In xfce4 I can run xfce4-settings-manager which opens a registry of values I can set (which otherwise would be set via a GUI). I thought both forms to modify the settings should be equivalent. However if set the value such as to activate a monitor/display, I can observe that the setting is not actually enabled (even though the checkbox Next to Active Boolean has been set).


This begs the question: How can I commit those settings made?

Bonus: Where do those settings get stored and can I set them without the xfce4-settings-manager (i.e. via writing to a file, or calling a command line tool? I assume xfconf-query is the right tool?)

Update Using the command line

xfconf-query -c displays -p /Default/eDP-1/Active -s true

I am able to modify the value (and it also shows the modification in the "Settings Editor" window of xfce4-settings-manager) but the effect is yet not enabled. In a nutshell neither xfconf-query nor xfce4-settings-manager seem to commit (as in "bring to effect") the change.

** Further investigation **

It seems that some other settings such as the mouse input device to indeed get set via xfconf-query and the xfce4-settins-manager. For example this line:

xfconf-query -c pointers -p /DELL08E100_06CBCD97_Touchpad/Properties/Device_Enabled -s 0

does indeed disable the touchpad. It seems for the moment that the settins get sometimes commited and sometimes not. What is going on?

  • According to Configuration Storage System - xfconf, "Xfconf stores all its data in XML files", although it unfortunately doesn't indicate the location of those files. Jan 4, 2020 at 18:25
  • With the displays you want to use enabled in the Settings Editor, can they be configured through the Display configuration dialog? If necessary, that dialog can be opened from a terminal with the command xfce4-display-settings. Jan 4, 2020 at 18:35
  • @David I want the setting to be the result of a script, hence I need to automize it and the GUI will not allow for that. I know how to do it manually using the mouse #ratpoison ;)
    – fraleone
    Jan 6, 2020 at 9:10

2 Answers 2


After making your changes, you can apply the display profile by tickling the /Schemes/Apply property.

You can either apply the Default profile or a custom profile.

Apply the default profile:

$ xfconf-query --create -c displays -p /Schemes/Apply -t string -s Default

Apply a custom profile:

$ xfconf-query --create -c displays -p /Schemes/Apply -t string -s 89e4fa7c6e21bf128815cf184349592868a477ce

In my case, I saved a custom profile called "Dual" using the Advanced -> Profiles section of xfce4-display-settings, then determined the profile identifier with:

$ xfconf-query -c displays --list -v | grep Dual
/89e4fa7c6e21bf128815cf184349592868a477ce                            Dual

--replace option of XSettings daemon for Xfce replaces xsettings daemon (if any is currently running)

xfsettingsd --replace

More can be read about xfsettingsd at man xfsettingsd.

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