How to Install Kali Linux in VirtualBox on Windows
In this post, you’re going to learn how to install Kali Linux in a VirtualBox virtual machine on a Windows 10 host.
🎥 Want to watch a video to supplement your reading? Check this out:
If you don’t have VirtualBox installed, head over to VirtualBox.org and download the latest version.
You can skip this step if you already have it installed. ✅
Download Kali Linux
Head over to Kali.org and download the desired ISO image.
Download the 64-bit only if you’re running a 64-bit CPU. Otherwise, download the 32-bit version.
If you want to install all the tools that Kali comes with, select the Everything version.
For this tutorial, we’re going to install the recommended version.
One final check you must do before initiating the installation is to enable virtualization in your BIOS/UEFI system.
To check if virtualization is enabled, press
CTRL + SHIFT + ESC to open Task Manager -> Performance then see the Virtualization label.
If your virtualization is disabled you must go to your UEFI/BIOS and enable it.
Here is how it looks on my system.
Yours may be different.
Intel users may find the setting labeled as VT-d or VT-x.
AMD users as AMD-V.
Make sure to consult your motherboard’s manual if you cannot find the virtualization setting.
Let’s finally configure the virtual machine and then install Kali Linux!
Virtual Machine configuration
Start up VirtualBox and click the New button.
Choose a name for your operating system.
It will be used in any filenames such as configuration, hard disk, and snapshot.
Then select the Kali Linux ISO file you just downloaded and then click Next.
The Type and Version fields will be automatically completed when you select the ISO Image.
Hardware is the next section where we can define how much RAM to use.
The higher amount of RAM, the better the performance.
Various tools inside Kali can use a lot of resources.
In this example, I’m going with 6GB of RAM (6144MB in binary).
I’d say you should go with something between 25-50% of your maximum RAM. The same goes for CPUs.
Kali tends to be more efficient than Windows, and allocating more resources will cause Windows to get sluggish.
Click Next once you’re ready to move to the next step.
Virtual Hard disk is the next screen.
As the name suggests, we can create a Virtual Hard Disk.
My SSD has a total of 2TB and I’m ok with allocating it 100GB.
You can also opt not to add a Virtual Hard Disk.
In this example, let’s go with 100GB.
The final screen is the Summary.
If you made a mistake and you’d like to change something, you can go back and do it.
If you’re ok with the setup, then press Finish.
The wizard is complete! Awesome 😎
Advanced Virtual Machine configurations
We still have some small tweaks to ensure we have a healthy virtual machine.
Select the Kali virtual machine and click on Settings to customize it further.
Go to General -> Advanced and make sure to set Shared Clipboard and Drag n’ Drop to bidirectional.
In System -> Motherboard change the Boot Order so that Hard disk is on top and Optical is the second.
Everything else should be disabled.
In System -> Processor enable the extended feature named Enable PAE/NX ONLY if you’re using a 32-bit system.
Leave it disabled if you’re using a 64-bit system.
In Display -> Screen, make sure to have Video Memory set to 128MB.
Also, make sure to have 3D Acceleration disabled as people have reported it causes issues.
Press OK and your settings should look like this:
The configuration is complete and you are now ready to install Kali Linux on your virtual machine! 🎉
Install Kali Linux 🐉
Power up the virtual machine by double-clicking it.
Alternatively, you can power it up by right-clicking it, then Start -> Normal Start.
You should be greeted with the Kali Linux Boot screen.
Select your preferred language.
This will be used for both the setup process and once you are using Kali Linux.
Select your location.
Select the localization.
Select the keyboard layout.
Click Continue and then Kali Linux will start installing media files.
Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit back, relax, and wait for the next step. 🍹
Configure the network
I’d go with the default kali hostname.
I choose neutron as the domain name.
Next up you’ll have to create the user account for the operating system.
Choose a name for the new user.
Choose a username.
Choose a good password.
Kali will ask for the password every time you boot it up.
Select the Guided – use entire disk option.
Select the disk we created earlier.
Choose disk partitioning
Depending on your needs, you can choose to keep all your files in a single partition or to have separate partitions.
If you’re not sure which you want, go with All files in one partition.
Next, you have one last chance to review your disk configuration before the installer makes irreversible changes.
Write the changes to disks?
Select Yes and click Continue.
After that, the installation will take several minutes.
Once the core of the system is installed, a new window will pop up asking you to select a collection of tools.
I’d go with the ones selected by default but feel free to install everything you need.
The more thing you select to install at this point will make the installation last a bit more.
It is important to install the GRUB boot loader.
Select Yes and then press Continue.
Then select the primary drive to install the GRUB boot loader.
Finally, finish the installation
At this point, the installation is complete and you have to reboot your virtual machine.
Just press Continue and wait for the system to reboot.
Enter your username and password and you’re in!
Welcome to your new Kali Linux desktop!
Let’s now resize the window resolution to look much better.
CTRL + C twice.
Your window should look like this.
You’re all set!
Enjoy your new Kali Linux! 🐉
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