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Single vs Double Click[edit]

KDE uses single click instead of double click by default. If you want to change that to double click:

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 CONTROL+F12 to show the dashboard view. This Keyboard shortcut can be changed in System Settings > Shortcuts and Gestures > Global Keyboard Shortcuts > KDE component = Plasma Desktop Shell > Show Dashboard.

More info about KDE 4 desktop, please see https://www.kde.org/announcements/4.0/desktop.php

Use full-screen[edit]

It is advised to work in full-screen. This feature is also inherited from VirtualBox. Press your host key[1] and press F. That will activate full-screen. You end up with Whonix (and Debian) default resolution and color depth 1024x768x24[2]. To disable it the same key combination can be used.

Virtual Consoles[edit]

Virtual consoles is a feature inherited from Debian GNU/Linux. It is noted here, because not many people are aware of it. The Debian (not Whonix) feature is to press alt + crtl + F1 or F2, F3, etc. to get for additional text consoles or F7 for graphical console.

In dom0. sudo xl console vm-name for example sudo xl console sys-whonix

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

When being inside VirtualBox, the alt + ctrl keys are already registered by the host operating system. Instead of alt + ctrl, you can use the VirtualBox Host Key[1]. That means, use Host Key + F1, F2, F7, etc. to do the same inside VirtualBox.

Shut down the Whonix-Gateway[edit]

To shut down the gateway simply enter

sudo poweroff

(Or use Start -> Leave...)

RAM Adjusted Desktop Starter[edit]

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]

Non-Qubes-Whonix only.

whonixcheck wrote its results to tty1

It is difficult to keep terminal users, i.e. for users who are not using a graphical desktop environment, posted with the status if their system. Therefore two applications coming with Whonix, timesync and whonixcheck, will do something unique, or at least very rare.

Even if you are logged into your terminal tty1 and see a command prompt, it can happen that you suddenly see status messages from whonixcheck or timesync. This can be nice for example once your Whonix-Gateway configured to your liking (if you needed to do that at all) and just want to get posted with status messages about your system. On the other hand, this can be disturbing, if you're currently doing something, like editing a configuration file and then suddenly status messages are written to your screen. In that case, it is advised to log into tty other than tty1, for example tty2.

  • Default-Download-Version users can use the VirtualBox host key (right ctrl by default) and F2: right ctrl + F2
  • Physical isolation users can use the standard feature, which comes with Debian: ctrl + ALT + F2


  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. As per Protocol-Leak-Protection and Fingerprinting-Protection.
  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.

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