Install Kali Linux on Windows – Complete Beginner Guide

It is tradition on this blog to have an updated guide on how to Install Kali Linux in the easiest possible way. In this guide, I show you how to Install Kali Linux on VirtualBox in a complete, beginner friendly guide. We won’t skip any steps and I make sure to take you through step of the way.

Let’s get right started.

🚀 This tutorial has been updated for Kali Linux 2021.3

Table of Contents

Step 1 – Installing VirtualBox

VirtualBox is a free to use tool to create virtual machines. It is also the top choice when it comes to installing Kali Linux. I personally use VirtualBox for the past several years.

Head to the VirtualBox website and download the latest version of VirtualBox and the also the VirtualBox Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack.

Install Kali Linux Download VirtualBox

Once you are done with that, install VirtualBox leaving everything as default. After that, install the VirtualBox Extension Pack. Now we are ready to Install Kali Linux on VirtualBox.

Step 2 – Install Kali Linux

Before we can install Kali Linux, we have to download it.

Downloading Kali Linux

I have written a complete guide on how to download Kali Linux and check the downloaded file for legitimacy, for those of you looking for 100% safety.

Head over to the Kali Linux website and download the Kali Linux 64-bit VirtualBox Image. The advantage of this pre-configured image is that we don’t have to run through the initial installation process of Kali Linux. It also comes pre-loaded with all the necessary drivers we need to run Kali Linux on VirtualBox.

Downloading Kali
Download Kali Linux

It makes the whole installation process way easier!

Step 3 – Importing Kali Linux to VirtualBox

Now we have everything that we need to install Kali Linux.

Open VirtualBox and click File → Import Appliance…

From here, choose the downloaded Kali-Linux-YourVersion-vbox-amd64.ova file from your Downloads folder and click on Next.

Install Kali Linux Import Kali VM

Adjust the location where you want to store your Virtual Machine File if you don’t want to use the default location and click on Import. We are going to change things like CPU, RAM, etc later on.

Install Kali Linux Change VM Location

Agree to the license agreement and wait for the import to finish.

Step 4 – Fine Tuning Kali Linux

After the import is done, right-click your imported VM and select settings. Confirm any upcoming prompts from VirtualBox with yes, it might has to install some network drivers.

Changing the VM Name

In the General tab you can change the name to something less generic.

Install Kali Linux Change VM Settings

Adjusting Memory

Next click on the System tab and adjust the Base Memory. As long as you stay within the green area of the adjustment bar, you are fine. As a general rule of thumb, try not not use more than half of your host computer’s memory. So if you have 8GB RAM in your computer, assign 4GB to Kali Linux.

Changing Memory Settings

Adjusting Processors

Click on the Processor tab next. The same rule of thumb as with memory applies. Stay within the green area of the adjustment bar.

Adjusting Settings

Everything else can stay as it is right now. Exit the Settings by pressing OK.

Step 5 – Starting Kali Linux

Time to start our freshly imported Kali Linux! Right-click the Kali VM and click on Start → Normal Start.

When you start Kali Linux for the first time, it might take a while for the initial boot up.

While writing this tutorial, I have encountered this problem myself. If Kali Linux 2020.4 is stuck at the Kali logo while booting, follow the steps below. This has to do with Windows Hyper-V feature.

  1. Press Windows Key and type cmd
  2. Right-click Command Prompt and select → Run as Administrator

This has worked for me:

bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype off
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Restart your computer afterwards. Then Kali should boot.

Some users have reported they also needed to run this command to make it work:

DISM /Online /Disable-Feature:Microsoft-Hyper-V

I suggest you try it with running the first one and reboot. If that doesn’t work, try the second one and reboot again.

Step 6 – Logging in to Kali Linux

Now you are ready to login! The default login credentials are:

Username: kali

Password: kali

If you did everything right, you should be able to login and also be able to maximize your screen, as Guest Additions are already installed in this pre-configured image.

Initial Login

Next Steps

I won’t go over the next steps in this article as I have a complete dedicated article for that: The Top Things to do after Installing Kali Linux in 2021.

I highly suggest you follow at least the initial steps in this article, as I cover things like changing the default password and user and also show you my favorite Kali Linux tweaks.

Conclusion

I hope I could show you how to Install Kali Linux in an easy to follow way. Please check out the links below if you would like to stay up to date with my content!

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