View Full Version : Kali 2 + GNOME 3.10 = Customizations, Solutions & Tweaks

2015-08-31, 07:55
With the release of Kali 2 there is are many more visual alterations. Some people like to try and make their install their own by customizing it to their taste, while others may want to try to restore the Kali 1.0 interface.
This thread is to try and help all of these people.

Table of Contents

Alt + Tab & Grouping (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-amp-Tweaks&p=49475&viewfull=1#post49475)
Dock & Intelligent Autohide (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-amp-Tweaks&p=49477&viewfull=1#post49477)
Extensions & Taskbars/Toolbars (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-amp-Tweaks&p=49478&viewfull=1#post49478)
Change Super key Button & Activity Overview (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-amp-Tweaks&p=49479&viewfull=1#post49479)
GNOME Terminal & Open Tabs (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-amp-Tweaks&p=49480&viewfull=1#post49480)
Screen Shield & Lock screen (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-amp-Tweaks&p=49481&viewfull=1#post49481)
Freezing/Slowness (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-amp-Tweaks&p=49482&viewfull=1#post49482)
(Bonus) Other customization (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-amp-Tweaks&p=49483&viewfull=1#post49483)
Vertical Menu (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-Solutions-amp-Tweaks&p=49497&viewfull=1#post49497)

Quick / TL;DR
It will never be the exact same as Kali 1.x (GNOME 3.4). Below will apply some settings/tweaks to restore some features (e.g. alt+tab, taskbar etc).

curl -s http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=nNFZcHWk | tr -d '\15\32' | bash

Kali 1 used GNOME 3.04 (Top), Kali 2 uses GNOME 3.10 (Bottom). A comparison of the two different interfaces can be seen below:

http://i.imgur.com/fFT27V4l.jpg (http://i.imgur.com/fFT27V4.jpg)
Full Image (http://i.imgur.com/fFT27V4.jpg)

By using various 'extensions' to GNOME, as well as settings tweaks, the overall feel of GNOME can be altered to give a different (hopefully for the 'better') experiences
Full disclosure: I still use XFCE rather than GNOME. For more information, see here (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27107-Customising-Kali-2-0-XFCE-4-Window-Manager-axiomd-Theme).

More resources & tweaks
If you like this and want more, check out the following:

Offensive-security.com/kali-linux/top-10-post-install-tips/ (https://www.offensive-security.com/kali-linux/top-10-post-install-tips/)
github.com/g0tmi1k/os-scripts/kali.sh (https://github.com/g0tmi1k/os-scripts/blob/master/kali.sh)
XFCE (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27107-Customising-Kali-2-0-XFCE-4-Window-Manager-axiomd-Theme)
Common Tool Issues Differences Between v1.0 and v2.0 (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27106-Kali-2-Common-Tool-Issues-Differences-Between-v1-0-and-v2-0)

Any off topic replies will be deleted.

2015-08-31, 07:55
Alt + Tab & Grouping
"Alt + Tab" is the window switcher keyboard shortcut.

By default, if there are multiple windows of the same program (in this example Iceweasel), when you use "alt + tab", these windows will be grouped together.
To access the individual windows, you need to press "down" on the keyboard.
This may be annoying if you have multiple windows and wish to access one other than the last viewed window (which is what would happen if you select the group).

http://i.imgur.com/G5QLYOml.png (http://i.imgur.com/G5QLYOm.png)

1.) Open 'Tweak Tool'
2.) Select 'Extensions' -> Enable: 'Alternatetab' (so the selection bar is blue)

http://i.imgur.com/5cV6uVs.png (http://i.imgur.com/5cV6uVs.png)

3.) Save/Apply/Close your way out
4.) Done

http://i.imgur.com/7lguwpGl.png (http://i.imgur.com/7lguwpG.png)

2015-08-31, 07:55
Dock & Intelligent Autohide
This is the thing which is on the left hand side by default in Kali 2.0.

By default when using foreground/selection/active window, if it moves 'close' to the dock, the dock will automatically hide.
This is annoying if you do not have a toolbar (see below) (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-amp-Tweaks&p=49478&viewfull=1#post49478), as it's hard to use a mouse to switch between active Windows (need to use the 'super' keyboard shortcut (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-amp-Tweaks&p=49479&viewfull=1#post49479)).

http://i.imgur.com/kwbjTPOl.png (http://i.imgur.com/kwbjTPO.png)
Note, the dash is missing the bottom image.

