Yesterday I created a file called .Xresources, and I can't seem to get it to load into urxvt. I have tried pasting in stuff, and restarted the terminal, logged in and logged out, restarted my computer several times.

But I still have this white GUI. What do I have to do to make it work?

  • You might want to try and put xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources in a file like ~/.xinitrc if that file gets loaded. – joepd Feb 6 '16 at 13:55

There is no specific .Xresources to examine, so only general advice is possible.

The .Xresources file is usually loaded by xrdb (a prop for desktop settings). You can test this file by simply loading directly with xrdb, e.g.,

xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources

or just

xrdb ~/.Xresources

if you do not care for the desktop-designer's choices.

If there is some conflicting resource definition, the more specific one is used. For instance, if you had

urxvt*background: blue

and some desktop feature loads

urxvt.background: gray

you would get a gray background because the . is more specific than *.

You can see what xrdb did:

xrdb -query

If there is a resource needed by the application which is not set in the root window using xrdb, that resource is loaded according to the usual X resource rules (e.g., the system app-defaults files as well as your own .Xdefaults file).

If you are not running in a desktop environment that automatically runs xrdb, much of the advice regarding xrdb is probably not useful.


  • The problem is, whatever I write used xrdb to try to load it and restarted terminal, no results. Nothing happens. – Cra Feb 6 '16 at 13:42
  • That should be xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources instead of xrdb merge ~/.Xresources. – joepd Feb 6 '16 at 13:56

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