Can I install extra desktop environments without affecting my current environment?

I'm asking because I got mixed messages saying that it is no problem as well as those that say that the universe basically exploded when they switched temporarily.

  • depends on which one... you should be able to install something like xfce with little problem.
    – Mateo
    Jul 3, 2014 at 0:38
  • Thanks, I was doubting between LXDE and XFCE to begin with. The choice is clear if XFCE is a low problem desktop environment.
    – Akisame
    Jul 3, 2014 at 0:44
  • Just as an experience, I installed Mint and Ubuntu dualboot with the same home partition when I wanted to have an additional lighter desktop.
    – AliN
    Jul 5, 2014 at 20:21
  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Will I have problems installing multiple desktop environments?
    – Melebius
    Jun 20, 2019 at 6:53
  • 1
    @Melebius I don't think it's an exact duplicate of that question although both questions have an overlapping topic.
    – karel
    Jun 20, 2019 at 8:10

1 Answer 1


You may install as many as you wish. The only 2 that I know of that are incompatible are gnome-shell and unity (one or the other).

The only complaints I have seen about doing so are either :

  1. Cosmetic changes to themes , including plymouth (boot screen), log in screen, and sometimes icons. You can always set these they way you like post install.

  2. Duplicate apps (multiple text editors, cd burners, etc). This makes the menu crowded. You can use kde/xfce/lxde apps with any of the desktop environments.

  3. It can be painstaking to remove the desktops if you no longer wish to keep them. Other window managers (fluxbox, openbox, etc) are easier to remove.

  4. Some people complain of performance hits due to loading multiple libs into ram. IMO the performance hit is negligible. It does require more hard drive space and more packages == more likely to find bugs.

  • Thanks. Since I'm going to install a small lightweight environment number 4 shouldn't be a big problem. I'll see if your other points become a problem but they seem simple to fix.
    – Akisame
    Jul 3, 2014 at 0:47
  • My home computer is shared by multiple family members, each has his or her preference, so at least kde, xfce, and fluxbox are all installed here. The eyecandy people prefer kde to gnome so usually unity/gnomve shell are not installed, but I try many DE/WM from time to time.
    – Panther
    Jul 3, 2014 at 0:50
  • Thanks, I had a bad experience a few years back when trying out new DE so I wanted to be sure this time.
    – Akisame
    Jul 3, 2014 at 0:59

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