Raspberry Pi Desktop

When the Raspberry Pi powers up your screen will display a spectrum of colours.  These colours are only displayed for a very short time and then the screen will be filled with scrolling messages.  The Raspberry Shake image uses the LXDE window manager for the desktop.  Depending on the distribution you are using you may find that a different window manager is installed.  This tutorial will only cover the LXDE window manager on the Raspberry Pi.

raspberry pi desktop

The Raspberry Pi Desktop

The desktop is used to make the user experience more intuitive by providing visual buttons, menus, icons and windows.  The desktop removes the complexity of manually entering commands in a terminal which is explained in further tutorials.  LXDE has been selected for the Raspberry Pi because it is light weight, uses less processing power than most window managers and does not require 3D acceleration to complete graphic tasks.  LXDE can be customised for your own desktop preferences.  It also uses very low memory making it ideal for the Raspberry Pi and other small low powered devices.

Some features of the desktop are:

File manager

The file manager is used to manage files by providing an easy interface to display, copy,  delete and edit a file.  It also provides a way of navigating throughout the Raspberry Pi file system.










A menu provides a way of organising related programs and provides convenient  usability.

Raspberry Pi Menu









Icons allow for a quick visual reference for accessing a program.

Idle iconDebian reference icon


A Window is central to most desktops because they maintain user focus on the program we are using.  A window has has a frame with a title bar, a close button, a minimise and maximise buttons and other elements which allow you to manipulate the window in other ways.







The LXPanel/Task Bar

The LXPanel or task bar provides a user friendly desktop panel which manages open programs and allows access to the application menu.  It can be configured to your personal preference using preferences.




Applications Menu

The application menu hosts your installed applications.  This provides the user with a fast and efficient way of accessing applications.


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