Platform-specific Desktop Tips
- 1 All Platforms
- 2 Non-Qubes-Whonix
- 3 Qubes-Whonix
- 4 Footnotes
Disable Terminal Emulator Banner
The following banner appears when a terminal is opened.
Welcome to Whonix!
Whonix Copyright (C) 2012 - 2019 ENCRYPTED SUPPORT LP
Whonix is Freedom Software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under certain conditions; type "whonix-license" <enter> for details.
Whonix is a compilation of software packages, each under its own copyright and license. The exact license terms for each program are described in the individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.
Whonix GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by applicable law; for details type "whonix-disclaimer" <enter>.
Whonix is a derivative of Debian GNU/Linux and based on Tor.
Whonix is produced independently from the Tor (r) anonymity software and carries no guarantee from The Tor Project about quality, suitability or anything else.
Whonix is experimental software by means of concept and design.
Do not rely on it for strong anonymity.
Type: "whonix" <enter> for help.
uwt INFO: Stream isolation for some applications enabled. uwt / torsocks will be automatically prepended to some commands. What is that? See:
uwt INFO: https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Stream_Isolation/Easy [archive]
To disable the banner, follow these steps.
See also: Disable Virtual Console Banner.
Shut Down Whonix-Gateway ™ (sys-whonix)
To shut down Whonix-Gateway ™ (
sys-whonix), open a terminal and run.
Alternatively, use the menu option:
On the Host
- Text console: Press
Alt + Crtl + F1
- Additional text consoles: Press
Alt + Crtl + F2or
F3and so on.
- Additional text consoles: Press
- Graphical console: Press
Alt + Crtl + F7
Table: Virtual Console Activation
|KVM||The desired virtual console key shortcut can be selected under the |
|Qubes dom0||Qubes dom0 inherited the same feature (|
|Qubes VMs||In order to access VMs in dom0, run:  |
sudo xl console sys-whonix
|VirtualBox||The VirtualBox default is |
In the Whonix case, the virtual console will show
host login:. This can be confusing and has nothing to do with the actual host that Whonix is running on. The string
host is retrieved from file
/etc/hostname which for privacy reasons is set to
host in Whonix. Therefore do not enter your host (the system Whonix is running on) username or host password.
Due to technical limitations, an easier to understand presentation like
Whonix username login: or something similar cannot be shown. 
- Enter your username (this is most likely
user) and press
- Enter your password and press
Disable Virtual Console Banner
This process is similar to Disable Terminal Emulator Banner.
1. Open a virtual console.
2. Run the following command to restore the original bashrc (untested). 
cp /etc/skel/.bashrc.whonix-orig ~/.bashrc
The procedure is complete.
sudo rm /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/whonix.conf
RAM Adjusted Desktop Starter
When booting up, a prompt will appear offering to prevent XFCE 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 (XFCE) is started.
- If total RAM is less than 512 MB (for example, the minimum 256 MB RAM requirement), XFCE (lightdm) is not started. 
Users with low RAM resources should find this convenient because Whonix-Gateway ™ RAM can be reduced to 256 MB and still function. Further, if something needs configuring or checking, 512 MB RAM can be assigned to automatically boot into the graphical XFCE 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.
For more information, see RAM Adjusted Desktop Starter.
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 system settings.
System Settings →
Shortcuts and Gestures →
Global Keyboard Shortcuts →
KDE component = Plasma Desktop Shell →
Single vs Double-click
By 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.
Start menu button →
System Settings →
input devices →
double click →
The procedure is now complete.
Use Full-screen Mode
It is recommended to work in full-screen; this feature is also inherited from VirtualBox. To activate and deactivate full-screen mode, press the VirtualBox Host Key + F. The current Host Key is visible in the bottom right corner of VirtualBox. The VirtualBox default is
Right Ctrl + F.
Host key can be changed using
Global Settings →
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. Full-screen mode also helps to prevent users from accidentally launching applications on the host (such as a clearnet browser), instead of within Whonix ™.
Whonixcheck Writing 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 if Whonix-Gateway ™ has a customized configuration (even if it was not strictly required) 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 it is necessary to complete activities without interruption, it is recommended to log into a tty other than tty1, for example tty2:
- Default-Download-Version: utilize the VirtualBox Host Key method:
Right Ctrl + F2. 
- Physical isolation: utilize the standard Debian feature which comes with Debian:
Ctrl + Alt + F2.
A number of displays found in high-end laptops and desktops have High Dots Per Inch (HiDPI), providing a high resolution in a relatively small format. High-resolution mode can cause problems with certain software and the following adjustments may be necessary to improve HiDPI presentation in XFCE. 
Table: XFCE Scaling Options
|Fonts||Change the DPI parameter as follows:  |
For example, it is reported that a value of
|gtk2 Menus and Buttons||Follow these steps to change the default icon sizes of gtk2 menus, buttons and so on:  |
|System Tray Icon Size||Follow these steps to enlarge icons in the system tray:  |
|Task Bar Size||To change the size of the task bar: |
|Window Manager Style||Xfwm has two hidpi themes: Default-hdpi and Default-xhdpi. Change the theme as follows:  |
XFCE Settings Reset
Before following these instructions to wipe the whole XFCE settings folder and restore defaults, it is recommended to backup existing XFCE settings.
Avoid VM Full Screen Mode
It is unrecommended to allow Qubes-Whonix ™ or other VMs to completely "own" the full screen [archive]. Overriding Qubes' GUI virtualization daemon restrictions means the colored decorations drawn by each VM window will not be visible. In this case, a malicious application might not actually release the full screen (while it appears normal), or the full desktop may be emulated so users are tricked into entering sensitive information inside false "trusted" domains. 
- This is not a real virtual console, but using login.
Inside VirtualBox, the
Alt + Ctrlkeys are already registered by the host operating system. Host key can be changed using
loginprogram unfortunately does not provide this option.
- Please leave feedback if this step works correctly.
3. Run the following command.
sudo unlink /etc/motd
- 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.
Right Ctrlkey is the VirtualBox default.
- https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/HiDPI#Xfce [archive]
- https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/full-screen-mode/ [archive]
This is a wiki. Want to improve this page? Help is welcome and volunteer contributions are happily considered! Read, understand and agree to Conditions for Contributions to Whonix ™, then Edit! Edits are held for moderation.
Copyright (C) 2012 - 2019 ENCRYPTED SUPPORT LP. Whonix ™ is a trademark. Whonix ™ is a licensee [archive] of the Open Invention Network [archive]. Unless otherwise noted, the content of this page is copyrighted and licensed under the same Freedom Software license as Whonix ™ itself. (Why?)