Xfce Wiki

Sub domains

Getting Started with Xfce


Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for unix-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and light on system resources, while still being visually appealing and easy to use.

Xfce embodies the traditional UNIX philosophy of modularity and re-usability. It consists of a number of components that provide the full functionality one can expect of a modern desktop environment. They are packaged separately and you can pick among the available packages to create the optimal personal working environment.

Another priority of Xfce is an adherence to standards, specifically those defined at freedesktop.org.


The Xfce project officially only releases source code for the desktop environment. However, binary packages may have been contributed by other people for your OS or distribution.

Detailed instructions on compiling Xfce yourself can be found here.

Using Xfce

Getting Started

Login Manager

Xfce4-session installs a file that should add an option for login managers to run and Xfce session. The Xfce Desktop Environment does not have its own DM, but various options are available like gdm, slim, lxdm and lightdm.

Command line

Use startxfce4 to start an Xfce session or choose Xfce Session from the login manager, which includes the session manager, the panel, the window manager and the desktop manager. See auto login from console for more information.

By default the Xfce session manager manages the startup of applications. It allows you to save your session when you quit Xfce, so that the next time you log in, the same applications will be started for you automatically.

The Default Desktop

The Xfce Desktop Environment is not a single entity that provides all functionality, but rather it tries to adhere to the old UNIX tradition of small tools that do one job and do it well.

Default Xfce session, with desktop manager and panel

When you start the Xfce session for the first time, several applications are started by the Xfce session manager:

Panel~/DesktopmanualmanualSettings Manager

Common Tasks

This section will explain how to perform several common tasks to quickly get you started working with Xfce. Because that is what Xfce is designed for, to allow you to get work done.

Running programs

Desktop Manager manualAlt-F2Run Program...

Managing windows and workspaces


Using the settings manager dialog

The settings manager dialog provides access to the global preferences of many Xfce applications. You can run it by pressing its launcher on the panel, from the desktop mouse menu or by running xfce4-settings-manager.

Dialogs to change many aspects of the Xfce Desktop Environment are available. See the separate manuals of the Xfce components for more information. It may be interesting to have a quick look at all the dialogs to find out what options are available that allow you to create the best possible working environment.

Further Reading

This user guide has only given a very general overview of the Xfce Desktop Environment. More information is available in the manuals of the separate components of Xfce.

this means it will show up on all workspaces