Common Tasks

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When common tasks feel strange

If you are new to the Plasma Workspace it's likely that many common tasks will feel strange. Some things are completely new concepts, and other things are just done differently. There are screencasts of how to perform many plasma tasks at this How-To page.

How do I install additional KDE software?

Installing software on your computer, whether with KDE SC or GNOME, largely depends on your distribution's software management system. Please consult with your distribution for more information. Install KDE software has more details.

How do I install drivers for wifi/video/other hardware?

Installing hardware drivers for networking or video is a task that most distributions take care of. Different distributions use different tools for configuring hardware. Please consult with your distribution first for more information. A good way is by asking other users on chat channels.

File Management on Steroids

Dolphin is your new file manager, but it looks and feels very different from older file managers. Learn how to enable previews, give yourself quick access to the directories you use most, and choose how much detail you see about your files. All this and more in this File Management tutorial

Using a more traditional file manager

Konqueror is primarily a web interface, but it can also function as a traditional file manager. If this is your preference, in System Settings, go to the Advanced tab and click on File Associations. In the list of Known Types, go to the inode/directory type. In the General tab at the right side of the window, select Konqueror in the Application Preference Order and click on the Up button until it is at the top. Click on Apply to save the changes.

Using Removable Drives

Mounting the drive

What does "Mounting" the drive mean? Think of it as opening it for reading. Similarly, umount is like closing the book.

Most distros don't, in their default settings, automatically mount removable drives. There are two main ways of dealing with this.

  • Using the Device Notifier - click on the device name and you will be shown relevant options, one of which will be Open with File Manager. This opens Dolphin with the contents of the device listed.
  • Mounting in Dolphin - if you already have Dolphin open you will see the new device appear in the Places panel. Click on that and you will see the contents of the device.
  • If you prefer the drive to be automatically mounted, you can now do this by going to System Settings -> Hardware Section -> Removable Devices and check Enable automatic mounting of removable storage media.
The first option "Only automatically mount removable media that has been manually mounted before" may be a more secure option than mounting all removable media

If you choose to automount, remember that you still need to umount it (close it) before removing it. This is the equivalent of Windows software saying "safely remove". In Device Notifier you will see Icon-media-eject.png. In Dolphin, a right-click will offer you the same icon with "Safely Remove" and the device's name.

Audio disks can be played without mounting. Use your favourite disk-playing application

Umounting the drive

Again, you have two main possibilities.

  • Use the device notifier. Instead of the plug icon that you saw before, there will now be an up-arrow icon similar to that shown on VHS and DVD players. That will "safely remove" the drive. However, it will not eject it. Always wait a few seconds after using this, as buffers are flushed and you want to be sure that it has finished writing.
  • In Dolphin, look for the name of the device in the Places panel. Right-click on it and you will see the Eject icon. Again, take care not to remove the drive too quickly.

Opening an empty CD tray

Usually you use a hardware button to do this, but if that is not possible you can create a link to a script to do it for you. You will find details of this on this talk page

Renaming Multiple Files

There are times when you need to rename a large number of files or folders at the same time. This is often referred to as "batch renaming," and can be accomplished a number of ways in KDE.

With Dolphin

Dolphin has a ability to rename multiple files by numbering them, though the functionality is currently limited and only useful in certain situations. One useful application would be renaming a set of photos. Here's how it's done

With KRename

KRename has the ability to rename large numbers of files based on many different criteria, including search and replace, file properties, mp3 & ogg metadata, and many others.

KRename can be found in the Kickoff menu in the Utilities section. It may be called "Bulk Rename".

Configuration Help


Full KDE on Small Screens (e.g. Netbooks)

  • The Plasma Netbook Interface is customised to make the most of the available space and automatically configures window management to give full room to applications.
  • KWin's page has hints for slimming down window decorations, making fonts smaller, and disabling tooltips in KMail.



  • Occasionally, when something is not working well, you may be told that you need to set up an Environmental Variable. Here's how to do it

This page was last edited on 21 January 2019, at 06:00. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.