As root, edit /etc/inittab
Find the line that says:
Change it to say:
Just change the 5 to a 3. Sets the default runlevel to 3.
It'll come up in text mode (Run Level 3).
Log in, then use the command "startx" to start up the GUI.
When you shutdown X, you'll be back at a CLI.
Use: "shutdown -h now" as root or "halt" as any user to power down from the command line.
(yes, I know you likely already know some if not all of this - but there're others reading....)