Armbian (Orange Pi): installing an XFCE desktop to server distribution

xfce 4 orange pi armbian
Table of Contents

In the previous tutorial, we saw how to prepare an Armbian lightweight system for an Orange Pi. To do this, we started from the Server version that does not have a graphical desktop. In this tutorial, we’ll see how to update a server version installed in the previous tutorial to add the graphical desktop XFCE (lightweight) also).

Equipment used

For this tutorial, I used an Orange Pi Lite (WiFi version) with an 8GB SD board but this tutorial applies to any Linux environment.

orange pi lite h3 computer board Orange Pi Lite or other model

€12€ (shipping cost, about €3.50 )

orange pi alimentation 5v 3a jack Power 5V/3A

Or USB cable, about €2.50€

carte sd Armbian on 8Go SD Card class 10

From €6.90


In some cases (or some mini computer board), migration to a graphics environment may not work. If you still have no functional project on your SD board, the best is to directly re-install the Desktop version that suits your mini PC. Indeed, there may be problems with some GPUs It is however possible to uninstall the installed packages by executing these two commands successively:



sudo apt-get autoremove

Installing the XFCE 4.x Desktop

So we will install the XFCE desktop (official website). If you are not logged in as root, change user

su -

Then you start the installation of the XFCE desktop and the dependencies

sudo apt-get -y install xorg lightdm xfce4 tango-icon-theme gnome-icon-theme

Restart (sudo reboot) or manually start the desktop with the startxfce4 command.

After the launch you will go directly to a login window. Identify yourself as usual. You now have a graphical desktop on your Orange Pi. This is the same desktop that is used for the Desktop version of the Armbian distribution. It is simply installed in its default configuration with the minimum of pre-installed software (mail, web browser).

xfce 4 orange pi armbian

Useful links

Orange Pi Comparison Chart

  • Model
  • SoC
  • RAM
  • eMMC storage
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • GPRS
  • FCC/CE certificated
  • Connector (!not compatible with Raspberry Pi)
  • Misc
  • Best prices
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