Completely switch from XFCE to KDE

I recently consider to switch from XFCE to KDE for better HiDPI support. I found there is a wiki guide for such task:
However, this article is pretty old. Not sure that whether it still valid now.
What should do for installing the latest plasma?

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Follow the wiki instructions you found.

There seems to be many inaccurate information. For instance, my current XFCE uses lightdm instead of mdm, and I can’t find kdm in the official stable repository. From some point since last year, plymouth was deprecated by bootsplash as well. So I’m wondering whether there may be also some changes to something like KDE applications selections, or even the path to some configuration files.

If it were me I’d back up important files and do a fresh install.


This article is maintained:

That will walk you through installing kde.

Once you are done and everything is working, you can remove xfce. To provide help with that we need to know if you have the gtk3 variant of xfce installed.

Can we see the results of the command
pacman -Qqs xfce

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Thanks. I’m using the regular gtk2 xfce from stable repository.
Here’s the output of pacman -Qqs xfce:


I’ll try to migrate DE on the weekend.

Install kde first and then you can remove while in kde?. You have to chose witch desktop manager to use.

I also installed kde and removed xfce the output with me: stian@stian2-pc:~/Downloads » pacman -Qqs xfce
libxfce4util .

Only one “xfce” package pacman didnt want me to remove.

Once you have installed kde/plasma and sddm following the instructions from the wiki I linked earlier, you can remove xfce with the following command. Make sure kde is working first.

sudo pacman -Rsc xfce4 xfce4-goodies lightdm blueman

I can confirm the same switch on my laptop went unexpectedly well. Apart for some theme issues I tracked down, everything in Plasma is working as if it was the original DE!! :sunglasses::star_struck:

Plasma has its own settings for almost everything in user space and GUI. If there is something (setting, env etc.) that interferes, it can be overridden easily.

I tried installing plasma and everything is great until I uninstalled xfce. After executing:
sudo pacman -Rsc xfce4 xfce4-goodies lightdm blueman
I rebooted my computer. I can see the login screen and type password to login. However, it only shows me the wallpaper. That’s it. I can still switch to other TTY. What should I check for troubleshooting?

Blindly using the commands suggested by others without understanding exactly what you are doing will lead to issues like this, particularly if you are attempting to switch DEs on the fly.

You installed a system with a package profile tailored for XFCE, the KDE package profile is simliarly tailored. Changing DEs in this context is not a simple hot swap, there is more involved, as you are now finding out.

If you want to continue as it would be a good learning experience then well and good, but if you simply want a functioning KDE system up and running quickly then backup your data and re-install.


Thanks. That is why I would like to confirm whether this is feasible before completely switching DE. Nevertheless, I used another account to login and it worked, and then I went back to use my main (admin) account to login and it seems work again. I’ll keep watching whether there is any weird behaviour.
I actually considered to make a clean reinstall. However, just think about so much effort I need to put on setting everything up (Not only for me but also my family), I would prefer some quick though dirty way.
By the way, KDE Plasma is great! I should have chosen it at the first place.

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I really wish well meaning members of the community would stop giving advice to newbs that its fine to install multiple DE’s, (or add then remove DE’s).

Just because an experienced Linux user can manage this, does not mean the average novice is up for the challenge. By all means exleriment and break your system if you want to learn Linux. Just don’t expect to come on the forum and find assistance for a mess you created.

This leads to lengthy help requests on the forum that take up major support time for issues that are created by the multiple DE scenario. Most users rarely ever mention the fact they have done this when a support thread is opened. After many, many, posts it is finally discovered the reason the issue has arisen is because of installing multiple DE’s. This is a total waste of the limited time members have to help on support issues.

Please stop advising newbs that installing multiple DE’s is OK. It may be fine for experienced Linux users, but newbies are rarely up for the challenge. We have more support issues than we can handle on the forum and this only makes matters worse.

Rant over.


Thanks for your advice. I guess you’re right. My current system feels like a Frankenstein to me. Many things don’t function right. I guess reinstallation is the best option at the moment. I should have performed such task on weekend.:rofl:

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The xfce to kde transition is really a painless one. On top of that xfce is one of the easiest DEs to remove afterwards.

I do all my kde/plasma installs by installing the xfce version and then removing it because it is quicker to do that than a kde minimal install via architect. The full kde version is one of the most bloated and most difficult to clean-up. With that switch in particular I have never had any issues that required troubleshooting or any Linux expertise at all.

That being said, not every DE switch is as clean.

I agree that trying to run multiple DEs can be complicated or in some cases, just not possible/practical.

On the other hand, I wish people would stop making DE switches seem like a big dramatic event when they are actually fairly easy in most cases. Desktop switches are not nearly as big of a deal as people make them out to be for most of the desktops. The biggest risks are failing to remove a package or some strangeness with config files in ~. When things don’t work out, creating a new user account usually resolves all the issues.

I am a firm believer that there are very few situations requiring a reinstall for Manjaro.

What is not functioning correctly?


Generally that I often failed to login. After typing password, it just shows a wallpaper and nothing more. Many weird behaviours including lots of error message saying some missing dependencies, though they are just minor problems.
I did a clean reinstall today with the new-released kde iso. I wish that I had time to troubleshooting and get back a usable DE but I really need to get things done quickly.
By the way, I found that the first created admin account always has more problem than the other created user account. For example, the WiFi connection initialises very slow when login with my admin account, but the initial connection goes very fast with the other account. When I was using XFCE, it also seems that the admin account has more problem for example, locale setting, icon scaling, etc.
KDE Plasma is great! Easier to set up most of the task than XFCE in my opinion. It just feels like a little complicated when there are too many settings to play with.


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