How to Install XFCE desktop in Ubuntu 20.04


Xfce or XFCE is a free and open-source desktop environment for Linux and Unix-like operating systems. It is a lightweight, highly customizable desktop environment for the Linux platform.

Xfce aims to be fast and lightweight while still being visually appealing and easy to use. Xfce embodies the traditional Unix philosophy of modularity and re-usability. It consists of separately packaged parts that together provide all functions of the desktop environment, but can be selected in subsets to suit user needs and preference. Another priority of Xfce is adherence to standards, specifically those defined at

Many Linux users choose to use it over other flashy options as it stays out of the way and uses very little memory. In this article, we’ll try to install it to a Ubuntu 20.04 system.

XFCE Installation in Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

To install the XFCE desktop on a Ubuntu 20.04 system we can use the apt install command. Unlike Debian with its bells and whistles, we'll install vanilla XFCE 4 in our Ubuntu 20.04. This is due to Ubuntu has its own flavor of XFCE, called Xubuntu.

$ sudo apt install xfce4 xfce4-terminal

XFCE Installation

XFCE Installation

It will ask for confirmation. We can press "Y" followed by "Enter" to continue with installation.

The system will then downloads all required packages and installed all of them. This process could take few minutes, depends on your internet connection speed.

In the middle of the installation process, it will ask you to choose between gdm3 and lightdm for your display manager. I'm using lightdm in this article.

Display Manager Selection

Press "Enter" to continue with installation. Once the XFCE installation finished, let's restart the machine.

$ sudo shutdown -r now

Once the system back online, you'll greeted by a login screen. Login using your credential as usual.


Click at the Ubuntu logo in the right side of your username to change your session with XFCE.

XFCE 4 Session

Don't forget to enter your password.

XFCE4 Session

Welcome to your new XFCE 4 Desktop.

XFCE4 Session

Next time you start your computer, your login screen should be updated.

XFCE4 Session

Voila! We've successfully installed XFCE 4 to our Ubuntu 20.04 system.

Final Words

I hope that you now know how to install XFCE 4 in Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa. If you run into any issues or have any feedback feel free to drop a comment below.

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