Solutions for KDE 4.5 glitches

Jack Wallen
Sep 13, 2010
Updated • Dec 2, 2012

I thought I would re-visit one of my favorite topics of late, KDE 4.5. The SC has been out long enough now for some of the smaller issues to pop up and workarounds be revealed. Most of these smaller issues are, by no means, deal breakers, but some of them can be annoying. Not everyone will experience these. In fact, some people are happily reporting not a single issue with KDE 4.5. Others, with certain hardware or certain needs, are reporting "gotchas" here and there.

In this Ghacks article I am going to show you a few tips and tricks to help you get around some of the minor glitches associated with KDE 4.5. Hopefully you are one of the lucky users not experiencing problems. If, however, you are hopefully these tips will help you out.

Compositing crashes desktop

If you have an Intel-based graphics chipset you will find that anytime you enable compositing with KDE 4.5 your desktop is going to crash. This is because the Blur plugin does not yet support Intel chipsets. You can resolve this issue by simply disabling the Blur plugin. To do this follow these steps:

  1. Click on Start > Computer > System Settings
  2. Go to Workspace Appearance and Behavior >  Desktop Effects > All Effects
  3. Uncheck Blur
  4. Enable or start compositing

Now you shouldn't have any issue with compositing crashing your desktop.

Image previews not showing up on desktop

Image previews are a handy feature that keep you from having to open up an image to see what it is (that is, if you don't remember it by name). In 4.5 this feature seems to have gone missing. To fix this, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the desktop and click on Folder View Settings
  2. Navigate to the Location menu
  3. Select Specify a Folder
  4. Point the specified folder to /home/USERNAME/Desktop Where USERNAME is your actual username.

That's it. NOTE: If your shortcuts no longer display their individual icons, you will have to also navigate to Display > Previews > More Previews and uncheck the Text files option.

Desktop seems a little sluggish

You might find your desktop a wee bit sluggish for your taste. This can easily be resolved by upping the speed of the desktop animations. This is done by:

  1. Click Start > Computer > System Settings.
  2. Workspace Appearance and Behavior >  Desktop Effects.
  3. At the bottom of this page change the Animations speed from Normal to Fast.

That should speed things up a bit.

Show applications by Name

I'm not sure why the KDE developers decided to show applications by description instead of name in the menus. To me, this is a bit counter-intuitive. Fortunately, it's very easy to change back to the standard view mode. To do this right-click the "K" (or Start) menu button and select Application Launcher Settings. In this new window check the box for Show Applications By Name. Click OK and this setting will immediately take affect.

Final thoughts

KDE 4.5 has come a long, long way from its humble beginnings. But even now little glitches are showing up. I hope these tips have helped you get around some of the problems you have found. If not, report the problems you are having an hopefully we can find a solution.


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  1. Alejandro Nova said on September 15, 2010 at 6:35 am

    If you keep having trouble with Intel chipsets after disabling blur (if necessary, with Composite disabled), launch System Settings | Application Appearance. Select the Style module.

    When you are in, select the “Fine Tuning” tab. You’ll see a setting called “Graphic Effects”. In all modern systems, that setting should say “High resolution, fast CPU” or “High resolution, very fast CPU”. Change it to “Low resolution, very fast CPU”.

    This change will disable the Lanczos filter, will give you again thumbnails, and will avoid all the breakage that was carried with that filter.

  2. Aaron Seigo said on September 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    thanks for the continuing series of articles on KDE software. :)

    one thing i’d note is that your article isn’t actually about “KDE SC” but about KDE’s Plasma Desktop (kwin, system settings, kdm, plasma-desktop, etc.)

    that’s absolutely fine, of course, but we are trying to be a bit more clear in describing what areas of the software we’re discussing, since the platform, workspaces (e.g. desktop, netbook) and apps are all independent from each other (though the workspaces and apps use the platform extensively, of course :)

    if you feel like helping us out with this effort by using the more accurate names when discussing, as in this case, Plasma Desktop (for example), that’ d be awesome :)

    in any case, i’m enjoying reading the ongoing articles about KDE software that are being published here.


  3. gondsman said on September 14, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I use arch both with nvidia and intel (GM45) and I can report that blur is working properly here. Also, the crash in systemsettings mentioned by xenotarricide was solved with the 4.5.1 release, so I don’t suffer from that as well. Also, the second problem with previews on desktop never happened to me (although I know I’m not a statistically relevant case). I have the impression that a lot of problems with KDE are due to packaging or custom patches (my archlinux, or gentoo smurfy was mentioning have mostly vanilla KDE).

    1. Eugene Markow said on September 15, 2010 at 5:48 pm

      @gondsman: I am also using Arch Linux with KDE 4.5.1 and an integrated Intel GM45 GPU, and still having issues with randomly occurring overlapping and missing graphics (when I move my mouse on the slidebar, the graphics ‘correct’ itself). Nothing is crashing. I haven’t disabled blur yet. Wonder why yours is working and mine isn’t? Any suggestions?

      [ejm@Galicja ~]$ uname -a
      Linux Galicja 2.6.36-rc4-ARCHMOD #1 PREEMPT Mon Sep 13 09:02:30 CEST 2010 x86_64 Genuine Intel(R) CPU 575 @ 2.00GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux

  4. Tadeas said on September 14, 2010 at 11:32 am

    @ Compositing crashes desktop
    I have an Intel chipset (GM45) and the Blur effect and all compositing works just as expected OOTB without any issue. Debian testing/unstable, KDE 4.5.1 from the semi-official repository

  5. Caleb Cushing ( xenoterracide ) said on September 14, 2010 at 5:52 am

    You missed the big one that Arch mentioned here where KDE would crash every time you changed a setting involving kwin…

    1. smurfy said on September 14, 2010 at 11:04 am

      It seems to occur only on Arch. I dont have this problem on Gentoo. Every change of kwin-settings was fine and without a crash.

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