Installation Guide for Kali Linux

Introducing Kali Linux

The creators of BackTrack have released a new, advanced penetration testing Linux distribution named Kali Linux. BackTrack 5 was the last major version of the BackTrack distribution. The creators of BackTrack decided that to move forward with the challenges of cyber security and modern testing a new foundation was needed. Kali Linux was born and released March 13th 2013. Kali Linux is based on Debian and an FHS-Compliant file system.

Kali has many advantages over the BackTrack. It comes with many more updated tools. The tools and streamlined with Debian repositories and synchronized four times a day. That means users have the latest package updates and security fixes. The new compliant file systems translate into running most tools from anywhere on the system. Kali has also made customization, unattended installation, and flexible desktop environments and strong feature in Kali Linux.

Kali Linux is available for download at (

Kali Linux Setup

Kali Linux can be downloaded in a few different ways. One of the most popular ways to get Kali Linux is to download the ISO image. The ISO image is available in 32-bit and 64-bit images.

If you plan on using Kali Linux on a virtual machine such as VMware, there is a VM image prebuilt. The advantage of downloading the VM image is that is comes preloaded with VMware tools. The VM image is a 32-bit PAE. In theory, a PAE kernel allows the system to access more system memory than a traditional 32-bit operating system. There have been some well-known personalities in the world of operating systems that have argued for and against the usefulness of PAE kernel. However, the authors of this book suggest using the VM image of Kali Linux if you plan on using it in a virtual environment.

Running Kali Linux from External Media

Kali Linux can be ran without installing software on a host hard drive by accessing it from a external media source such as USB drive or DVD. This method is simple to enable however has performance and operational implementations. Kali Linux having to load programs from a remote source would impact performance and some applications or hardware settings may not operate properly. Using a read only storage media does not permit saving custom settings that may be required to make Kali Linux operate correctly. It’s highly recommended to install Kali Linux on a host hard drive.

Installing Kali Linux

Installing Kali Linux on your computer is straightforward and similar to installing other operating systems. First, you’ll need compatible computer hardware. Kali is supported on i386, amd64, and ARM (both armel and armhf) platforms. The hardware requirements are listed below, although we suggest exceeding the minimum amount by at least 3 times. The better hardware Kali Linux runs on, the better the performance and user experience will be. Download Kali Linux and either burn the ISO to DVD, or prepare a USB stick with Kali Linux Live as the installation medium. If you do not have a DVD drive or USB port on your computer, check out the Kali Linux Network Install.

Installation Minimum requirements:
·       A minimum of 8 GB disk space for the Kali Linux install.
·       For i386 and amd64 architectures, a minimum of 512MB RAM.
·       CD-DVD Drive / USB boot support
·       You will also need an active Internet connection before installation. This is very important or you will not be able to configure and repositories during installation.

When you start Kali you will be presented with a Boot Install screen. You may choose what type of installation (GUI based or Text Based) you would like to perform.

Kali_install_1Kali Linux Boot Screen

Select the local language preference, country, and keyboard preferences.

Kali_install_2Language Preference

Select a hostname for the Kali Linux host. The default hostname is Kali.


Select a password.

Simple passwords may not work so chose something that has some degree of complexity.

Kali_install_4Selecting a Password

The next prompt asks for your time zone. Modify accordingly and select continue. The next example shows selecting Eastern Standard time.


The installer will ask to setup your partitions. If you are installing Kali on a virtual image, select Guided Install – Whole Disk. This will destroy all data on the disk and install Kali Linux. Keep in mind on a virtual machine, only the virtual disk is getting destroyed.

Kali_install_6Setting time zones

Advanced users can select manual configurations to customize partitions.

Kali also offers the option of using LVM, logical volume manager. LVM allows you to manage and resize partitions after installation. In theory, it is supposed to allow flexibility when storage needs change from initial installation. However, unless your Kali Linux needs are extremely complex, you most likely will not need to use it.

Kali_install_6Partitioning your system

The last window displays a review of the installation settings. If everything looks correct, select yes to continue the process as shown in the next screenshot.

Kali_install_7Partition Details

Kali Linux using central repositories to distribute application packages. If you would like to install these packages, you need to use a network mirror. The packages are downloaded via HTTP protocol. If your network uses a proxy server, you will also need to configure the proxy settings for you network.

Kali_install_8Configuring a Network Mirror

Kali will be prompt to install GRUB. GRUB is a multi-bootlader that gives the user the ability to pick and bootup to multiple operating systems. In almost all cases, you should select to install GRUB. If you are configuring your system to duel boot, you will want to make sure GRUB recognizes the other operating systems in order for it to give users the options to boot into an alternative operating system. If it does not detect any other operating systems, the machine will automatically boot into Kali Linux.

Kali_install_9Installing Grub

Congratulations! You have finished installing Kali Linux. You will want to remove all media (physical or virtual) and select continue to reboot your system.

Kali_install_10            Finish Installation


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