Im using linux mint 17.2 with XFCE. My graphical interface went down so i had the stupid idea of going to tty1 and type "startx". Xfce started with a default session look, witch is different than what i got before doing this. It has a differente appeareance. How can i go back to the previus xfce-LinuxMint17 default appearence?

This is the kind of session i have now: enter image description here This is the kind of session appearence i had and want to have now: enter image description here

Session manager only offers Xfce default session and xfce session as options. None of them are giving me the kind of appearence i want.

  • The background image it's using is the Debian logo, so it must be among the stored wallpapers. I'm not sure how the Xfce system configuration settings are organized, but look for a setting for background or wallpaper and you should be able to select the one you want.
    – fixer1234
    Nov 20, 2015 at 17:30
  • That's what I want to know too, sometimes the regular desktop (on tty8?) crashes or freezes and doesn't get going again. Even logging out sometimes freezes before the login screen comes up. Plain startx on a different tty doesn't use any of the regular desktop settings, panel bars, background, anything. Setting new ones would be very time consuming and may overwrite the "normal" settings, or may not get saved anyway. A reboot would fix it, but should be able to kill some processes &/or restart others, but which?
    – Xen2050
    Dec 2, 2015 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


I can confirm I experienced the same issue in Linux 19.3 XFCE edition 5 years after the original question.

The solution was to completely remove the ~/.config/xfce4 directory.

Apparently this folder holds all the session customizations. When you ran 'startx', it completely overwrote mint's default settings with base-xfce's default settings.

Once you delete this directory and reboot, linux mint reverts to its 'out of the box' look. It also automatically generates a fresh ~/.config/xfce4 directory to take its place, with mint's default 'factory' settings. The xfce-default login screen may persist after the first reboot, but rebooting a second time takes care of that as well.

The only downside to this solution, of course, is that any customizations you may have made are also gone now too. E.g., my panel has moved from the top back to the bottom again, as is the factory setting. Nothing tragic, but still a minor annoyance if you'd tweaked your desktop heavily compared to the original.

If this is a deal breaker for you, and you're feeling adventurous, you might try and make a backup of the ~/.config/xfce4 directory before deleting it, and try comparing your backed up configurations with the newly generated ones (e.g. using xxdiff), and try to figure out which files are safe to copy over and which are not.

Hope this helps some future poor shmuck facing the same problem :)

PS. Obviously, I suspect most people who bump into this question will do so after having ran 'startx' already. However, if you haven't yet and are considering doing so to get an emergency graphical interface up, the easiest thing to do is to back up your ~/.config/xfce4 directory first, so that you can safely restore it later.

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