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From project home page:

The "Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment" is an extremely fast-performing and energy-saving desktop environment. Maintained by an international community of developers, it comes with a beautiful interface, multi-language support, standard keyboard short cuts and additional features like tabbed file browsing. LXDE uses less CPU and less RAM than other environments. It is especially designed for cloud computers with low hardware specifications, such as, netbooks, mobile devices (e.g. MIDs) or older computers.


LXDE is considered modular, meaning that you have considerable choice over which packages you need to install. The minimum required packages which you have to install to run LXDE are lxde-common and openbox (or another window manager).

Most users will wish to install the full desktop which can be installed by installing the lxde group from the official repositories. The LXDE desktop is comprised of the following packages (plus any dependencies):

  • gpicview - Lightweight image viewer
  • libfm - Library for file management
  • lxappearance - Utility to configure themes, icons and fonts for GTK+ applications
  • lxappearance-obconf - Plugin for LXAppearance to configure Openbox
  • lxde-common - Default settings for integrating different LXDE components
  • lxde-icon-theme - Icon theme for LXDE
  • lxdm - Lightweight display manager
  • lxinput - Small program to configure keyboard and mouse for LXDE
  • lxlauncher - Application launcher mainly for netbooks
  • lxmenu-data - Collection of files intended to adapt freedesktop.org menu specification
  • lxmusic - Lightweight XMMS2 client
  • lxpanel - Desktop panel for LXDE
  • lxpolkit - Simple polkit authentication agent for LXDE
  • lxrandr - Screen manager
  • lxsession - Standard-compliant X11 session manager with shutdown, reboot and suspend support
  • lxshortcut - Small program used to edit application shortcuts
  • lxtask - Lightweight task manager
  • lxterminal - Lightweight terminal emulator
  • menu-cache - Daemon which automatically generates the menu for LXDE
  • openbox - Lightweight, standard-compliant and highly-configurable window manager typically used with LXDE
  • pcmanfm - Default lightweight file manager for LXDE which also provides desktop integration

Starting the desktop

Graphical log-in

LXDM is the default display manager for LXDE and is installed as part of the lxde group. It is still in the early stages of development.

Other display managers such as LightDM and GDM also work well with LXDE.


To use startx, you will need to define LXDE in your ~/.xinitrc file:

exec startlxde

If you want to run startx at boot automatically, take a look at the Starting X at boot guide.

See xinitrc for details, such as preserving the logind session.

Tips and tricks

Application menu editing

The application menu works by resolving the .desktop files located in /usr/share/applications. Many desktop environments run programs that supersede these settings to allow customization of the menu. LXDE has yet to create an application menu editor but you can manually build them yourself if you are so inclined. Third party menu editor can be found in AUR - lxmedAUR

To add or edit a menu item, create or link to the .desktop file in /usr/share/applications, /usr/local/share/applications, or ~/.local/share/applications. (The latter two have the advantage of putting your application outside of directories governed by pacman.) Consult the desktop entry specification on freedesktop.org for structures of .desktop files.

To remove items from the menu, instead of deleting the .desktop files, you can edit the file and add the following line in the file:


To expedite the process for a good number of files you can put it in a loop. For example:

$ cd /usr/share/applications
$ for i in program1.desktop program2.desktop ...; do cp /usr/share/applications/$i \
/home/user/.local/share/applications/; echo "NoDisplay=true" >> \
/home/user/.local/share/applications/$i; done

This will work for all applications except KDE applications. For these, the only way to remove them from the menu is to log into KDE itself and use it's menu editor. For every item that you do not want displayed, check the 'Show only in KDE' option. If adding NoDisplay=True will not work, you can add ShowOnlyIn=XFCE.

Auto mount

Please consult the File_manager_functionality#Auto-Mount_Removable_Media article for information regarding automounting.

Autostart programs

There are a number of different ways to autostart applications in LXDE as described below.

Openbox autostarting

By default, Openbox is the window manager for LXDE, so Openbox autostarting affects LXDE as well. See the main article for more details: Openbox#autostart.

Desktop files

First you can link a program's .desktop in /usr/share/applications/ file to ~/.config/autostart/. For example, to execute lxterminal automatically at startup:

$ ln -s /usr/share/applications/lxterminal.desktop ~/.config/autostart/

Once .desktop files have been added you can manipulate them with the GUI configuration tool lxsession-editAUR.

Autostart files

You can also autostart applications by using a ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE/autostart file. This file is not a shell script, but each line represents a command to be executed. If a line begins with a @ symbol, the command following the @ will be automatically re-executed if it crashes. For example, to execute lxterminal and leafpad automatically at startup:

Note: The commands do not end with a & symbol.

There is also a global autostart file at /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart. If both files are present, all entries in both files will be executed.


