Checklist for new KDE desktop


Input Devices: For keyboard, you might like to have NumLock on startup. For mouse, you may preferdouble-clicks to open things. For touchpad, check out the settingsfor multi-touch, e.g., use two fingers to scroll, use two-finger tap for right click. (These touchpad settings are enabled by default, but what good are they if you’re not aware of them?)

Font Management: If you have more fonts, add them here (say because you’re dual-booting with Windows,and you’ve mounted your NTFS partition).

Application Appearance: Speaking of fonts, some people say they’re ugly in KDE. If you agree, go to Application Appearance, Fonts, and enable Anti-Aliasing.

Workspace Behavior: Under Virtual Desktops, if you check Different Widgets, you can have a different wallpaper for each desktop, which is a nice visual reminder of which one you’re on. Under Workspace, if you set the Dashboard to show an independent widget set, you can keep your desktops clean, if that helps you concentrate, but still have your favorite widgets a click away. (I like a terminal, system monitor, and weather widget on the dashboard. For weather I download YaWP, because the default weather widgets sync to a European website and time out here in the US. Ialso like a folder widget for whichever folder contains my current project.)

Desktop Effects: Under All Effects, theDesktop Cube isn’t enabled. It’s just a goofy toy with its defaultkey, but if you set it to activate on Alt-Z and terminate when the mouse stops moving, it becomes an easy way to scan your desktops, and it’ll soon become second-nature. Of course, it works best with 4 desktops.

Startup and Shutdown: Under Session Management, the default is restore previous session. If you rebooted because your session was getting buggy, that could bring it back with the same bugs. So consider changing it to restore manually saved sessions – that’ll create an item on the launcher menu under Leave(but not on the right-click menu for Leave) to save a session, if you need KDE to remember your place because you’re out of power.


Clean desktop: If you want to auto-hide the panel, right click on it and choose panel options.

Activities Widget: So you have a set of four desktops, and now you make another set, because you need different widgets on them, then this little guy lets you switch between the sets. If you don’t need multiple sets of desktops,though, then you can remove the activity switcher.

Dashboard Widget: Add it, if you put all your big widgets on the dashboard, because it’s easier than a three-way keystroke.

Trash Widget: Makes it easy to empty.

Stealth Cashew: If the little yellow “cashew” in the corner bugs you on an otherwise-clean desktop, right click, add widgets, click Get New, and download Stealth Cashew.(If it doesn’t work, install every Ruby package that has anything to do with Qt or KDE).

Desktop shortcuts: Even if you don’t use Folder View to the desktop folder on an actual desktop, you can still drag *.desktop shortcuts onto the panel. This is different fromdragging a menu item onto the panel! With a menu item, if you edit it (say to add some switches to the command), it changes the version in the actual menu, too. So the trick is, drag that menu item into the desktop folder first, then edit.

Did I miss anything? Add it to the thread.


I am not sure what the intention of this thread is. In any case I do a lot of things completely different. E.g. I switch off desktop effects. I would never go for double click, that is a Microsoft invention I never understood and that never was a feature in X. And so on and so on.

So when it is your intention to list the possibilities to adapt the desktop to your choice, this is a slight beginning. And maybe one of your suggestions might be a positive surprise to some people. But IMHO your way of living is always different from the way others want to use their system.

Thanks for the criticism, Henk. Looks like my post needs an introduction, and I certainly don’t mean to come across as telling other people how they should use KDE, only a brief checklist of options that are worthy of investigation, without saying “open every menu and see what it does.” My motivation came from setting up a new laptop, remembering how my old laptop worked but not remembering exactly how I got it that way. I think I’ll make another stab at a checklist-style post when I have more time to make it more clear, as long as I can do so while keeping under a page and a half.

I agree with Henk, that we all do things differently.

Here’s my checklist:

1: Disable Apper (Startup & Shutdown → Service Manager and uncheck the Apper box)
2: Switch to “Restore a manually saved session” (Startup & Shutdown → Session Management)
3: Set KDEWallet to stay open
4: Set the auto-repeat timer for keyboard to around 900 ms
5: Turn numlock on at login
6: Turn off “Dim display” in power settings (but switch off display is okay). This mainly because Intel graphics drivers can cause system freezes on brightness change.
7: Window Behavior - switch to “Focus follows mouse” with auto-raise.

In the past, I’ve disabled desktop effects. At the moment, I’m experimenting with them, but I’ll probably disable again at some time.

For KDE there isn’t much to do as I use the same /home after a new install.

Only thing to using KDE settings is the login behaviour, which is in fact not a user’s desktop, but s system thing. But kdm is most easily configured through KDE Settings (switch list off, set a default user for those systems that are mostly used by one user).
As I do not install Apper, users are not troubled by the choice to switch it off or not :wink:

One of the things I remember that I configured (and that will stick because of the continued use of the home directory and thus of ~/.kde4 and the like) is setting language, date/time formating (2014-08-15 22:30), currency, and the like localisation (this because I install systemss in English forr my better understanding, but use the desktop in Dutch).

And different wall papers for the two desktops I use, so I can see at a glance which one is active.

And, as as said, desktop effects off. I do not see what purpose they have.