Chapter 5. Getting Started with the KDE Desktop


5.1. Logging In and Selecting a Desktop
5.2. Logging Out
5.3. Desktop Components
5.4. Managing Folders and Files with Konqueror
5.5. Opening or Creating Documents with
5.6. Finding Something on Your Computer
5.7. Exploring the Internet
5.8. E-Mail and Scheduling
5.9. Moving Text between Applications
5.10. Important Utilities
5.11. Obtaining Software Updates
5.12. For More Information

KDE stands for K Desktop Environment and is a graphical user interface that has many applications designed to help you in your daily work. This chapter assists you in becoming familiar with the KDE desktop of your Linux system and in performing basic tasks. KDE also offers many choices to modify your desktop according to your needs and wishes. Read more about configuring your desktop individually in Chapter 6, Customizing Your KDE Desktop.

The following description is based on the default configuration of the KDE desktop shipped with your product. If you or your system administrator has modified the defaults, some aspects, such as appearance or keyboard shortcuts, may be different.

5.1. Logging In and Selecting a Desktop

If more than one user account is configured on your computer, all users must authenticate. When you start your system, you are prompted to enter your username and password. This is the username and password you created when you installed your system. If you did not install your system, check with your system administrator for your username and password.

[Note]Auto Login

If your computer is not run in a networking environment and you are the only person using it, you can automatically log in to the desktop environment on boot. In this case, you do not see any login screen. This feature, called auto login, can be enabled or disabled during installation or at any time using the YaST user management module.

The program managing the login process depends on the desktop environment installed on your system. For KDE, it is KDM.

The KDM login screen has input fields for username and password and the following menu items:

Session Type

Specifies the desktop to run when you log in. If desktops other than KDE are installed, they appear in the list. Make changes only if you want to use a session type other than your default (usually KDE). Future sessions are automatically of the same type unless you change the session type manually.


Performs a system action, such as shutting down the computer or starting different login actions. Remote Login enables you to log in on a remote machine.

5.1.1. Controlling a Session

The Session Manager starts after your username and password are authenticated by the login process. The Session Manager lets you save certain settings for each session. It also lets you save the state of your most recent session and return to that status the next time you log in.

The Session Manager can save and restore the following settings:

  • Appearance and behavior settings, such as fonts, colors, and mouse settings.

  • Applications that you were running, such as a file manager or

    [Important]Saving and Restoring Applications

    You cannot save and restore applications that Session Manager does not manage. For example, if you start the vi editor from the command line in a terminal window, Session Manager cannot restore your editing session.

For information about configuring session preferences, see Section 6.2.4, “KDE Components”.

5.1.2. Switching Desktops

If you installed both the KDE and the GNOME desktops, use the following instructions to switch desktops.

  1. If you are logged in to KDE, select Log Out+End Current Session from the main menu. On the login screen, click Session Type.

  2. Select the GNOME desktop then click OK.

  3. Enter your username.

  4. Enter your password.

  5. Click Make Default to make the desktop you chose in Step 2 your new default desktop or click Just For This Session to leave your previous desktop as the default the next time you log in.

    See Chapter 7, Getting Started with the GNOME Desktop for more information about using the GNOME desktop.

5.1.3. Locking Your Screen

To lock the screen, do either of the following:

  • From the main menu, select Lock Session.

  • Use the keyboard shortcut defined in the Control Center (see Section 6.2.7, “Regional & Accessibility”). Usually, this is Ctrl-Alt-L.

    [Tip]Looking Up and Defining KDE Keyboard Shortcuts

    If you want to look up the keyboard shortcuts defined in KDE, select Personal Settings+Regional & Accessibility+Keyboard Shortcuts from the main menu. Alter a shortcut by double-clicking it and entering a new shortcut. See also Section 6.2.7, “Regional & Accessibility”.

For quick access, you can also add the Lock and Logout icons to the panel. To do so, right-click the panel then click Add to Panel+Applet+Lock/Logout Applet.

When you lock your screen, the screensaver starts. To unlock the screen, move your mouse to display the locked screen dialog. Enter your username and password then press Enter.

For information about configuring your screensaver, see Section 6.2.1, “Appearance & Themes”.