Mouse and key bindings (i.e. keyboard shortcuts) are implemented with Openbox and are described in detail here. LXDE users should follow these instructions to edit the file ~/.config/openbox/lxde-rc.xml

An optional GUI for editing the key bindings is obkeyAUR available in the AUR. The default edit for obkey is rc.xml, but you can direct it to the LXDE configuration as follows:

$ obkey ~/.config/openbox/lxde-rc.xml

More information on obkey is here.


Main article: Cursor Themes.

lxappearance provides functionality to change cursor themes.

Digital clock applet time

You can right click on the digital clock applet on the panel and set how it displays the current time. For example, to display standard time instead of military time in the format of HH:MM:SS:


And in YYYY/MM/DD HH:MM:SS format:

%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S

If you wish to display standard time with and AM/PM:

%I:%M %p

See the man page on strftime (3) for more options.

Font settings

To set the main font, you can use lxappearance. For other fonts you will need to use the Openbox configuration tool obconf.

Keyboard layout

See Keyboard Configuration in Xorg for generic instructions.

See #Autostart programs for a way to automatically start setxkbmap in LXDE.

Add the “Keyboard Layout Switcher” to the panel

  1. Right-click on your taskbar
  2. Choose “Add/Remove panel items”
  3. Choose “Add”
  4. Choose “Keyboard layout switcher”

Screen locking

It is recommended that you use xscreensaver for screen locking in LXDE. To start it click on the Screensaver option in the settings section of the LXDE menu and when asked if you want to run the daemon click yes. Xscreensaver will be added to the /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart file automatically meaning that it will be started every time you log in with no manual intervention required. Please consult the Xscreensaver wiki article for more information on configuration.

Disabling screen blanking without installing a graphical screensaver

If you do not want to install a graphical screensaver you can still disable screen blanking by adding these lines below to ~/.xinitrc before the exec command.

xset s off &
xset -dpms &

lxpanel icons

Default icons used by lxpanel are stored in /usr/share/pixmaps and any custom icons you want lxpanel to use need to be saved there as well.

You can change default icons for applications by taking the following steps:

  1. Save the new icon to /usr/share/pixmaps
  2. Use a text editor to open the .desktop file of the program whose icon you want to change in /usr/share/applications.
  3. Change



Network Management

It is recommended that you use NetworkManager for connecting to and managing networks in LXDE.


PCManFM is the standard file manager in LXDE.

Replacing the default window manager

Openbox, the default window manager of LXDE, can be easily replaced by other window managers, such as fvwm, icewm, dwm, metacity, xfwm4, compiz, etc.

LXDE will attempt to use the window manager defined in the user lxsession configuration file ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE/desktop.conf. If it does not exist, it will then attempt to use the window manager defined in the global configuration file /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/desktop.conf.

Within one of these files replace the openbox-lxde command with the window manager of your choice. For example:


For metacity:


For compiz:

window_manager=compiz ccp --indirect-rendering

Shutdown, reboot, suspend and hibernate options (LXSession-logout)

Ensure that the package upower is installed. Then simply choose the required option from the logout dialogue which can be accessed from the panel.


SSH key management

A very lightweight solution to ssh key management can be found by using keychain. See the using keychain article for details.

NTFS with chinese characters

For a storage device with an NTFS filesystem, you will need to install the NTFS-3G package. Generally, PCManFM works well with NTFS filesystems, however there is one bug affecting NTFS users that if you have files or directories on an NTFS filesystem, the names of which contain non-latin characters (e.g. Chinese characters) may disappear when opening (or auto-mounting) the NTFS volume. This happens because the lxsession mount-helper is not correctly parsing the policies and locale options. There is a workaround for this:

Remove the /sbin/mount.ntfs-3g which is a symbolic link.

# rm /sbin/mount.ntfs-3g

Create a new /sbin/mount.ntfs-3g with a new bash script containing:

/bin/ntfs-3g $1 $2 -o locale=en_US.UTF-8

And then make it executable:

# chmod +x /sbin/mount.ntfs-3g

Add or edit the following line to /etc/pacman.conf under the [options] tag to prevent modification of this file in case of upgrading:

NoUpgrade = sbin/mount.ntfs-3g

KDM and LXDE Session

As of KDE 4.3.3, KDM will not recognize the LXDE desktop session. To fix it:

# cp /usr/share/xsessions/LXDE.desktop /usr/share/apps/kdm/sessions/

GTK+ warnings with lxsession 0.4.1

When starting GTK+2 programs you may get the following message:

GTK+ icon them is not properly set

This usually means you do not have an XSETTINGS manager running. Desktop environment like GNOME or XFCE automatically execute their XSETTING managers like gnome-settings-daemon or xfce-mcs-manager. This is caused by the migration of lxde-settings-daemon config files into lxsession. If you made customizations to these config files, you are in need of merging those config files:

  • /usr/share/lxde/config
  • ~/.config/lxde/config


  • /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/desktop.conf
  • ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE/desktop.conf

Alternatively, you can use lxappearance from the community repository to fix this.

See also