1.) Open 'Tweak Tool'
2.) Select 'Extensions' -> 'Dash to Dock' -> Configure.
3.) Find 'Intelligent Autohide' -> Disable (so the selection bar isn't blue).

http://i.imgur.com/KDn9k4rl.png (http://i.imgur.com/KDn9k4r.png)

4.) Save/Apply/Close your way out
5.) Done

http://i.imgur.com/rXCOvpSl.png (http://i.imgur.com/rXCOvpS.png)
Note, the terminal window is now under the dash.

...quick way, in terminal run:

dconf write /org/gnome/shell/extensions/dash-to-dock/dock-fixed true

2015-08-31, 07:55
Extensions & Taskbars/Toolbars
Extensions are GNOMEs plugins/addons equivalent.

There is not an easy way to switch between active programs by using a mouse. The dock kind of helps (however by default will hide away at times) (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-amp-Tweaks&p=49477&viewfull=1#post49477) and it only uses group icons rather than having captions of the title of each running program.

http://i.imgur.com/x4UWUykh.png (http://i.imgur.com/x4UWUyk.png)
Full Image (http://i.imgur.com/x4UWUyk.jpg). If the active window was Nautilus, rather than terminal before opening the menu - the dock would have been hidden.
- Single menu (rather than it expanding sideways).
- No toolbar with active windows.
- No shortcuts in the top panel. Using the dock.
- No workspace overview.

Solution #1 - TaskBar Extension
http://i.imgur.com/tWJlWJgh.jpg (http://i.imgur.com/tWJlWJg.jpg)
Full Image (http://i.imgur.com/tWJlWJg.jpg)
Extension: Taskbar (https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/584/taskbar/)
+ Quick launch programs from top toolbar
+ Allows for lots of customization
+ Hides pointless programs running in the top bar (missing from the screenshot)
- Active programs in the bottom tray are just icons - can't see the title.
- No shortcut to notification popup
Quick Install

curl -s http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=3uqaGLSc | tr -d '\15\32' | bash

Solution #2 - Frippery & TaskBar Extensions
http://i.imgur.com/3UucUT6h.jpg (http://i.imgur.com/3UucUT6.jpg)
Full Image (http://i.imgur.com/3UucUT6.jpg)
Extension: Frippery (http://frippery.org/extensions/) & Taskbar (https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/584/taskbar/)
+ Action programs in the tray have titles.
+ Notification popup (bottom right - next to workspace switcher)
+ Moved the clock to the right
+ Hides pointless programs running in the top bar
+ Quick launch programs
- No customization
*Personal Recommendation*
Quick Install

curl -s http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=1nb0Xygi | tr -d '\15\32' | bash

2015-08-31, 07:56
Change Super Key Button & Activity Overview
By default, the 'super' key is the left "system" button (aka - Windows or Apple button) - between left "CTRL" and left "ALT".
When pressed, it displays "Activities Overview".

http://i.imgur.com/7qgzWTTl.png (http://i.imgur.com/7qgzWTT.png)

For OSX users, when using Kali in a VM (such as VMware Fusion), pressing the system button (aka apple button) and tab, to trigger the host window switcher, it will, at the same time, trigger the "Activities Overview" in Kali (The guest OS).
Kali's windows switch (Guest VM) shortcut command is "ALT + Tab". OSX (Host Machine) is "Apple + Tab"

To switch the Activities Overview from the left system button to the right system button.
In terminal, run the following:

gsettings set org.gnome.mutter overlay-key "Super_R"

2015-08-31, 07:56
GNOME Terminal & Open Tabs
This is the default program used to interact with the OS via a command line interface.

There isn't an option to make a new tab, just a new window (via the drop down menu).

http://i.imgur.com/RmzNpbUl.png (http://i.imgur.com/RmzNpbU.png)

Use the shortcut to create a tab .


http://i.imgur.com/0h9NAlOl.png (http://i.imgur.com/0h9NAlO.png)

2015-08-31, 07:56
Screen Shield & Lock screen
"Screen Shield" is the "thing" on the lock screen, where you have to slide to unlock, to access the login prompt.

http://i.imgur.com/BplK3NBl.png (http://i.imgur.com/BplK3NB.png)

I don't have a touch screen device or it's too fiddly on a mouse.

Press ESC (Escape).

2015-08-31, 07:56
There have been various people mentioning their Kali 2.0 being slower at opening applications or their machine "randomly freezing".

This isn't straight forward.

