How to Install XFCE on Linux Mint

How to Install XFCE on Linux Mint

We’re here to learn how to install XFCE on Linux Mint and discuss one of the most widely used desktop environments. So keep reading to know more!

XFCE: The Basics

XFCE is a user-friendly desktop environment for Linux, Solaris, and BSD. It is a high-speed, efficient, lightweight desktop, user-friendly, and GTK toolkit-based environment. When you install XFCE, it comes built-in with practical applications. 

The distinctive feature of this desktop environment is that it consumes very few system resources. Such as central processing unit (CPU) cycles and random access memory. 

Hence, it is highly recommended for old computers. The environment is written in C and has a range of features, such as extensive support for icons and palettes. It also has a revamped setting manager, thunar file manager, an improved windows manager, and power manager features in recent versions. 

The following are the main features of XFCE:

  • It is a free and open-source operating system
  • It is available for Linux and Linux-like operating systems
  • It is straightforward to use, lightweight, and fast, hence recommended for systems with low resource configurations
  • It is based on Linux’s conventional notion of modularity and reusability
  • It is written in C by Olivier Fourdan

How to Install XFCE on Linux Mint

XFCE is a lightweight and fast desktop environment with an appealing graphical user interface. Now that we’ve discussed what the environment for Linux Mint is capable of, let’s dive deep into how you can install and run it on your machine.

Installation of XFCE on Linux Mint

Following are the steps you should perform to install XFCE on Linux Mint. Note that Linux Mint comes in three editions, i.e., Cinnamon, MATE, or XFCE.

Check the current desktop environment.

The very first step is to check the current desktop environment. For this purpose, run the following command on the Terminal:


You may see the current desktop environment as X-Cinamon. 

Update Linux Mint

As the next step, you can update the Linux Mint environment by using the following command:

$ sudo apt update

Install XFCE desktop on Linux Mint

After the system is updated, you can install the XFCE desktop environment by issuing the following command on the Terminal:

$ sudo apt install xfce4

You can also install the XFCE goodies along with the XFCE by issuing the following command:

$ sudo apt install xfce4 xfce4-goodies -y

Here, XFCE4 is a meta package that provides an XFCE desktop environment. Whereas XFCE goodies provide additional plugins, standalone applications, and artwork that are not part of the standard package. The following command may also be used to install XFCE:

$ sudo apt install task-xfce-desktop -y

The previous command should install XFCE smoothly. Additionally, you may be asked to provide a display manager that gives graphical login to Linux distribution.

Hint: It’s recommended to select the lightdm display manager

Switch to the XFCE environment

After the installation of the XFCE environment, you can now switch it by using the following command:

$ sudo systemctl set-default

This command will create a symlink.

Reboot your system

Now, reboot the system. You can use the following command to reboot the system from the Terminal:

$ sudo reboot

Once the system is restarted, you will be presented with a login screen. From this login screen, select the XFCE session. You can do this by clicking on the button adjacent to your username and selecting the ‘XFCE Session’ option from the pull-down menu. Then provide login information.

Verify if the desktop has been changed

At this point, we shall verify if the desktop environment has been switched to XFCE. We will run the same command we issued earlier in the first step that determines the current desktop environment. 



You should now see the output of the previous command as XFCE. This means the current desktop environment has been switched.

Removing the XFCE desktop from the system

There are times when you may want to remove the current desktop environment. You can issue the following command to remove the current desktop environment (i.e., XFCE):

$ sudo apt-get purge --autoremove xfce4

GUI-based options for installation and uninstallation of XFCE

Note that there are graphical user interface-based options for installing XFCE from the synaptic package manager. From the package manager, search for XFCE and apply the changes. Follow the self-explanatory options for the installation of XFCE. 

Hint: Both approaches to installation (i.e., discussed the e. command line and GUI based) will pull in and install all necessary dependencies. But be prepared just in case the two desktop environments cause any conflicts. So, if you want the XFCE desktop, installing that version of Mint at the beginning is the right approach.

Similarly, you can remove XFCE (if desired) via the synaptic package manager. Simply select the XFCE and choose Mark for complete removal. Then click on Apply to remove XFCE from your system altogether.

And that’s about it for this write-up. Here, we discussed the steps to check the current desktop environment, the XFCE desktop environment installation, and the steps to remove the XFCE environment. 

If this guide helped you, please share it.

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