settings.

A.) Update automatically - If you will select this option, you just need to click on Download and install. It will automatically install or update VMtools in Centos.

B.) Update manually (do nothing) - This option will download Vmware tools and you have to manually install it in your CentOS 8

C.) Use application default (Currently update manually) - Same as Option B.

VMware-tools-updates-options

-> Select your preferred option and save. I will select "update manually" to show you complete steps.

Step16 - How to check VMware tools version

Check for any existing version of VMware tool installed. Run command

# vmware-toolbox-cmd -v
check-VMware-tools-version

In case you don't have VMware tools installed or want to install from scratch. Follow these steps-

Step17 - Install VMware tools in CentOS 8

-> Log in to the virtual machine using root or sudo account

-> Run dnf or yum command to install VMware tools

# dnf install open-vm-tools
or 
# yum install open-vm-tools
install-vmware-tools-centos

-> Once installation completes successfully. Then, Restart your Virtual machine.

-> Check VMtools version as shown in step 16

How to remove VMware tools from CentOS 8

To remove or uninstall VMware tool from CentOS. Follow theses steps-

Step18 - Run dnf or Yum command to remove VMware tools

To remove existing VMware tools from CentOS, use dnf or yum command. The yum command is going to be obsolete soon. So start practising for dnf to install or remove packages in CentOS

# dnf remove open-vm-tools
or
# yum remove open-vm-tools
remove-vmware-tools-centos

Issue: - VMware tool installation asking root password again and again

if you are trying to install Vmware tools and it's asking for root password again and again. While you are giving the correct password, still it's failing.

To resolve this, you just need to start Vmware workstation player with Root privileges from Terminal of your host operating system.

How to Install CentOS in VMware workstation player (CentOS Linux 8)

Video

If you still have any difficulty, you can refer to this video on "How to install CentOS in Vmware workstation" further.

Conclusion

I hope, after reading this post on "How to install Centos in Vmware workstation", you will be able to install CentOS in VMware as a VM on your machine, without any mess. Additionally, you are free to explore its features, if you are a novice to Linux or CentOS.

Please share it on your social media and leave your thoughts by your comments.

Further readings

2 thoughts on “How to install CentOS in Vmware workstation {CentOS 8 64-bit}”

  1. After looking at 4 other web sites all claiming Centos installation on vmware workstation yours was successfully. Thank you.

    1. Hi Bob,
      Happy to know and that's the motto of my site. Writing content only after testing and I attach screenshots and video also for my readers.

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