What is a Window Manager?
A window manager is the software than runs your desktop environment, handling windows, menus, toolbars, accessories and the overall look-and-feel of your login session.
Unlike Windows and OSX, Linux lets you choose whatever window manager you want - and there are several to choose from here at CSE.
How do I change my Window Manager?
The easiest way is to click the 'Sessions' button on the login screen.
A window will pop up, offering you a choice of different window managers, along with a couple of advanced options.
Click on the window manager you want, and click Change Session before logging in as normal.
A dialog will pop up, asking if you want to set this as the default, or just use it once.
There's more than a handful of available entries - this article will cover the most common ones, and you can try the rest for yourself.
- Last Session
- Should probably say 'Default Session' instead. Whatever you have set as your current default.
- Run Xclient script
- For custom sessions - runs whatever is in your ~/.xsession file.
- A full-featured window manager, perhaps the easiest if you're used to Windows.
- Similar to GNOME, but more lightweight. Recommended for most users.
- Windows 10
- A virtual machine running Windows 10. Not recommended for most coursework, but handy if you need Windows software temporarily
- A more old-school Linux desktop. Right-click the desktop for the application menu; google for the many, many configurable options
- Failsafe Terminal
- Effectively 'safe mode' - a single terminal that will work even if your environment is broken (eg. out of disk space)