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In this tutorial, we are going to see how to install four desktop environments for CentOS 7 or older.

1. GNOME Desktop Environment

You can install the GNOME Desktop Environment using this simple command:

yum -y groups install "GNOME Desktop" 

Once the installation is finished, start the GUI using this command:

startx 

If you want to use Gnome Shell instead of the current classic mode, run these commands:

echo "exec gnome-session" >> ~/.xinitrc 
startx

Optional (applicable for other desktop environments shown below)

If you wish to start the GUI automatically without running "startx" from CLI, run this command to get your default target:

sudo systemctl get-default

Then change to GUI using this command:

sudo systemctl set-default graphical.target

Make a reboot. The system will start now the current installed desktop environment.

To revert back to CLI mode, run this command:

sudo systemctl set-default multi-user.target

2. MATE Desktop Environment

To install the MATE Desktop Environment under  CentOS 7, run these commands:

 yum --enablerepo=epel -y groups install "MATE Desktop"

Once the installation is finished, run these commands:

echo "exec /usr/bin/mate-session" >> ~/.xinitrc  
startx

3. KDE Desktop Environment

To install KDE on CentOS 7, run simply these commands:

yum -y groups install "KDE Plasma Workspaces" 
echo "exec startkde" >> ~/.xinitrc 
startx

4. Xfce Desktop Environment

To install Xfce on CentOs 7, run these commands:

yum --enablerepo=epel -y groups install "Xfce" 

Afetr the installation, start the GUI with these commands:

echo "exec /usr/bin/xfce4-session" >> ~/.xinitrc  
startx

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