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Distribution: Slackware & Slamd64. What else is there?
Hey CW, at the risk of belaboring the obvious, is your xfce directory writeable from your userid? Can you check and see if any of the settings you are making get saved properly?
I don't want to mess up my existing xfce (which I actually don't use very much) but if you don't get fixed up soon let me know and I'll get xfce from current (hopefully it doesn't need anything else in the way of packages) and see if it happens here.
Actually this has always happened to me .. I found it usually happens if I start xfce, start some other application and *then* try to change the background. If I start xfce and immediatly try to change the desktop background, it works. It's not too big of a deal since I know how to fix it easily.. but like I said .. this has always happened to me (too).