Please make sure your system has enough system resources. (If you're using a Virtual Machine - both the guest and host). Kali GNOME needs at least 768MB of RAM. 2GB recommended.
If you are unable to do this as your system hasn't got enough hardware resources - switch to "Kali Light" (https://www.kali.org/downloads/).

The difference between "Kali" and "Kali Light" can be found here: Whats the difference between: Kali vs Kali Light vs vs Kali Mini vs Kali ARM vs Kali Docker vs Kali Cloud vs NetHunter vs Custom Image (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27106-Kali-2-Common-Tool-Issues-Differences-Between-v1-0-and-v2-0&p=49492&viewfull=1#post49492)
In short: Kali Light uses XFCE rather than GNOME & It's also shipped without the "kali-linux-full" metapackage (https://www.kali.org/news/kali-linux-metapackages/) (which is why it's much smaller. More information, see here (http://tools.kali.org/kali-metapackages)). To get all the same tools as "normal Kali" apt-get -y install kali-linux-full.

Another thing is the local tracker service, which is indexing all the metadata of all the files on the system - allowing for quick searching in Activity Overview (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27105-Kali-2-GNOME-3-10-Customization-amp-Tweaks&p=49479&viewfull=1#post49479) ...and before you freak out: This is all stored locally on your system and never transmitted remotely.
When a lot of new files are added to the system, the tracker daemon will start to hog all of the CPU (maxing it out). An example of this is when 'git cloning' a large git repository, such as the Metasploit framework (https://github.com/rapid7/metasploit-framework/). The following commands should disable it:

gsettings set org.freedesktop.Tracker.Miner.Files crawling-interval -2
gsettings set org.freedesktop.Tracker.Miner.Files enable-monitors false
tracker-control -r
mkdir -p ~/.config/autostart/
cp -f /etc/xdg/autostart/tracker* ~/.config/autostart
sed -i 's/X-GNOME-Autostart-enabled=.*/X-GNOME-Autostart-enabled=false/' ~/.config/autostart/tracker*

Other users on the forum have reported that issues with video drivers could be causing it. As I cannot replicate this, I cannot advise on a solution.
Different users have said manually upgrading GNOME to v3.10.3 or higher is reportedly working. This is not supported, so no solution will be posted.

Lastly, stop using GNOME as a Window Manager (WM). It's not as complex as it sounds making a switch: apt-get -y install xfce and log off =).
I personally prefer using XFCE for various reasons (less running in the background/lighter on resources, much more customization, horizontal menu structure, slimmer window borders). You can find my XFCE guide & setup here (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27107-Customising-Kali-2-0-XFCE-4-Window-Manager-axiomd-Theme).

Gnome 3.16 is lined up in the next kali released ~ https://bugs.kali.org/view.php?id=2588#c3884
This might fix the issue.

2015-08-31, 07:56
(Bonus) Other Customizations
If you like altering your OS to make it your own or finding alternative programs, I can highly suggest the following to any user:

Terminator - Replace GNOME terminal
ZSH/Oh-My-ZSH - Replace bash with a different shell
Tmux - Terminal multiplexer (allows you to run multiple terminals in a single window) - very helpful when connecting via SSH (Like 'screen' but "better').
Alias - Shortcut commands

To install:
apt-get -y install terminator
This then allows you to do split terminal windows as well as many other features.

To install:
apt-get -y install zsh && curl "https://github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/raw/master/tools/install.sh" | zsh
For some of the features this shell can do: http://www.slideshare.net/jaguardesignstudio/why-zsh-is-cooler-than-your-shell-16194692.
...There is fish/oh-my-fish as another alternative, however, I personally prefer ZSH/Oh-My-ZSH.

To install:
apt-get -y install tmux
Once in a tmux session (run: tmux new), you are able to run whatever commands you like, in however many sessions, switching between all the windows.
If you are SSH in, you are then able to disconnect from SSH at any stage and your programs will still be running. You just need to SSH back into the box and reattach tmux (run: tmux attach) and everything will be exactly the same as where you left off.
There are also many other features which tmux can do. This is only a single example
If you're using OSX, you should be using 'iTerm 2 (https://www.iterm2.com/)' (Free & Open Source Terminal replacement) which ingrates fully with tmux.

