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Suppose I have ubuntu desktop and installed xubuntu desktop and want to try it, how do I start it? Is it any different if I want to try lxde? I reverted my virtual box to when I dont have a GUI then tried startx but I got something like command not found or something (can't remember)

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At the login screen you can choose the environment at the bottom of the screen after you've typed/selected your user name

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Hmm but I installed a server version and dont have a GUI yet. –  JM at Work May 18 '11 at 10:28
    
If you install a metapackage like ubuntu-desktop you'll get all the needed GUI packages including gdm/kdm/xdm and you'll see a graphical login after reboot. Use "sudo service gdm" if you don't want to reboot. –  Florian Diesch May 18 '11 at 11:45
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Besides installing the DE and all the necessary xorg server and drier components, you need to install a login manager such as gdm or xdm, then switch to runlevel 5 to activate it.

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