How to Install LXDE GUI on Ubuntu Linux

The "Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment" is an extremely fast-performing and energy-saving desktop environment alternative for Ubuntu-Mate, Unity, KDE and Gnome. LXDE uses less CPU and less RAM than other environments. LXDE provides a fast desktop experience; connecting easily with applications in the cloud. LXDE supports a wealth of programs that can be installed locally with Linux systems. It contains the basic features for a stripped-down, yet approachable, desktop environment. It doesn’t have a lot of shiny graphical effects or unnecessary features that get in your way. The source code of LXDE is licensed partly under the terms of the GNU General Public License and partly under the LGPL.

LXDE can be installed on many Linux distributions including Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE and Ubuntu. It is the standard for Knoppix and lubuntu.

In this article, we are going to show you its installation on our Ubuntu 15.10

System Update

Login to your Ubuntu server and make sure that you are connected with the Internet, then run the following command to update your system with the latest updates and patches.

# apt-get -y update
# apt-get -y upgrade

Installing LXDE

Now we will install LXDE GUI packages on our Ubuntu server. To do so let's run the command below and then press 'Y' key to proceed the installation of the mentioned below packages including its dependencies.

# apt-get install lxde
Installing LXDE

After taking couple of minutes it will complete the installation process.

Starting LXDE

Now we can start our LXDE environment by selecting either the Lubuntu,MATE or LXDE session from the login screen after logging out the current session.

You will see that each environment differs only in its default settings which comes with different themes, wallpapers and panel layouts. Here’s what our LXDE’s GUI version looks like as shown in image below.

lxde gui


LXDE is very simple and light to use. At the bottom left corner, you’ll find the typical menu button, launcher area, and a workspace switcher. At the right side, you’ll find the typical notification area, clock, and a logout button. It uses the PCManFM file manager which is a lightweight replacement for the Nautilus file manager found in GNOME.

file manager

The “Customize Look and Feel” utility, found under Preferences in the menu, allows you to customize LXDE’s theme and appearance settings.

look and feel

You can also right-click the desktop and select “Desktop Preferences” to customize your desktop wallpaper and appearance settings.

desktop prefrences

Right-click LXDE’s panel and then select “Panel Settings” to customize it. From the Panel Preferences window, you can change its location on the scren, size, and appearance. You can also toggle panel applets and reorder them to your liking.

panel prefrences

There are few other tabs that you can use to adjust your for Panel Aplets as shown in the image below.

panel aplets

There’s also a basic Task Manager, found under System Tools in the menu. It displays total CPU and memory usage and a list of processes. Right-click a process to kill it or change its priority level.

task manager

After completing your work done, you can logout, switch user or power off your system by doing a click on the logout button at the bottom-right corner of the screen.

Removing LXDE GUI

In any case, if you want to completely remove LXDE including its entire list of programs that came installed with it. Run the following command.

$ sudo apt-get --purge autoremove lxde
removing lxde

You can also do the same by opening up the Software Center and look for the package lxde to uninstall it. LXDE is a meta-package, so its installation will install everything lxde, removing it will remove everything that it installed.


LXDE has been on a roll in recent years, winning converts all over the world, but the project recently faced a crisis. The LXDE desktop is based on the Gtk+ version 2 toolkit, the same toolkit that is being used with Gnome. The Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE) is a flyweight among the desktop environments, needing a minimum of just 45MB of memory. The LXDE desktop is light enough to run on low-powered notebooks or older computers with only 128MB RAM and a Pentium II CPU. The LXDE desktop first found its way into the Mandriva and Fedora repositories by 2006, and later it became available for Debian and OpenSUSE. Android and the free router firmware OpenWrt also support LXDE.

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