Fedora / CentOS / RHEL Linux change default desktop or display manager

Posted on in Categories , , , last updated November 9, 2007

Q. How do I change default desktop / display manager under CentOS or Fedora Linux? I’d like to change default GNOME to KDE as desktop manager for all users.

A. There is a configuration file called /etc/sysconfig/desktop. This file defines default display manager and desktop name.

Display manager can be any one of the following:
[a] gnome (gdm)
[b] kde (kdm)
[c] xdm (xdm)

Desktop can be any one of the following
[a] KDE
[b] GNOME
[c] XFCE

Change Desktop from Gnome to Kde

Open /etc/sysconfig/desktop file:
# vi /etc/sysconfig/desktop
Set DESKTOP variable to kde:
DESKTOP="KDE"
DISPLAYMANAGER="KDE"

Save and close the file.

Now kde will be used for all users as desktop system. You can also accomplish this on a per-user basis by using the desktop switcher application from the extra preferences menu, or just type the command:
$ switchdesk kde

See also:

=> Quick way to switch from KDE to GNOME or viceversa

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

1 comment

  1. Im pretty sure you have to change the display manager to kdm
    desktop=kde
    display manager=kdm
    you were on the right track, I just rememeber when I changed it last that I had to change the diplay manager to kdm and not kde, but that was in Suse
    let me know if I’m wrong

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