Fom’s giant list of Qubes OS workarounds, tweaks and shenanigans


No worries, feedback very welcome.

1- Given how many of these I have I figured posting in different threads would be more like some kind of horrific spam attack. I’ll also probably stand a better chance of maintaining these if there all in one place. But I admit its not ideal. For now I’m going to keep going before I loose my flow, but I’m open to reformatting in the future when I have time.

2 & 3 - Good points, I’ll try and incorporate them in my post at some point, but its gonna take some thought and I gotta finish my list first.

How to get rid of the home, documents etc folders in the sidebar of the gnome file browser (Nautilus) in a debian qube


In the file $HOME/.config/user-dirs.dirs change all the directories to be equal to “$HOME”

How to open all files in disposable qube


  1. Just follow deeplow’s excellent guide here: Opening All Files in Disposable Qube

  2. Remove inode/directory from that guide’s mimeapps list or the Qube Domains Open File Manager option from the toolbar/panel will stop working.

How to change what application your disposable qube opens things in


  1. In your disposable Qube’s template (The AppVM, not the actual template) edit

  2. In the file you’ll need to type the mimetype of the kind of file your opening in your disposible qube on the left. Deeplow’s mimeapps.list file here can serve as a good comprehensive reference for what mimetypes exist:

  3. Then type an equals sign.

  4. Then type the name of the .desktop file for the application you want to open that filetype in. You can get these names from /usr/share/applications

  5. Then finish with a semicolon, add more lines for any other filetypes you want to handle.

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Adding new search engines to firefox in a disposable qube’s template without taking it online

IMPORTANT - My approach below is seriously flawed if your worried about fingerprinting, see:

I’ll revisit the instructions below at some point in the future, or defer entirely to BEBF738VD guide (I haven’t read it yet :wink: )


  1. Using the qube manager remove the NetVM from your Disposible Template (That’s the AppVM one, not its TemplateVM.)

  2. Launch it and run firefox.

  3. Follow jscher2000’s excellent guide in the first response of this support thread: Set up custom default search URL | Firefox Support Forum | Mozilla Support

  4. Shut down your qube.

  5. Restore its NetVM.

Sidenote: Startpage is, as you might expect given its name, a pretty good startpage. It provides a URL based (no cookies required) way to set your preferences you can manipulate without having to take firefox online (Startpage - Private Search Engine. No Tracking. No Search History.). Its the best solution for a homepage I’ve found so far since firefox gives you no way to disable “pocket” from its homepage without first going online.

How to make a minimal fedora printing qube for an espon printer without downloading drivers from the manufacturer or exposing its TemplateVM to any network

In my case this was for a Epson Workforce WF-2750. There’s a decent chance this approach won’t work for newer espon printers due to their closed source drivers.

Credit to

Andrewdavidwong and runephilosof here: Contents/ at master · Qubes-Community/Contents · GitHub


  1. (In dom0 terminal) sudo qubes-dom0-update qubes-template-fedora-36-minimal. This will download a fresh minimal template.
  2. run “Qubes Update”, enable updates for qubes without known avalible updates, and update fedora-36-minimal
  3. rename fedora-36-minimal to fedora-36-minimal-printing in Qube Manager
  4. (In dom0 terminal) qvm-run -u root fedora-36-minimal-printing xterm
  5. A new xterm will open, run the following installation commands in it:
    1. sudo dnf install qubes-core-agent-networking
    2. sudo dnf install qpdfview-qt5 (so you can find and open docs printed as pdf and sent over from other qubes.)
    3. sudo dnf install system-config-printer
    4. sudo dnf install cups
    5. sudo dnf install epson-inkjet-printer-escpr
    6. sudo dnf install epson-inkjet-printer-escpr2 (Optional, may make some newer epson printers work if the previous package didn’t)
    7. close the terminal and shut down the qube (its needs restarting to get the cups services running)
  6. qvm-run -u root fedora-36-minimal-printing xterm again to start the template back up, type
    sudo system-config-printer
    (needs to run as root or you’ll get admin prompts you can’t pass)
  7. In print settings app:
    1. click the add button
    2. open network printer
    3. click LPD/LPR Host or Printer
    4. type your printers ip address into Host (You can get this from your router’s browser interface)
    5. click forward
    6. click Epson
    7. Select your printer make and click forward
    8. Assuming you’re happy with the names, click apply
    9. Click cancel (IE don’t print a test page)
    10. (optional) adjust your printer’s properties - > printer options so “Media size” is set to whatever your printers normal paper size is. Set any other default settings you desire while you’re there.
  8. Create a new qube called “printing” in qubes manager. (AppVM, fedora-36-minimal-printing, sys-firewall)
  9. (more secure, but optional) Change your new qubes settings so its marked as a disposable template and has a firewall rule limiting outgoing connections to your printer’s ip address. Add print settings and qpdfview to its applications.
  10. (optional) Change the default disposible template in which ever qube you do your printing from to your printing qube so you can quickly send your “printed” pdfs to it via right click “view in disposibleVM”

