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Sam Erickson
Sam Erickson

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HiDPI In Kali Linux Through RDP | Hyper-V

📃 HiDPI in Kali Linux Through RDP

To get started kali maintains a collection of “Pre-Built Virtual Machines” that we can download and use.

Screenshot of available pre-built virtual machines on the kali linux webpage:

In my case I downloaded the Hyper-V version by following the official documentation.

💻 Monitors

Once I got the pre-built virtual machine installed, and I started it up, I was pleased to see that the “Enhanced Session” was already enabled. This is a setting within Hyper-V that uses RDP to connect to the virtual machine. This gives us a bunch of nice features, like shared clipboard, and the ability to use all our connected monitors.

In my case using all connected monitors was an issue, since I have one 1080p monitor and one 4k monitor. So enabling Kali hiDPI Mode would make my 1080p monitor useless, but not enabling it would make the text on my 4k monitor way too small.

⚖️ Monitor Scaling Through Display Manger Settings

I was disappointed to find out that DPI scaling though XFCE display settings had no effect.

Image of XFCE display settings window.

Normally I would be able to set the scaling of my 4k monitor to 2x or 1.5x and leave my 1080p monitor to 1x, and things would appear correctly on both monitors, but since I could not get this to work I was left with configuring my Hyper-V settings to use only one monitor at a time. Then I can either use or disable Kali HiDPI Mode as required.

⚙️ Hyper-V Settings

In order to change the RDP settings used when you select “Connect” on a virtual machine within Hyper-V we can use the “Edit Session Settings…” button:

Screenshot of Hyper-V with a red box around the “Edit Session Settings…” button.

That will open the RDP Display Configuration window prior to connecting:

Screenshot of RDP Display Configuration window, showing the “use all my monitors” button and a “connect” button.

This allows us to configure RDP prior to connecting to our virtual machine. In this case we can un-check the “Use all my monitors” option and then connect. From there we can set Kali HiDPI Mode accordingly and we are done.

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