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How to install Kali Linux on Virtualbox?

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  • 5 min read

Kali Linux is a rather useful Linux distro if you’re into penetration testing. The OS has a host of tools that come with it that make recon and breaking into systems extremely easy.

One of the best things about Kali is its ability to run off of a USB stick on just about any PC. However, if you want, you can run it using VMware’s Virtualbox just fine as well.

There are two ways you can run Kali on a virtual machine.

In this article, we’ll be going over both methods so you can get your Kali virtual machine up and running in no time.

Also read: How to create bootable Kali Linux drive with Persistence?

How to install Kali using the premade VMware image?

For those who don’t like fiddling around with settings, the good folks over at Offensive Security offer readymade VM images for Kali. 

Step 1: Head over to the Kali VM download page and download the image according to your PC’s OS architecture. 

How to install Kali Linux on Virtualbox? | Candid.Technology

Step 2: Once the download is finished, fire up Virtualbox and click on Import. 

Step 3: Click the File button next to the File field and navigate the file we downloaded in the first step. Click Next when you’re done. 

Step 4: You’ll now be shown all the settings your virtual machine is being made with. You can change them if you want, but we recommend leaving them at their default.

Click Import when you’re ready.

Step 5: Now select the newly listed virtual machine and click Start. Your Kali virtual machine will fire up in no time. 

Also read: How to install Kali Linux?

How to set up your own Kali virtual machine?

If you’re looking to set up your own Kali virtual machine, you will need the regular ISO image file for the OS first. Follow these steps.

Step 1: Head over to the Kali download page and download the version you want. 

Step 2: Once downloaded, head over to Virtualbox and click New.

Step 3: Type in the name of your virtual machine, along with the Type, which will be Linux and the Version, which is going to be the architecture of your download. In our case, it’s 64-bit.

Click Next when you’re done. 

Step 4: Now, we’re going to assign RAM to our virtual machine. We recommend setting at least 4GB RAM aside so that you don’t face performance issues.

Step 5: For the VM hard disk, we’re going to create a virtual hard disk. So select the Create a virtual hard disk now option and click Create. 

Step 6: Select VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) as the disk file type and click Next. 

Step 7: For the size of the disk file, select Dynamically allocated and click Next. 

Step 8: Now select the initial size and location of the disk file. We recommend leaving these settings at default. Click Create when you’re done.

Step 9: Now select the newly made VM and click Settings. 

Step 10: Head over to the Display tab and increase Video Memory to 128 MB.

Step 11: Now, in the Storage tab, select the Controller: IDE option and click on the Empty CD drive. 

Step 12: Click on the CD icon next to Optical Drive and click on Choose a disk file. Now navigate to wherever your Kali image file is saved. If you’ve imported any other disk images previously, they’ll also show up here. 

Step 13: Now, head back to the System section and click on the Processor tab. Increase the Processor(s) to at least two. 

Step 14: Finally, under the General section, head over to the Advanced tab and set the Shared Clipboard and Drag’n’Drop to Bidirectional. This makes it easy to copy-paste files and text between the host and the virtual machine. 

Click OK when you’re done. 

Step 15: Select your virtual machine and click Start to start the boot process.

Step 16: You’ll be asked for a startup disk. Make sure that the disk selected in the dropdown is your Kali image file and click Start.

Your Kali virtual machine is all set to go.  

Also read: How to update Kali Linux?

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:

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