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Desktop

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Single vs Double-click[edit]

Be default, launching desktop icons in KDE uses a single-click, instead of a double-click method. Users can change the default launching behavior to a double-click via the following steps.

KDE -> Start menu button -> Applications -> Settings -> System Settings -> input devices -> mouse -> double click -> apply

Done.

Show Desktop[edit]

In KDE 4, dashboard view replaces the old "Show Desktop" feature. Press Ctrl + F12 to show the dashboard view. This keyboard shortcut can be changed in the system settings.

System Settings -> Shortcuts and Gestures -> Global Keyboard Shortcuts -> KDE component = Plasma Desktop Shell -> Show Dashboard.

For more information about the KDE 4 desktop, please see https://www.kde.org/announcements/4.0/desktop.php

Use Full-screen Mode[edit]

It is recommended to work in full-screen; this feature is also inherited from VirtualBox. To activate and deactivate full-screen mode, press the Host Key [1] + F. [2]

Full-screen mode leads to the Whonix (and Debian) default resolution and color depth of 1024x768x24. Having a common value for these identifiers reduces the fingerprinting risk to the user.

Virtual Consoles[edit]

Virtual consoles is a feature inherited from Debian GNU/Linux. It is noted here because not many users are aware of it. The Debian (not Whonix) feature is activated as follows:

  • For a text console: Press Alt + Crtl + F1.
  • For additional text consoles: Press Alt + Crtl + F2 or F3 and so on.
  • For a graphical console: Press Alt + Crtl + F7.


Qubes

In dom0, run: sudo xl console vm-name. Replace "vm-name" with the name of the actual VM, for example: sudo xl console sys-whonix.

KVM

The desired virtual console key combination is selected from under the Send Key option in a VM's graphic window.

VirtualBox

When the user is inside VirtualBox, the Alt + Ctrl keys are already registered by the host operating system.

Instead of the Alt + Ctrl combination, the VirtualBox Host Key[1] is used. This means the user should press in combination Host Key + F1 (F2,...) for a text console(s), and Host Key + F7 for a graphical console inside VirtualBox.

Shut Down the Whonix-Gateway[edit]

To shut down the gateway, in a terminal run.

sudo poweroff

Alternatively, use the menu option.

Start -> Leave...

RAM Adjusted Desktop Starter[edit]

Note: This applies to Non-Qubes-Whonix only.

RAM Adjusted Desktop Starter won't start the desktop environment. The terminal based version of Whonix-Gateway can be used instead.

When booting up, a prompt will appear offering to prevent KDE from starting. Users can also manually press Ctrl + C for the same effect.

By default, Whonix-Gateway is configured with 768 MB virtual RAM. This can be reduced on systems with low available resources.

  • If total RAM is more than 512 MB, the default desktop environment (KDE) is started.
  • If total RAM is less than 512 MB (for example, the minimum 196 MB RAM requirement), KDE (kdm) is not started. [3]


Users with low RAM resources should find this convenient, because Whonix-Gateway RAM can be reduced to 196 MB and still function. Further, if something needs configuring or checking, 512 MB RAM can be assigned to automatically boot into the graphical KDE desktop. Additional settings are available in /etc/rads.d/ to configure this feature: additional RAM can be added (but still not choosing to boot into a desktop environment), different display managers can be used and so on.

Whonixcheck / Timesync Writing to tty1[edit]

Note: This applies to Non-Qubes-Whonix only.

whonixcheck wrote its results to tty1

It is difficult to keep users updated with system status information when they are using a terminal instead of a graphical desktop environment. Therefore, the Whonix timesync and whonixcheck applications will very occasionally provide status messages, even if the user is logged into the terminal tty1 and sees a command prompt.

This feature can be useful, for example when the user has configured the Whonix-Gateway to their liking (if this was required at all) and successful status messages are posted about the system. On the other hand, status message output can be a hindrance, particularly if the user is doing something like editing a configuration file when it appears. If the user needs to complete activities without interruption, it is advisable to log into a tty other than tty1, for example tty2:

  • Default-Download-Version users can use the VirtualBox Host Key method: Right Ctrl + F2. [4]
  • Physical isolation users can use the standard feature which comes with Debian: Ctrl + Alt + F2.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 VirtualBox -> Global Settings -> Input -> Host Key. You can also see the current Host Key in the bottom right corner of VirtualBox.
  2. The normal VirtualBox default is Right Ctrl + F.
  3. The Whonix-Gateway can work with as little as 128 MB RAM, but resource intensive operations like kernel package upgrades that rebuild the initrd leave the virtual machine in a frozen state.
  4. The right Ctrl key is the VirtualBox default.

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