The releases of this section are outdated and will not be supported. The relating packages may work, but we encourage you to install a recent KDE release.



How do I setup X to run KDE?

The X Window System provides a way to execute programs (including a graphical environment such as KDE) in a general way when startx is executed. This is in the form of two files (.xserverrc and .xinitrc). Normally these reside in your home directory and are used for starting server and client related applications respectively. The startkde script in the kde/bin directory executes all the programs required by KDE in one handy script. You can therefore start KDE along with your X server by adding a line to execute startkde to the .xinitrc file in your home directory. The table below shows samples for the relevant files.

$ cat ~/.xserverrc
exec X -screen 0 1024x768x16 -engine 4 -ac -nowinkill -noreset -emulate3buttons 100
$ cat ~/.xinitrc

There are two ways to install these files:

  1. Copy the above samples to the related lines manually, for example
    $ echo /usr/local/kde1/bin/startkde >~/.xinitrc
  2. Install the kdemisc-1.1.2 package, which will install these files in /home/administrator by default. After that you can move/copy the files to your home directory. Before installing this package make sure that you backup your previous files.

Once you have created the two files you can start KDE on the base prompt with: startx &.

Related topic: "How do I run KDE from an icon?

How do I run KDE from an icon?

Make a copy of the file cygwin.bat in the cygwin root directory and call the new file startkde1.bat. Next, edit the line that reads bash --login -i and change it so it reads bash --login -i -c "startx". You can also install the kdemisc-1.1.2 package, which contains this file.

The startkde1.bat file can be used like the regular cygwin.bat. You can copy the file or create a shortcut to it on the desktop, the start menu or anywhere else. NB: This assumes you have perfomed the steps necessary to start KDE with X as described in the answer to "How do I setup X to run KDE?".

Why do I get the error "kwm: it looks like there's already a window manager running. kwm not started"?

You are running another window manager before KDE is started. Make sure you are using startx to start X, and not startxwin.bat. Also make sure that you have exec startkde in your .xinitrc and not, for example, exec twm.

This error also appears after changing and applying KDE themes, caused by Cygwin's incomplete emulation of the Unix-style environment. This may possibly be fixed in one of the later Cygwin beta releases. A workaround is not to directly apply a theme, but instead confirm the changes and restart the whole KDE desktop.

Can I run KDE under Windows 98?

In short, yes. For additional information check this page for a list of supported platforms.

Why do I see escaped control characters when I run kvt/konsole?

Add the line export SHELL="/bin/bash" to /etc/profile. Also, if you are using konsole, try switching the console emulation mode to "Linux console".

Why is KDE so slow?

KDE requires some memory and CPU horsepower, even under Linux, *BSD, etc. However there are issuses specific to Cygwin which also slow it down. There are certain POSIX calls which can't be mapped directly to Win32 calls (e.g. select, fork) and these can have a significant overhead. In particular, fork() is very slow under Cygwin.

There are indeed some optimisations that could be made; but these will be added in later alpha releases. Currently we are focussing on stability rather than speed and this is no small task.

NB: sometimes an application can crash and end up going into an "endless loop"; CPU usage will be at 100% for an extended period of time. If this occurs, close the offending application from Task Manager and your other applications should become more responsive. Please report any crashes or lock-ups to the kde-cygwin developers.

How do I run kfm as my Windows shell?

This isn't currently recommended and you are on your own if anything goes wrong. If you want to do this anyhow, here are some instructions for Windows 2000:

  1. Follow the hints in How do I run KDE from an icon?
  2. Read the tips at http://www.jsiinc.com/SUBH/tip3600/rh3651.htm for changing your shell. You want to change it to C:\Cygwin\startkde1.bat
  3. Have fun!

Why was KDE 1.1.2 ported first and not KDE 2?

On this subject Ralf Habacker writes:

On starting the port there was no way to build dll's with global variables without patching headers. If have tried compiling KDE2 as static version, but this doesn't work because KDE2 is based extremly on dll's, so I went back to KDE1 and compiled it static and this works.

The next step was patching ld to allow dll's with global variables without patching headers (thanks to Paul Sokolvsky) and I compiled KDE 1.1.2 with dlls. This ld feature is known in the cygwin world as "auto-import" feature.

So KDE 1.1.2 is the pre-project for porting KDE2, whoses client server technology (dcopserver) and dll preloading mechanismen (kdeinit,klauncher) is much more difficult to get running. Single application are already running (games for example), but the desktop communcation isn't working.

How hard was it to port KDE to Cygwin?

Ralf Habacker writes:

Porting KDE 1.1.2 in the closest meaning was quite easy. I think for KDE 1.1.2 I have patched only about 100 lines and this were minor changes especially missing functions oder include files. Most of my time was spent to get a running ld and to patch the libtool used to create the dll's, integrating it into the X environment, testing the applications, preparing distribution and so on.
This is because :

  • cygwin is a very good posix eumlation (only one changes)
  • the cygwin-xfree server was very portable (only one header patch)
  • qt is very portable (creating cygwin specific config, patches some header and one source file because of gcc bug)
  • the KDE source are very portable (minor changes especially missing functions oder include files).
Note: KDE 2 porting was much harder because of the complexitivity and weight (about 200 dll's).

Why does Windows complain it can't find one or more DLLs when I try to start KDE?

This is caused by the way Windows searches for DLLs. As far as I understand, in order for you to run a program which depends a DLL in path X, the path must be included in the PATH environment variable of the parent process. In practice this means that you must add $KDEDIR/lib, $KDEDIR/bin, and $QTDIR/bin to PATH in /etc/profile or similar.
Example (add this line to /etc/profile):

$ export KDEDIR=/usr/local/kde1
$ export QTDIR =/usr/local/lib/qt2
$ export PATH=$KDEDIR/lib:$KDEDIR/bin:$QTDIR/bin:$PATH


Where can I get libz.dll?

Make sure you have installed the Cygwin libz package. The KDE binaries rely on the libz library being called libz.dll, but recent Cygwin releases have changed their naming scheme and with these, the file is called cygz.dll. The solution is to copy

$ cp /bin/cygz.dll /bin/libz.dll

Why do I get the error "can't find cygpcreposix.dll"?

Make sure you have installed the Cygwin pcre package.

Why do I get the error "kdecore-2-0-0.dll not found" when I try to start kfm ?

Make sure you have downloaded and installed all the packages. Files labelled -update are incremental; you need to install the original file first, and then install this file on top.
Additional look in the answer of Why does Windows complain it can't find one or more DLLs when I try to start KDE?


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