How To Change Current/Default Runlevel in CentOS 8 / RHEL 8

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Change Current/Default Runlevel in CentOS 8
Change Current/Default Runlevel in CentOS 8

Since CentOS 7 / RHEL 7, system run levels are replaced with targets and are managed by systemd. Systemd targets are represented by target units and their configuration files end with .target extension.

This systemd target unit file contains other systemd units through a chain of dependencies. For example, the graphical.target which provides graphical console starts GNOME service (gdm.service) and activates the multi-user.target unit.

In this guide, we will see how to change the current/default runlevel in CentOS 8 / RHEL 8.

Available Targets / Runlevels

CentOS 8 / RHEL 8 comes with a number of predefined targets that are more or less similar to the standard set of runlevels found in CentOS 6 / RHEL 6.

Runlevel Target Units Description
0 runlevel0.target / poweroff.target Power off the system.
1 runlevel1.target / rescue.target Single User mode
2 runlevel2.target / multi-user.target multi-user mode.
3 runlevel3.target / multi-user.target multi-user mode.
4 runlevel4.target / multi-user.target multi-user mode.
5 runlevel5.target / graphical.target Graphical mode.
6 runlevel6.target / reboot.target Reboot the system.

Change Default Runlevel

The default runlevel can be set either by using the systemctl command or making a symbolic link of runlevel targets to the default.target file.

1. Using systemctl Command

2. Making Symbolic link of runlevel targets

Using systemctl Command

Let’s check the current run level by running the following command.

systemctl get-default

Output:

graphical.target
Current Runlevel
Current Runlevel

The above output confirms that the system’s current default runlevel is graphical.target (runlevel 5).

To change the default runlevel to runlevel 3 (nothing but a multi-user.target), use the below command.

systemctl set-default multi-user.target
Change Default Runlevel
Change Default Runlevel

Reboot and check it out.

reboot

Verify that the default runlevel is runlevel 3 (multi-user.target) post the reboot.

systemctl get-default

Output:

multi-user.target
Runlevel After Change
Runlevel After Change

Making Symbolic Link of target

Check the current runlevel.

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systemctl get-default

Output:

multi-user.target
Current Runlevel
Current Runlevel

The above output confirms that the system’s current default runlevel is multi-user.target (runlevel 3).

Before making the symbolic link, let’s list out the runlevel files in the systemd directory.

ls /lib/systemd/system/runlevel*target -l
Runlevel Files
Runlevel Files

At this time, the default runlevel is multi-user.target (runlevel 3). Issue the following command to make a symbolic link of runlevel5.target to the default.target file.

ln -sf /lib/systemd/system/runlevel5.target /etc/systemd/system/default.target

or

ln -sf /lib/systemd/system/graphical.target /etc/systemd/system/default.target

Reboot the server and check it out.

reboot

Verify that the default runlevel is runlevel 5 (graphical.target) post the reboot.

systemctl get-default

Output:

graphical.target
Runlevel After Change
Runlevel After Change

Change Current Runlevel

You can switch the current runlevel with the systemctl isolate <name.target> command in the session. To invoke multi-user.target / graphical.target, use the below command.

systemctl isolate graphical.target

OR

systemctl isolate multi-user.target

Conclusion

That’s All. I hope this post helped you to change the current/default runlevel in CentOS 8 / RHEL 8. Please share your feedback in the comments section.

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