How to get Intellij Ultimate (Snap store) to work in Qubes OS


  1. Follow the official Qubes OS instructions here for downloading applications off the snap store: How to install software | Qubes OS
    Except for step 2 you need to use:
    sudo snap install intellij-idea-ultimate --classic
  2. Afterwards intelliji will be installed and visible, but running it will not launch anything.
  3. Copy
  4. Rename the file . Eg “tweaked-intellij-idea-ultimate.desktop”
  5. Edit .desktop, change the “Name” field to something else, eg “Tweaked Intellij Idea Ultimate”
  6. change the exec field to
    Exec=snap run intellij-idea-ultimate
  7. in qube manager refresh this qubes applications and add “Tweaked IntelliJ Idea Ultimate” or whatever you called it.
  8. Launch from that instead.

How to make Qubes OS usable on 4k displays

Credits goes to

Sven - Does Qubes support 4K displays? - #3 by Sven


  1. Follow Sven’s excellent instructions here: Does Qubes support 4K displays? - #3 by Sven (Obviously use /etc /not /etx/ in your debian xresources path)
  2. Change System Tools > Mouse and Touchpad > Theme >Cursor Size. (So your mouse cursor is adjusted like everything else.)
  3. If desired play with your Xfce panel settings to tweak spacing (using separators), sizes and icon sizes/layout within items.

Sidenote: I was aiming for x2 UI resolution and ended up setting my dpi to 192 everywhere and setting mouse cursor size to 48. This isn’t perfect x2 because the spaces between UI elements aren’t always increased, but its entirely usable and quite pretty.

If you also want Intellij Ultimate working at x2 on 4k:

  1. Within Intellij go to Settings > Appearance and Behaviour > Appearance > Use custom font
  2. Double the font resolution in there,
  3. Then go to Editor > Font
  4. Double the Size in there

Be careful, launching firefox in your DispVM-Template is not recommended, since it’ll create a permanent profile that will be subject to profile fingerprinting.

The recommended approach is to create a policies.json file in your TemplateVM that will be used to customize new firefox profiles.

I explained everything in great detail here, including adding/removing search engines: [Guide] Automatically install extensions and configure new (dispvm) hardened Firefox profiles with arkenfox user.js and policies

How to change Qubes OS to Dark mode

Credits goes to

Anon81475885, Sven & Szewcu - Guide: Xfce global dark mode in Qubes 4.0 / 4.1
Previous Highlight7 -



  1. For Dom0, Anon81475885’s guide still works, so follow it here: Guide: Xfce global dark mode in Qubes 4.0 / 4.1

  2. If your Dom0 taskbar/panel seems inexplicably immune to the changes impacting the rest of your Dom0 UI its probably because you didn’t have “save session for future logins” ticked as you logout/restart/shutdown. (So if you’ve previously disabled this via “session and startup” that’s why it isn’t working.) You only need to tick “save session for future logins” once after your change, you can untick it afterwards if you don’t like letting your session save.

Fedora 36 minimal

Changes in Fedora 36 seemingly broke most of the tricks in Anon81475885’s guide so we have to go rogue at this point.

  1. Open a terminal in your AppVM and type:
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface color-scheme "prefer-dark"
    (That’ll sort out libreoffice, nautilus/files and standard gnome apps like calculator.)

  2. Then create ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini and make sure it includes:


(That’ll sort out GTK3 apps like xed )

  1. Open a root terminal in your TemplateVM and type:
    sudo dnf install adwaita-qt5

  2. Then edit your template’s /etc/environment file to include:

(That’ll sort out QT5 apps like qpdfview, but they’ll frequently be missing icons – sorry I don’t have a solution for this yet.)

Eeek, good catch! I’ve put a big warning on my post for now, i’ll revisit it or delete it in the future. I’ve been tidying up weeks of notes most the day and I need a break from my own scribblings.

I’m going to appeal for help with something completely unrelated elseware on the forum and call it a day. Thanks for the feedback, please keep it coming if you spot any more issues!

Thanks for sharing notes with us.The others might consider customizing default Firefox this way, not messing with opening it in any template.

Setting non-existing search engine as the default in Firefox can be found in the last post is in the topic from my quote and it’s basically the same you pointed to.

