How to Install Xfce on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

The Xfce desktop environment is a popular alternative to the default GNOME desktop environment with many Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. Xfce is designed to be fast, lightweight, and highly customizable, making it an excellent choice for users who want a more efficient and personalized computing experience.

In addition to its performance benefits, Xfce offers a wide range of features and customization options that allow users to tailor their desktop environment to their needs. Whether you’re looking for a more streamlined and efficient desktop or want a change of pace from the default GNOME environment, Xfce is worth considering.

Some of the key benefits of using Xfce include the following:

  • Faster performance: Xfce is designed to be quick and efficient, making it an excellent choice for older or less powerful computers.
  • Lightweight design: Xfce uses fewer system resources than other desktop environments, so your computer will run more smoothly and efficiently.
  • Customization options: Xfce comes with a wide range of customization options, including the ability to change the wallpaper, modify the panels, and switch between different icon sets.
  • High compatibility: Xfce is compatible with many applications and runs on most Linux distributions.
  • User-friendly interface: Xfce has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate, even for new users.

This guide will walk you through installing the Xfce desktop environment on Ubuntu 22.04 (Jammy Jellyfish) or Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa LTS) using the command line terminal. This is perfect for users looking for a lightweight, uncluttered, and straightforward alternative to their current desktop environment.

Step 1: Update Ubuntu

Before starting the installation process, it’s important to ensure that your system is up-to-date. Open a terminal and run the following command.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Step 2: Install Xfce

The next step is to install the Xfce desktop environment on Ubuntu. Run the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt install xfce4 xfce4-goodies

Once you have completed the installation of the Xfce desktop environment, the final step is to restart your system. This can be quickly done by entering the following command into your terminal.


Step 3: Log in to XFCE Desktop Environment

After restarting your desktop, you’ll be brought to the login screen. Before logging in, you’ll need to switch to the Xfce desktop environment. To do this, click on the settings icon in the top right corner of the screen and select “Xfce Session” instead of the default “Ubuntu (Default).” With this simple change, you’ll be able to log in to your newly installed Xfce desktop environment and explore all its features and benefits.

Example (Click Image Expand):

Now that you’ve successfully installed the Xfce desktop environment on Ubuntu, it’s time to explore its unique features. Upon logging in, you’ll immediately notice several visual changes, including a color scheme and background change. Despite its lightweight design, Xfce offers a sleek and modern user interface.

To fully experience the power of Xfce, it’s important to make a few simple configurations for your system. One of the first things you should do is customize your desktop background and other visual elements, such as color schemes and icon sets. Additionally, check out popular Xfce features like the panel, window manager, and application launcher, which can be customized to meet your specific needs.

Another great thing about Xfce is its wide range of popular applications and tools, such as the Thunar file manager, the Xfce Terminal, and the Xfce Calculator. These applications have been designed to work seamlessly with the Xfce desktop environment, ensuring users’ smooth and seamless experience.

Xfce Desktop Screenshots

These screenshots give a glimpse into the Xfce desktop environment on Ubuntu. It’s worth noting that while different versions of Ubuntu or software updates may cause slight changes to the appearance, these images still offer a general idea of what your desktop may look like once you’ve installed Xfce.

Example (Desktop View):


This article showed you how to install the Xfce desktop environment on Ubuntu 20.04. Xfce is a fast and lightweight desktop environment that offers plenty of customization options. Following the steps outlined in this guide, you can have Xfce up and running on your Ubuntu system in no time. For further information on using the Xfce desktop environment, visit the official documentation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I switch back to the GNOME desktop environment on Ubuntu?

To switch back to GNOME, log out of your current Xfce session. Click on the gear icon on the login screen and select GNOME from the drop-down menu. Log in to your GNOME desktop environment.

Can I use Xfce and GNOME at the same time on Ubuntu?

Yes, you can have multiple desktop environments installed on the same system and switch between them as needed.

Why should I use Xfce on Ubuntu?

Xfce provides a lightweight and efficient alternative to GNOME’s default desktop environment. By choosing Xfce, you can enjoy a cleaner and faster desktop that still provides all the essential features you need.

Can I use Xfce with Ubuntu, a low-end or older computer?

Yes, Xfce is designed to be lightweight and efficient, making it ideal for older or low-end computers that may struggle with more resource-intensive desktops.

How does Xfce compare to other desktop environments like GNOME or KDE?

Xfce is designed to be more lightweight and efficient compared to other desktop environments like GNOME and KDE, which are more resource-intensive. Xfce prioritizes system resources and speed over aesthetics, making it ideal for users who prioritize these features.

How much RAM does Xfce use on Ubuntu?

The amount of RAM used by Xfce on Ubuntu will vary depending on the applications you have running, but it is typically less demanding than other desktop environments like GNOME. Xfce generally requires around 200 to 300 MB of RAM to run smoothly. This makes it a good option for users with limited resources, such as those with older computers or those who use their computers for basic tasks. However, it’s important to remember that more demanding applications require more memory.

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