How to remove the KDE Plasma environment in Ubuntu?

As usual, Ubuntu Distributions ships with a gnome Desktop environment to use. After using it for a couple of months, UI feels outdated compared to KDE. However, the gnome has a number of ways to make it stylish and best to use, but no offense WhiteSurTheme KDE is no match to any theme till date, which resembles like you are using Big Sur, and many other features lack in gnome. Which attracted me to switch to KDE Plasma, but things didn’t work out.

While Installing KDE Plasma over Gnome, I made some mistakes, which made the system unstable to use, and I thought to revert back and use the stock gnome environment.

You, too, have a similar reason or may be different, but our end goal is the same, and you want to remove the KDE plasma environment from ubuntu and use the default gnome environment. Get ready to follow the steps.

Steps to Remove KDE Plasma Desktop Envirnoment

In simple seven steps, you will be able to remove KDE Plasma, it includes removing plasma-desktop, resetting splash, updating initramfs, and enabling gdm3.

1. Auto remove the plasma-desktop and kubuntu desktop.

I hope you are able to access the terminal, to open the terminal, press Ctrl + Alt +T or whatever shortcut you have assigned. Under my circumstance, I was not able to access the terminal too if it follow step 1 from How to change the run level from the Boot menu article.

After that, pass the below command to remove plasma-desktop:

$ sudo apt remove plasma-desktop --autoremove

2. Remove all the remaining file

The next step is to remove the residual file, which is no longer needed, especially the file that starts with KDE and plasma.

$ sudo apt-get remove kde* --autoremove
$ sudo apt-get remove plasma* --autoremove

rest --autoremove flag will manage it.

3. Reset the Splash Interface

I don’t know if you noticed, but I found that gnome bootsplash has been changed from the default. To revert do-copy paste the below command:

$ sudo update-alternatives --config default.plymouth

Enter your choice by typing, and once it is done, press enter. In my case, it was 1st. Usually, select 0, or you can set as per your preference:

Change Default Splash Interface in Ubuntu
Change Default Splash Interface in Ubuntu

If you are thinking, what is Plymouth? A Plymouth is used to hide all the details(dmesg) while the system boots up with a lovely splash image.

This command may give you output like “update-alternatives: error: no alternatives for default.plymouth“, simply ignore it and move for the next steps.

4. Update initramfs and grub

You are about to update the initramfs which was loaded earlier, after that update-grub menu to revert and get the default menu:

update-initramfs require -u parameter to update, don’t forget to use otherwise, initramfs will not get an update.

$ sudo update-initramfs -u
$ sudo update-grub

Read this: How to check the Ubuntu version using GUI and CLI?

5. Disable the Simple Desktop Display Manager (SDDM).

KDE uses Simple Desktop Display Manager, which is also known as SDDM. You are disabling it to get a default lock screen that ships with Ubuntu.

First, disable sddm. After that, stop it.

$ systemctl disable sddm
$ systemctl stop sddm

I’m not removing it. If you want to remove, type the below command into your terminal window:

$ sudo apt-get remove --auto-remove sddm
$ sudo apt-get purge --auto-remove sddm

6. Enable the Gnome Display Manager (gdm3).

Almost you have reverted it. Just pass the below command to enable & start gdm3, which is the default display manager in Ubuntu.

The first command will ensure that whenever the system gets boots, gdm3 will start automatically.

$ sudo systemctl enable gdm3
$ sudo systemctl start gdm3

7. Reboot your system

Once you are done with the above procedure, reboot it.

$ reboot

Wrap up

Voila! You have successfully removed the KDE Plasma environment from Ubuntu, and Now you can use the gnome environment.

If you found this article helpful, do let us know in the comment section.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. moharam

    Hello every one!
    when I tried to disable sddm I encountered an error message : permission denied. what should I do?

    1. Rishikesh

      Try with super user permissions : sudo

  2. Mdpe

    Thanks. My problem was solved .👍👍👍

  3. Ben

    Maybe it’s just me, but stopping sddm dropped me into a shell. Could be good to add a step about loading this page on a different pc or remembering the next few instructions

    1. A

      If you are in a shell, continue with the steps. After you enable gdm3 and reboot, it will work as expected.
      If you are dropped anywhere else, force reboot the system. The login must be done in a shell, typing in the username and password. Then continue with the steps.

  4. anonymous

    Awesome! Should have found this before spending hours recovering my system.

  5. Kelly Painter

    I also dropped into a shell. I found another article that said to press Alt + F2 and log in. Then it instructed to sudo service start gdm3. That allowed me to log back in to gnome and continue.

    1. Gagan Mishra

      Yes, it is also possible, but it will not remove KDE from your machine.

  6. Kelly Painter

    Sorry, I should have been more clear. I was still in Plasma because gdm3 wouldn’t launch from the log in screen for some reason. So when I disabled sddm, it dropped me into a shell. I had to hit Alt + F2 to log in and manually start gdm3 and then I was able to follow the rest of your guide to remove KDE. I also had to reinstall gdm3 to get it to auto start again. I am not sure what went wrong with gdm3 when I installed KDE desktop.
    Thanks for the guide!

  7. Ant

    I dropped into a shell and started gdm3, but Ubuntu is displaying errors now. I tried restarting from the desktop, and now my monitor is blank, although my computer is still running.

  8. someone

    When I did sudo systemctl stop sddm, my laptop shutdown abruptly and now it is not booting and showing grub failed boot detection.

    1. Gagan Mishra

      Can you recall the command that you executed?

  9. someone

    yes, I did “systemctl stop sddm”,
    after this the problem occurred and the laptop was stuck at the boot screen with grub failed boot detection

    Although, I was able to restart the gdm3 from the recovery but it is not permanent solution, I have to do this every time I restart the laptop

    1. Gagan Mishra

      Check whether gdm is enabled by running the below code
      sudo systemctl is-enabled gdm3

      1. someone

        it is showing “static”
        I was also not able to enable it

        1. Gagan Mishra

          It’s been a long time since I faced this issue, let me check on my side!

        2. Gagan Mishra

          I assume you want to get back to the default Ubuntu desktop so to get run
          $ sudo apt install ubuntu-desktop
          Most probably your problem will get sorted out.

          1. someone

            thanks for your guidance 🙂

          2. Jake Redfield

            It was our pleasure, Dhruv. Thanks for the feedback.

  10. C. Gouedard

    Very useful for me!
    Very synthetic revue for this “return to basics”, even for going back to KDE later.
    I suppose I can also erase all k* in the .config folder.
    Thanks again.

    1. Gagan Mishra

      Of course, you can delete the k* .config file unless you don’t want to go back.

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