I usually write all my instructions for Oracle VirtualBox, however, many of you have approached me to also provide instructions for VMWare. As always, I provide what you ask for. In this tutorial, I show you how to install Kali Linux 2020.1 on VMWare Workstation Player. VMWare Workstation Player is the free version of VMWare Workstation and can be used as an alternative to VirtualBox.
The down-side and main reason why I haven’t used it in the past is that you can only run 1 VM at a time with the free version, whereas VirtualBox allows you to run as many VM’s as your host can handle. Kali has made quite a few changes with the release of version 2020.1, to get an overview of what they have changed, check out my video on it.
There are two ways to go about this installation. One is downloading the Kali Linux Installer Image and go through the installation manually, which requires you to also install VMWare Workstation Tools manually, the other is downloading the pre-configured VMWare image file that Kali provides for us. We will cover the second option, as it is more beginner-friendly.
Step 1 – Downloading VMWare Workstation Player
If you haven’t done this already, go ahead and download VMWare Workstation Player. Install it leaving everything at default.
Step 2 – Downloading the Kali VMWare Image
Head over to the Kali Linux website and scroll down a bit to download the Kali Linux VMWare image. Choose either 64 or 32-bit, depending on your system architecture. If you don’t know what that means, opt for 64-bit, which is more likely nowadays.
After you have finished the download, go to your downloads folder and unzip the Kali VMWare Image.
Step 3 – Install Kali Linux 2020.1 on VMWare Workstation Player
Now, this is not an install per definition, because we are importing the image, but SEO requires to phrase it out that way.
Open up VMWare Workstation player. Click on Player -> File -> Open… or select Open a Virtual Machine on the right side.
Navigate to your Downloads folder and select the Kali-Linux-2020.1-vmware-amd64 file. Alternatively, move the unzipped folder to a different location if you don’t want to store the VM in your Downloads folder. I recommend creating a folder like C:\VM and copy it in there.
The machine will be ready immediately.
Step 4 – Configuring VM settings
Right-click the imported VM and select Settings.
First, allocate as much memory as you can spare. If you are running Windows 10, make sure to leave at least 4 GB of memory for your Windows 10 machine. In doubt, leave it on the recommended value.
The same goes for the CPU. Assign as many cores as you can spare.
Next, head to the Options tab and select General. You can change the name of your VM here. I also set Enhanced Keyboard to “Use if available”.
Lastly, I like to set VMWare Tools to be updated automatically.
Step 5 – Initial Configuration
Now we are ready to start Kali Linux 2020.1. Simply click on Power On. When the dialogue pops up, select “I Copied It“. Once you reach the login screen, login with the default credentials kali/kali
Changing the Keyboard Layout
Most people probably want to change their keyboard layout first thing. To do that open the menu -> type keyboard -> select keyboard -> Select Layout -> Untick “Use system defaults” -> Click on +Add to add a Layout -> Remove the old layout.
Updating & Upgrading
The first move is always to update apt and upgrade the system to the latest version. Open a terminal and execute the command below. When getting prompted for a password enter the default password: kali.
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
Changing the Default Password
Lastly, we change the default user and root password.
Conclusion & Where to go from here
And that’s all it takes to install Kali Linux 2020.1 on VMWare Workstation Player. I highly recommend reading my Top Things to do after Installing Kali Linux article as a next step, where I cover the installation of the most popular tools and further steps to improve security.
Another good resource would be the Best Hacking Books article if you are interested in advancing even further.