Streamline and enhance your new Kali


So your machine is provisioned and set up, but we might do some pretty intensive things on it and we want to keep it nippy, and make the things we already use work better. Here are my first installs when creating a new system, feel free to contribute your own!

First, update your kali with apt-get update && apt-get upgrade


Kali uses Gnome, which is nice but very thirsty for your precious RAM. This is Linux though so we can change that! Google “light linux desktops” and browse for your own solution, Personally I’m using LXDE; it’s lightweight and looks pretty much exactly like your Gnome install for Kali so there’s no learning a new interface:

to install:
apt-get install lxde-core lxde kali-defaults kali-root-login desktop-base

and then to use it, enter this command and choose the lxde option:
update-alternatives --config x-session-manager

my option was listed as:

  • 4 /usr/bin/startlxde 50 manual mode

Restart your machine to experience your speedy new environment, your nomachine connection if you’re going the GUI route will be a lot more responsive too!


Probably your most important customisation, since you’ll be living inside your terminal. The default terminal is fine, but if you have 5 or 6 different windows open it’s annoying navigating through them all.

apt-get install terminator

my favourite! you can split all your tasks into ‘panes’, which act as separate terminals all kept in one window. no more juggling single terminal sessions! it also allows you to save custom commands that you use often (such as your python tty trick!) so you can right click and tell it to send that command. Amazing!

You can also customise each pane, I have a nice big red background customisation so if I set up my hackthebox vpn client which must be kept running, I can keep that with a red background which means “don’t touch this!” I also colour-co-ordinate the rest of the panes to group them by the target they’re working on.

Launch it once then in your task bar right click its icon and “Add to favourites”.

File Manager

The Kali default file manager likes to take a leaf from OSX; There’s no address bar and navigating outside of your home directory is convoluted.

apt-get install pcmanfm

It looks like your default file manager but is just better in the areas that count, such as being able to manually type or paste a file path, at last! Right click that and add to favourites too, then remove the existing one because you won’t go back.

Now you have a lightweight install that is nippy and so much easier to use for 90% of what you’ll be using it for. Enjoy, and leave your own recommendations if you like!


Our older templates did use LXDE and we many include that version in the new template build to give customers an option. The old reason we changed it is many were use to seeing the gnome version and had never seen anything else and then panicked :slight_smile:

Stay tune as I will put it on the list for the next template roll out as we have the latest Kali versions we still need to add.


Excellent post!! :smile: