The objective of this guide is to show how to set the system time on Kali Linux. This can be done from both GUI and command line, so we’ll be covering both methods in the following instructions.
Setting your system time and time zone is usually done when initially installing Kali. If you skipped that step during installation, have switched time zones, or your system clock has drifted out of sync, we’ll help you get it fixed.
In this tutorial you will learn:
- How to set time on Kali from Xfce GUI
- How to set time on Kali from command line
|Category||Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used|
|Other||Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the
# – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user
Set time via GUI
We’ll assume that you’re using the Xfce desktop environment in Kali, which is the default GUI. If you’re using GNOME or some other environment, the screenshots below are going to look a little different. However, the steps should be very similar.
- On your desktop, right click the time, and open the properties menu.
- Begin typing your time zone into the box. Xfce will automatically complete your search as you type. If the right one doesn’t come up, try typing it differently for the matching to work. For example, “U.S. Eastern time zone” is just listed as “EST” in this menu.
- After you’ve typed your time zone, you can change some of the other settings to your liking, then click the close button when you’re done.
That’s all there is to it. Your system clock should now be synchronized to the time zone you selected. You don’t need to fiddle with setting the time and date manually, as Kali will query online time servers to determine the correct date and time for your configured time zone.
If you’d like the ability to configure the time or date manually, instead of just the time zone, you’ll have to resort to the command line method that we cover in the next section. Setting your time zone from the command line also allows you to sync with a certain city, like New York for example.
Set time via command line
In most cases, you’ll probably just want to configure your time zone, and we’ll show you how below. But we will also cover the instructions for manually setting your system clock, in case you have a circumstance that requires you to set a different date or time than official time servers.
- Open a terminal and type the following command to see what time zone your system is currently configured for.
$ timedatectl Local time: Fri 2021-01-08 04:33:12 EST Universal time: Fri 2021-01-08 09:33:12 UTC RTC time: Fri 2021-01-08 09:33:11 Time zone: America/New_York (EST, -0500) System clock synchronized: no NTP service: n/a RTC in local TZ: no
- List available time zones with the following command. Pick one relevant to your location, and we’ll configure your system to that time zone in the next step.
$ timedatectl list-timezones
Use the grep command to narrow down the search. In the example below this command will produce a list of all available time zones in Australia:
$ timedatectl list-timezones | grep Australia Australia/Adelaide Australia/Brisbane Australia/Broken_Hill Australia/Currie Australia/Darwin Australia/Eucla Australia/Hobart Australia/Lindeman Australia/Lord_Howe Australia/Melbourne Australia/Perth Australia/Sydney
- Once you’ve picked the correct time zone from the list, use the following syntax to set your system’s time zone.
$ sudo timedatectl set-timezone Australia/Sydney
- Confirm that the changes have been made with the
$ timedatectl Local time: Sat 2021-01-09 14:15:11 AEDT Universal time: Sat 2021-01-09 03:15:11 UTC RTC time: Fri 2021-01-08 09:46:05 Time zone: Australia/Sydney (AEDT, +1100) System clock synchronized: no NTP service: n/a RTC in local TZ: no
- To turn time synchronization on or off, use the respective command below.
$ sudo timedatectl set-ntp on OR $ sudo timedatectl set-ntp off
If these commands don’t work, you need to uninstall the NTP package and install systemd-timesyncd. The following command will do both things.
$ sudo apt remove ntp
- If you’d like to set the system clock to some arbitrary date and time, ensure that time synchronization is off (as we’ve shown above) and use the following date command. This command will set the date and time to
10 January 2021, 12:00 PM, but substitute any values you want.
$ sudo date -s "10 JAN 2021 12:00:00"
In this guide, we saw how to set the system time via GUI and command line on Kali Linux. Not only can you synchronize your clock to any of the world’s time zones, but Linux also allows us to set arbitrary values if we want.