Security+ Training Online | Lab | Customizing Kali Linux (Part 4 of 7)

kali lab Mar 12, 2018


What's up baby - so this is part four of our seven part series which walks you through creating your own Security+ hacking lab (so you can pass the test with confidence).

We've already covered how to setup VMWare Workstation and how to download and install Kali Linux.  Now I'm going to show you how to personalize Kali Linux which will make it way more fun to use.

Here's the rundown:

  1. How to Setup VMWare Workstation
  2. How to Download Kali Linux for your hacking lab
  3. How to Install Kali Linux from scratch (step-by-step)
  4. How to Configure Kali Linux (you know, how to pimp out the interface)
  5. How to Legally Download and Install Windows 10 for Free
  6. How to Install VMware Tools (open-vm-tools) in Kali Linux
  7. How to share folders with your VM

We are midway through our training session on configuring our hacking lab for the Security+ exam.

We are going to do five things in this training lesson:

  • Change the Kali Linux screen resolution to 1920x1080 HD
  • How to make the screen resolution permanent
  • How to change the time format in Kali Linux
  • How to set the global theme in Kali Linux
  • How to update and upgrade all packages in Kali Linux

We've got a lot to cover so let's not waste anytime!

Setting the Kali Linux screen resolution

The first thing we need to do is to use the generalized timing formula tool, more commonly known as the gtf tool.

We're going to set the resolution to 1920 x 1080 at 60hz.  So go ahead and log into Kali Linux and type the following:

gtf 1920 1080 60

Now we need to copy everything after the Modeline" value and feed it into the xrandr package.

So we'll type:

xrandr --newmode "1920x1080_60.00" 172.80 1920 2040 2248 2576 1080 1081 1084 1118 -Hsync +Vsync

Now, your values may look different.  The point here is that the xrandr --newmode attribute contains the text result after Modeline.

Awesome, next we'll add the mode by typing the following command:

And finally we'll set the output:

xrandr --output Virtual1 --mode "1920x1080_60.00"

This should instantly change your screen resolution in VMWare Workstation to 1920x1080.

Making Screen Resolution Permanent

To make the screen resolution permanent we need to configure a few things.  There's a lot to do here but it's worth it because the next time you reboot the VM the screen resolution settings will stay the same.  You'll always be at 1920x1080 in Kali Linux - which is awesome.

So let's change into the /etc/init.d directory, create a file and fill it out.

cd /etc/init.d
sudo vi resolution

This will open the vi text editor. Hit the "i" key to enter insert mode (so we can type stuff) and then
just copy and paste all that xrandr magic we typed earlier.

We'll start with the shebang prefix.


It's always a good idea to tell Linux the command interpreter to use whenever we build a script.
That's basically what we're doing here.

The "#!/bin/bash" line tells Linux that this file should be interpreted according to the rules of the BASH interpreter (which is the default shell for Linux).

Okay, so far so good. Press Esc to exit and then hit Shift ZZ to save the file. Now we need to make the
file executable by typing:

chmod +x resolution

Good.  Now we need to type cd to go to the home direcotry and then enter the .config folder.

cd /root/.config

And we'll make a directory named autostart and change into that directory.

mkdir autostart && cd autostart

Great now let's make the file we need:

sudo vi resolution.desktop

Press "i" to enter insert mode and type this in:

[Desktop Entry]
GenericName=Setting the screen resolution to 1080p HD to make it persist
Comment=By Vonnie Hudson (

Great. Press Esc, hit Shift ZZ to save it and then type reboot to reboot.


That should do the trick for you.  If it doesn't just leave a comment below and we'll figure it out together.  The most common mistake is a typo or not changing the file attributions of /etc/init.d/resolution to the execute bit.

Setting the Time in Kali

Great, the next thing we should do is to set the time in the 12 hour format (from the 24 hour format).  In the upper right corner of the screen, click the little power button and then hit the little wrench and screwdriver icon to open your settings.

Type "date" and then click it.

And make sure the clock is in AM/PM.

Setting the Kali Linux Theme

So we're going to be doing a lot of hacking from our Kali Linux machine; therefore, it should look like a hacking workstation.  That's why I like to change the theme to the dark theme.

Let me show you how to do this really quick.

From the Kali Linux desktop, move over the left edge of the screen and then choose the "Tweak Tool".  It's the second to last icon along the left edge of the screen (right below the green leafpad app icon)

Change it to "Adwaita-dark" and smile because you're system is starting to look really cool hehehe.  

Also, make sure you set the "Global Dark Theme" to "On" so all apps are updated with the new theme.

Using Kali Linux Tabs in Terminal

Finally, the last personalization step is make sure new terminal windows open as tabs.  It just makes it really easy to switch between all the terminals you'll have open during your hacking.  To open the terminal, click the little command prompt looking icon under the orange Firefox icon along the left side of the screen.

Now go to File > Preferences and under "Open new terminals in:" change it to "Tab".

Close it out and you're good there.

Updating Kali Linux

We should also update Kali Linux before we get started with our Security+ studies.

The magic command is:

apt-get update

This pulls down the "table of contents" of files available to download then we type:

sudo apt-get upgrade -y

This upgrades all the software in Kali Linux.  It'll take a long time and there are a few settings you'll need to confirm before the upgrade finishes so you can't exactly take a nap yet.

For a more detailed explanation of these steps check out my video walkthrough below.  You can find more videos like this on our SecurityPlusPro Youtube Channel.

Coming Up

Tomorrow we'll installing Windows 10 Enterprise in VMWare Workstation and in the last two lessons we'll install VMWare Tools in Kali Linux and I'll show you the proper way to set file sharing in Kali Linux.

We're almost done with our lab setup here!  I'll see you next week.


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