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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's 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's 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. You can use the terminal based version of Whonix-Gateway.

When booting up, you will be prompted and can always manually press ctrl + c to prevent KDE from starting.

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

  • If there is more than 512 MB RAM in total, the desktop environment (KDE by default) will be started.
  • If less than 512 MB RAM in total (for example, only 196 MB RAM in total), KDE (kdm) will not be started.

This should be quite convenient, because users with low RAM could reduce (Whonix-Gateway) RAM to 196 MB and even if they sometimes wanted to configure/check something, they could assign 512 RAM and automagically boot into the graphical KDE desktop. There are also many settings in /etc/rads.d/ to configure this feature, so if you want, you can also add a lot RAM, but not boot into a desktop environment, or use different display managers and so on.

whonixcheck/timesync writing to tty1[edit]

Non-Qubes-Whonix only.

whonixcheck wrote its results to tty1

It's 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's 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.

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