News Archive
Submit Items


DNS Propagation
DNS Report
Port Scanner
DNS Record Lookup

XFce Window Manager (for *nix Systems) Review - Page III
By Guest Reviewer "Hotwire"

Warning: this review contains heavy Linux Terminology. It is recommended that only experienced Linux users continue, as it may only confuse others :)


Viewing Hidden Files in XFtree

If you've used linux or unix for any amount of time, you'll probably know that hidden files are indicated by a preceeding '.' and are often referred to as 'dotfiles'. eg:


These are just some of the dotfiles in your standard home directory. Don't forget that rule this applies to directories as well. To toggle the view of these dotfiles in the XFce file manager (XFTree) you have three options:

Press Shift-Alt-D Select 'Toggle Dotfiles' from the 'Settings Menu' Right click somewhere in the file tree and choose 'Toggle Dotfiles'

Associating file types with programs in XFce

If there are file types which you use regularly with the same program, it probably makes sense to associate that file type with the program you use. To do this, simply open the file ~/.xfce/xtree.reg in a plaintext editor. You will see existing lines such as:

(.lsm) (xedit) ()
(.mov) (xanim) (+Ae)
(.mpeg) (mtv) ()
(.mpg) (mtv) ()
(.pdf) (xpdf) ()

Just as the first line of this file says, it shows in order- the suffix (file extension), the program used to run it, and any optional arguments in brackets. Simply follow the format to add a new file type association. For example - I use XMMS to play my mp3 files, and I'm sick of having to type 'xmms' everytime I want to open an MP3. So all I do is add the following line to xtree.reg :

(.mp3) (xmms) ()

save it, and restart XFce (Simple 'Restart' doesn't seem to pick this change up, so you must logout, and log back in), and now, XMMS is the default app to load mp3s with! Nice.

Obviously you can use this to change existing file associations as well, so if you prefer to open .txt files in 'kwrite' instead of 'xedit' (as I do), you can simply edit this association as you desire.

Creating shortcuts to directories/websites on the main panel.

Frequently I want to access files which I keep on my windows partition. So instead of having to open XFtree, navigate all the way back to / and then go through /cdrive/brett/ to the files I want, I create shortcuts on the main panel to the directories I use most. To do this, simply decide on a menu you want to use for these links, then add an icon to this menu. For the command line, enter 'xftree /cdrive/ ' or whatever the directory you want to switch to is, choose an icon, give it a short label, and press 'ok'. Now the next time you want to get to a directory that's hidden away deep in a hierarchy of folders, just press that button and you're there!

You can use the same method to link to websites/ftp directories. The only difference is that instead of 'xftree /cdrive/brett/ ' or whatever, use the command 'netscape ' or whatever site you want to link to. This can be a really useful way of getting to websites easily.

As a note, I tend to 'tear off' the menu with my directories in it, so that it is easier to get to. To do this, click the ^ on whatever menu you wish to tear off, now you will see the contents of that menu, at the very bottom of it, between the lowest item and the ^, there is a small line. Click that line and the menu turns into a popup menu which can be dragged anywhere.


I choose to use XFce as my main window manager when I use linux. It's clean, fast, lets me access what I want quickly. Its easy to configure, I can still run KDE/Gnome apps if I want to, and besides, if I want to show off Linux to a friend, I can always boot into KDE or Gnome using a really kickass theme, yet still use XFce for all my work ;) It's under continual development, and you can submit feature suggestions if you think it's lacking something. I've been using XFce as my window manager for a while now, and I am yet to have a single crash- even after hours of work in it. If you're sick of bulky WMs, or you just want to find out what else is available to use, then I would certainly recommend XFce.

Hughesey's Note: I'd just like to thank Hotwire for sending this review into us. I must state that he gave OC-Melbourne explicit written permission to edit/publish this piece on our site. For more of Hotwires Linux expertees, visit his website at


This site ©Copyright 2001-2010 Overclockers Melbourne. All content contained within this site is property of the author(s) and may not be copied in part or in full without the express written consent of the webmaster and the author(s). Overclockers Melbourne can not and will not be held responsible for any downtime or harm done to your system through the following of any guides written, or linked to, by this site.