Your suggestion suffers from the same flaw: it creates a permanent profile, thus it’s not recommended since there’s a better way: Fom’s giant list of Qubes OS workarounds, tweaks and shenanigans - #21 by BEBF738VD


There’s no any flaw. You are mixing two terms: customizing and fingerprinting. I have never spoken about the latter one.
I simply want my Firefox to looks and acts the same way I start it as a regular user who cares about security (by being secure while online, as well as not starting it in any template among other things), not the one who’d want something to hide.
Fingerprinting is completely different topic there, and for it I’d never use Firefox, because fingerprinting is about anonymity and as we all know Qubes is about security. For anonymity, there’s Whonix there, for example…

But let’s not spam the topic, or maybe it’s a good idea people to read this here and to reconsider their deployment scenarios…


You could try setting QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=qt5ct. Alternately try to start the app with --platformtheme qt5ct.

You can customize and de-fingerprint simultaneously. I just got a totally disposable browser to come up configured the way I want it, the first time, with no old profile being used; it is, in other words, becoming what I want the first time it’s run. And it has the arkenfox fingerprint stuff and other “hardenings” from his setup.

In short outline:

  1. Create a template with a fresh firefox install on it.
  2. Create a dvm template based on that.
  3. Start up firefox in the dvm template.
  4. Set up firefox the way you like it–do nothing else.
  5. Grab the .mozilla/firefox/aaaaa-/prefs.js file from that machine and copy it somewhere else. The aaaa will be the profile name that firefox set up for you. There will likely be two of them, one will be empty, the other will have -esr in the name.
  6. This file will be full of a lot of cruft, but you can experiment with removing things from it and then dropping it into the same directory on the dvm template (not the disposable) but name it user.js when you do so. Running firefox in disposables should let you see what the effect is.
  7. Later on you can treat this file just as if it were the arkenfox file (or you can even just append your stuff to a copy of that file), turning it into a firefox.cfg file and installing it on the temple (yes the template) as described in here: [Guide] Automatically install extensions and configure new (dispvm) Firefox profiles with arkenfox user.js and policies

NB: You cannot set the default browser in this way. The best I was able to do was set up the separate search bar, deactivate searching in the main URL bar, force it to only show my favorite search engine as a suggestion. But in the separate search bar, it still defaults to google. You will have to follow the instructions about policies in the link, and further down in the thread is the actual policy that will finally drive a stake through google.


Thanks. Probably it would help someone. Where it doesn’t suit me is

I never start anything in any qube that is in any way a template, except terminal and file manager.

Above, I explained how to do that by starting it in a dispVM. Get the profile there and do what you like to with it later.

Customizing might contain de-fingerprinting as well. But as I said, I don’t use Firefox in order not to be fingerprinted. I use Firefox when I actually want to be fingerprinted: online banking, logging to trusted sites and services, etc. To do this securely, I set Firefox dispVM with 800MB RAM and run dispVM (Firefox) per site. Separate dispVM (Firefox) is started for searches only (and when search on Google, exclusive dispVM for that). I don’t see a point to harden Firefox in order to log in to bank portal and to a gmail in the same instance of Firefox. I cannot be assured that can be achieved so I assume it is not feasible, thus run separate dipsVMs.

Huh, there’s an edit timer isn’t there? So I can no-longer go back and correct/improve my guides based on feedback? :thinking:

Well, looks like I didn’t think this through :expressionless:.

Regarding your third point here. I could be mistaken but I think anyone who (like me) has been forced to do the steps outlined in my “How to install Qubes OS when your motherboard hates it” instructions will have a system which bypasses/ignores grub.cfg and skips straight to xen.cfg. (Mostly because that seems to be what the official fix recommends, though I think restoring grub is possible.)
So, (I haven’t tried it,) but I suspect your solution might not work on my system, at least not without me restoring grub first.

Your point regarding sudoedit seems very good to me though and if I could edit my posts i’d be inclined to put that in.

Thanks, sounds promising, I’ll try this out when I get time.

…I should have said, I consider that initial DVM template to be a throwaway–you delete it after you get what you wanted out of it. Which makes that template a de facto disposable. With a dvm template you have the luxury of running it multiple times and tweaking what you did before. But then if you’re going to do that you might as well treat it like an AppVM…which is what it is, in fact, anyway. (That’s why I’m not quite as fussy as you are when it comes to DVM templates–I’m willing to “run” them once or twice for the purposes of making a configuration right though it’s not preferred. Make it a TemplateVM on the other hand, and I go Full Frontal Qubes on people…)

Be that as it may, you could certainly do that step in a DVM itself, but of course you have to grab the files you want before shutting it down!

Agreed. I wasn’t clear enough too. When I said offline I meant that updates-proxy-setup service is specifically disabled, beside netVM set to none.