This is something in-built to most shells.
In a sense, you can make up a 'new' command, or overwrite a currently installed program.
New command (you can start up the necessary services required for the metasploit framework, then start msfconsole in quiet mode itself)

alias msfc="systemctl start postgresql; msfdb start; msfconsole -q \"$@\""

Overwrite program (when running nmap now, every time it will add --reason and --open in the command line arguments)

alias nmap="nmap --reason --open"

Examples of more:

alias tmux="tmux attach || tmux new"
alias axel="axel -a"
alias screen="screen -xRR"
alias mkdir="mkdir -pv"
alias ports="netstat -tulanp"
alias header="curl -I"
alias nmap="nmap --reason --open"
alias aircrack-ng="aircrack-ng -z"
alias airodump-ng="airodump-ng --manufacturer --wps --uptime"
alias msfc="systemctl start postgresql; msfdb start; msfconsole -q \"$@\""
alias openvas="openvas-stop; openvas-start; sleep 3; xdg-open >/dev/null 2>&1"
alias wwwroot="cd /var/www/"
alias ftproot="cd /var/ftp/"
alias tftproot="cd /var/tftp/"
alias sambaroot="cd /var/samba/"
alias vmroot="cd /mnt/hgfs/"
alias edb="cd /usr/share/exploitdb/exploitdb/"
alias wordlist="cd /usr/share/wordlist/"

## Extract file, example. "ex package.tar.bz2"
ex() {
if [[ -f $1 ]]; then
case $1 in
*.tar.bz2) tar xjf $1 ;;
*.tar.gz) tar xzf $1 ;;
*.bz2) bunzip2 $1 ;;
*.rar) rar x $1 ;;
*.gz) gunzip $1 ;;
*.tar) tar xf $1 ;;
*.tbz2) tar xjf $1 ;;
*.tgz) tar xzf $1 ;;
*.zip) unzip $1 ;;
*.Z) uncompress $1 ;;
*.7z) 7z x $1 ;;
*) echo $1 cannot be extracted ;;
echo $1 is not a valid file

Please note, you can 'skip' using alias by putting '\' in front.
Example (based on the nmap alias before - will not use --reason or --open):


Alternatively, you can put in the applications full path (/usr/bin/nmap) and it will not do it.

2015-08-31, 10:41
Vertical Menu
Kali 1 used to have a horizontal menu, expanding out to the side for the sub menus.
With Kali 2 using GNOME 3.10 the menu, folds down (which is the new GNOME standard method).
I haven't seen a 'good' extension to make GNOME once again be horizontal. The only solution to this that I can personally think of is switch to XFCE (https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?27107-Customising-Kali-2-0-XFCE-4-Window-Manager-axiomd-Theme) if it's that much of an issue.

http://i.imgur.com/0NQMcZDl.png (http://i.imgur.com/0NQMcZD.png)
Left: GNOME. Right: XFCE

2015-09-26, 22:59
Thanks for the guide and the awesome script ( https://github.com/g0tmi1k/os-scripts/blob/master/kali.sh ) .

I do have one question.

After running the script , it did take away one feature of gnome that I liked and cannot find for the life of me.

On the fresh Kali Install, I was able to right click the running application on the top panel and would be able to access the programs menus .

Kind of like how Mac OSX is when you open an app the menus change on the top panel ( if that makes sense ) .

Were is this feature?

Thanks again for the great script. I don't know how I was installing Kali w/o it!

2015-09-27, 07:09
You need to edit the settings on GNOME extension, Taskbar.

Extensions & Taskbars/Toolbars
Extension: Taskbar (https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/584/taskbar/)
+ Hides pointless programs running in the top bar (missing from the screenshot)

Open GNOME Tweak Tool -> Extensions -> TaskBar Settings (The little button to the right) -> Misc -> Disable: Hide Default App Menu.

2015-09-28, 13:56
Open GNOME Tweak Tool -> Extensions -> TaskBar Settings (The little button to the right) -> Misc -> Disable: Hide Default App Menu.

Thanks for the fast reply. That did the trick.

2016-01-03, 15:53
Hello g0tmil1k

Thanks for your tips about tweaking gnome.

I have a little problem with something. Hope you can help. I used your bash script for the Extension: Frippery & Taskbar.
Problem is I'm not really comfortable with the changes. How can I revert back all those changes to the default ones?
I'm trying to find "Flippery" & "Taskbar" in the gnome tweak tool but they're not here.


EDIT : Managed do uninstall Flippery & kept Taskbar but now when I maximize my windows I can't resize them when trying to grab from bottom right/bottom. They seem to be "out of the screen" at the bottom.

2016-03-25, 16:10
One tweak is a new terminal tab is Shift Ctrl T. Took me a minute to figure out what Ctrl Alt T wasn't working. :-P