Kali Linux default GNOME Theme is very boring and plain. The reason it is like that is because Kali Linux Dev team wanted to make a fast and reliable environment so that you can boot your system quickly and ge to work. But work (or hacking?) is just part of it. Like you, I sometimes get bored looking into the same old desktop over and over again and feel like having a new desktop or change color here and there. If you have a decent enough graphics card and processor (and RAM??) you might want to change or install theme in Kali Linux (this guide applies to any Kali version, so don’t worry which version you have). As Kali uses GNOME3 (GDM) Window Manager, so we will stick with GTK3 themes. The whole process takes only a few minutes and by the end of that, you should be able to:
- Install theme in Kali Linux
- Change default theme in Kali Linux
- Most importantly, roll back your changes and get same old Desktop back.
I’m a big fan of being able to roll back my changes so that if I mess up things, at least I will know where to go back and how to roll back. This saves a lot of trouble for later usage. Some themes are poorly made and throws errors all over my terminal. In that case, rolling back and using a different theme is the best idea. At the same time, I prefer to remove that erroneous theme or clean up theme directory. I guess that’s sound good, so let’s get on with it.
Before we start, there’s two different ways you can change theme.
- Manually install theme
- Install theme via PPA repository.
I will show both because both got their own merits and the only way you learn enough is by trying every possible corners on anything.
Choice A: Manually install theme
A lot of people wants to manually install theme and there’s nothing wrong with it. Takes a few more minutes, but in this way you learn how theme works in Linux rather than just blindly typing in few commands and install themes.
Step A.1: Install gnome-tweak-tool in Kali Linux
To install themes manually, we need to install a tool called
Gnome Tweak Tool. But before you do that, please ensure you have the correct Kali Repositories added. You can follow my guide on adding official repositories in Kali Linux.
At this point I would assume you have the correct repositories added. So just type in the following command to install gnome-tweak-tool.
root@kali:~# apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool
Step A.2: Open Gnome Tweak Tool
You can now go to Applications > System Tools > Preferences > Advanced Settings and select Theme TAB to inspect the current settings.
STOP: At this point I would like to take a screenshot of GNOME Tweak Tool. The reason I want it because I want to keep a copy of existing settings so that if I want, I can re-select the same settings to roll back my changes.
See the Tab Window Theme, Theme Icon and GTK + Theme I still use (the default) as my default settings.