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What is IceWM?

In Unix computing, IceWM is a window manager for the X Window System graphical infrastructure, written by Marko Maček. It was coded from scratch in C++ and is released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License. It is relatively lightweight in terms of memory and CPU usage, and comes with themes that allow it to imitate the UI of Windows 95, OS/2, Motif, and other graphical user interfaces. (Source: Wikipedia)


IceWM is available in [extra] and therefore easily installable:

# pacman -S icewm

Alternatively, the latest version from the testing branch (Template:Package AUR) and CVS version (Template:Package AUR) are available from the AUR. These versions add new features such as RandR support.


Although IceWM configuration is originally text-based, there are GUI-based tools available, notably icewm-utils in [community]. However these tools are relatively old and most users prefer to simply edit the text configuration files.

To change your icewm configuration from the default, simply copy the default configuration files from /usr/share/icewm/ to ~/.icewm/, for example:

Note: Do this as a regular user, not as root.
$ mkdir ~/.icewm/
$ cp -R /usr/share/icewm/* ~/.icewm/

Template:Filename is the core configuration file for IceWM. Template:Filename controls the contents of the IceWM application menu. Template:Filename allows the user to customize keyboard shortcuts.


MenuMaker (available in [Community]) is a Python script that automatically populates your applications menu based on what is installed in your system. Although this may result in a menu filled with many unwanted applcations, it may still be preferable to manually editing the menu configuration file. When running MenuMaker, use the -f flag to overwrite an existing menu file:

# mmaker -f icewm


Although some themes are included by default, there is a much larger and better selection in the verified icewm-themes package in the repository. Although many have a spartan, 'old Windows' feel, some (ElbergBlue, liquid, etc.) have a more modern look.

You can also visit for more themes.

File Managers

It should be noted that IceWM is a window manager only and therefore does not include a file manager. PCManFM and Rox Filer enable desktop icons, but iDesk can also be used to achieve this functionality.

Related Articles

External Resources