Over the years, Xfce gained a reputation of being a lightweight alternative for the two major desktop environments on Linux, KDE and GNOME. This comes from the fact that Xfce usually uses less resources, comes with applications which offer basic functionality and clean, simple interfaces, and the general performance of Xfce is better, at least when it comes to memory cost, than both KDE or GNOME. Xubuntu uses Xfce and very often it is recommended for older hardware which can't handle the latest releases of Ubuntu or Kubuntu.
Xfce 4.6.1 desktop environment
In this article I will overview 7 essential applications for the Xfce desktop environment, including screenshots, most popular features, strong and weak points.
1. File manager: Thunar (full review here)
Thunar is the default file manager in Xfce. It comes with a simple interface (just like any other Xfce application), side panel, configurable location selector (if you want the typical location bar to appear in the toolbar), possibility to sort items, zoom in/out, three view modes (icons, detailed list, compact list), and image previews. Thunar is simpler than Nautilus, but in turn it will consume less resources. It offers basic configuration options but it will get the job done, especially if you only need to do basic file browsing and management.