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How to update Kali Linux?

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Kali Linux, formerly known as BackTrack Linux, is a penetration testing focussed version of Linux. It specialises in running of portable bootable media such as flash drives, memory cards, and so on.

Its lightweight architecture helps it run on practically any system; however, this lightweight architecture also comes up with certain complications. In spite of the simplistic GUI and menus, Kali Linux isn’t the easiest when it comes to beginners.

The sheer amount of utilities that Kali has also means that it gets updated quite regularly and if you run it off removable media, chances are you might have missed out on some updates. In this article, we show you how you can get right back on track and update your version of Kali to the latest.

Also read: 9 reasons why developers tend to choose Linux over Windows

How to update Kali Linux?

Step 1: Configure/update Kali Linux repositories

The first step of making sure your installation is on the latest version, make sure that your /etc/apt/sources.list has the following lines in it.

deb kali-rolling main non-free contrib
deb-sources kali-rolling main non-free contrib

These are the official Kali Linux repositories from which we’ll be pulling updates.

Step 2: Use the apt-get command to update Kali. Unless it’s a massive update or a complete work, you can update Kali by typing in

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrage

Optionally, you can check which packages are scheduled for updates using apt list –upgradable. You can individually update these packages using apt install [package name]

How to update Kali Linux? Everything you need to know

How to update Kali Linux? Everything you need to know
The apt-get utility always takes a confirmation before the update

And that’s about it. Your OS is fully updated. However, there’s still a little bit of optional cleaning up to do.

Also read: What is XAMPP? Downloads, apps, themes and addons

(Optional) Step 3: Updating kept-back packages

Due to dependency changes, some packages might be held back from the system update. The apt-get command will notify you of any such packages if present. You can update them individually as stated above, or you can update them all at once using:

sudo apt dist-upgrade

(Optional) Step 4: Deleting packages you don’t need

This step is a bit of a stretch, but a little bit of file management goes a long way. Also, during a full-blown update, some packages might become obsolete as well. To remove all such packages, type:

sudo apt autoremove

Also read: What is kernel in Linux?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: