How to change Desktop Environments in Ubuntu 12.10

If you want to change Unity and install anything else (like KDE) in Ubuntu 12.10, then this article is for you. Just copy-paste the commands into your terminal, press enter … wait a little bit for the packages to download and you are ready. Logout, pick your favourite Desktop Environment and log back in.

It’s insanely simple:

Install KDE

sudo apt-get install kde-standard
sudo apt-get install kde-full

Install GNOME 3

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

Install XFCE 4

sudo apt-get install xfce4
sudo apt-get install xfce4-goodies

Install Cinammon

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cinnamon

Install FluxBOX

sudo apt-get install fluxbox

Install E17

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:hannes-janetzek/enlightenment-svn
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install e17

Full Desktop Installation

If you don’t want to download and install the whole package, but just the desktop related features of Ubuntu alternatives, add the following parameter: –no-install-recommends

Migrate to Kubuntu

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends kubuntu-desktop

Migrate to Xubuntu

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends xubuntu-desktop

Migrate to Lubuntu

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends xubuntu-desktop


  1. I followed the directions for installing cinnamin but when I rebooted I still had the unity desktop. Is there some step I am missing?


    1. Restart and at the login screen you should see
      “session”, click to expand and choose your desktop.


        1. In my case (ubuntu 12.10) the options appears after click on the ubuntu logo, up-right to the session form (yeah, really tricky). Then I choose fluxbox…


  2. You should either rename your article to “How to enable ….” or include the most important step of actually changing the desktop environment (logging out, session, etc..) 🙂


  3. This is painful… This part of it is not explained fully anywhere.

    When the box comes up on the screen to login (after you log out) and before you type your password, there is a small Ubuntu logo in the upper right corner of that box. Do a left click on that logo and there will be a selection magically appear that gives you all the choices of desktop environments. Select Cinnamon, or which ever you want, and then type your login password and you will be in that environment.

    You’re welcome….


  4. These work great! Thanks!

    Is there a possibility that there is an LXDE desktop environment I can enable? I would NOT like migrate.

    Like a lot of comments below me say, when you login theres a little Ubuntu button to the top right of the password box. After you logout, click that little Ubuntu button to the top right of your password box. Then select your DE.

    “How can I select the DE while logging into guest account? When I select guest it automatically logs me in, and I don’t have a chance to click the Ubuntu button.”

    A very easy solution to this. Simply don’t use your mouse. Press your down arrow key, and from there you will see that the little Ubuntu button will appear also with a “Login” button as well.

    Hope this helped, and thanks a lot! You guys are an awesome community.


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