How to Install Kali Linux in VirtualBox on Windows

6 min


Here’s the easiest way to install Kali Linux on Windows via VirtualBox. This guide has everything you need to know.

Kali Linux is Debian-based Linux distribution, a powerful operating system for penetration testing, ethical hacking, and network security assessment. It is widely used by ethical hackers, security researchers, and penetration testers.

It’s the ultimate “go-to” operating system for security and hacking workloads.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to install Kali Linux on VirtualBox on Windows.

Kali Linux running inside VirtualBox on Windows 11
Kali Linux running inside VirtualBox on Windows 11

What is VirtualBox?

VirtualBox is a virtualization software that allows you to run multiple operating systems on a single physical machine. It is developed by Oracle Corporation. With VirtualBox, you can run multiple virtual machines, each with its own operating system, on a single computer. This makes testing new software and configurations easy without affecting your main operating system.

Why Use Kali Linux on VirtualBox?

Kali Linux is a powerful tool for security professionals and ethical hackers, but it can be dangerous if used incorrectly. You can protect your main operating system from any potential harm by running Kali Linux in a virtual machine on VirtualBox. Additionally, running Kali Linux on VirtualBox allows you to test and experiment with the operating system in a safe and controlled environment.

Install Kali Linux on VirtualBox on Windows

1. Download and Install VirtualBox on Windows 11 (or 10)

  • First, you must set up a few items for Windows to install VirtualBox. The VirtualBox installer will fail if you don’t install these:
    • VirtualBox in Windows requires Microsoft Visual C++ 2019 Redistributable package. Download it from this page (link under x64). And install it.
    • Also, it requires Python. For that, download Python from the official page and follow the installation setup. You can also refer to this guide for further details.
  • Once the above two items are ready, download VirtualBox from the official website below.
Download location for VirtualBox for Windows
Download location for VirtualBox for Windows
  • Run the setup to install VirtualBox. After installation, restart Windows.

2. Kali Linux ISO image download

  • After completing the VirtualBox installation, download the Kali Linux ISO image file from the link below. The ISO image is a file that contains all the data necessary to install Kali Linux on your computer. You can directly download the ISO file or use the torrent to download it.
Download location for Kali Linux
Download location for Kali Linux

3. Create a new virtual machine and configure storage, memory

  • Once you have installed VirtualBox, launch the application from Windows 11 start menu. And click the “New” button to create a new virtual machine.
Select VirtualBox from start menu
Select VirtualBox from start menu
Click on New
Click on New
  • In the create virtual machine window, give any meaningful name.
  • Keep the Folder Name unchanged. This is the path where the virtual machine file will be created.
  • In the ISO Image field, browse the Kali Linux ISO file you downloaded.
  • Make sure to choose Type=Linux and Version=any 64-bit Linux.
  • Click on Hardware and select the RAM you want for your virtual box. A thumb rule is that your VM’s RAM size should be less than your physical RAM in the host system. I would recommend using 2 GB to 4 GB for a virtual machine for an 8 GB RAM system. For 4 GB RAM, use the slider (or type in) to make it 4096 MB (i.e. 4*1024).
  • Choose processor as 2 or 4.
  • Click on the Hard Disk section, and keep the file location unchanged.
  • Give a minimum of 20GB to 25GB for Kali LInux installation.
  • The hard disk file type value keeps as VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)
  • Do not select the pre-allocate full size.
  • And finally, click on Finish.
Specify the name of virtual machine
Specify the name of virtual machine
Specify the memory and processor size
Specify the memory and processor size
Choose storage size
Choose storage size

4. Install Kali Linux on the virtual machine

  • With the virtual machine configured, you can now proceed with the installation of Kali Linux. To do this, click the “Start” button in the toolbar or right-click > select start > normal start.
Start the virtual machine
Start the virtual machine
  • After a successful boot, you should see a screen showing various options for installing Kali Linux. Select the first default option to start the installer.
  • In the next few screens, select Language, region, and other basic details per your location.
Choose Language
Choose Language
  • Add any hostname you want. I have added “debugpoint” for this demo.
Add hostname
Add hostname
  • In the next screen, keep the domain name blank. Then give your name and user name (the login name). Enter the password for that user.
  • In the partition screen, select “guided – use entire disk”. This is the best option for installing in VirtualBox. If installing it on the physical system, do not use this option.
Select entire disk
Select entire disk
  • Select all files in one partition.
All files on one partition
All files on one partition
  • And select finish partitioning and write changes to disk. Select Yes in the next screen.
Finish partitioning
Finish partitioning
  • Continue with the installation as per the on-screen instructions.
Installing Kali Linux
Installing Kali Linux
  • When the following prompt appears, select the following ones (default), which feature the Xfce desktop environment and key hacking tools. Hit enter to continue.
Select what desktop environment and hacking tools you want
Select what desktop environment and hacking tools you want
  • Wait for the installation to finish. Kali Linux installation VirtualBox will take a few minutes (approximately 10 minutes). While nearing the end of the installation, the installer will ask you about the GRUB installation. Answer Yes and choose the device /dev/sda and continue.
Installation of Kali Linux is complete
Installation of Kali Linux is complete
  • Click on Restart Now after the installation is complete. Wait for a few seconds and you should see a login screen.
  • Use the user id and password to log in. And you should see Kali Linux desktop is running inside VirtualBox as VM in Windows.

5. Starting and Upgrading Kali Linux in VirtualBox

Once you have installed Kali Linux, it is important to update and upgrade the operating system to ensure that you are running the latest packages. From the application menu, open a terminal and run the following commands in sequence to keep your system updated.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

6. Installing Guest Additions (optional)

  • After the installation, you should install the VirtualBox guest additions for Windows Host and Kali Linux Guest. The guest addition is a set of packages you need to install inside the guest VM (i.e. Kali Linux) to enable shared folders, bi-directional copy/paste, automatic resolution change, and many such features.
  • To install it, boot into Kali Linux (which you just installed). From the VirtualBox menu, select Devices > Insert Guest Additions CD Image. The necessary packages will be mounted inside Kali Linux.
  • Open the file manager and open the mounted folder as shown below. And then right-click > select open in terminal.
Select the option to insert and mount guest addition CD
Select the option to insert and mount guest addition CD
Open the mounted disk and a terminal
Open the mounted disk and a terminal
  • Then run the following command:
sudo ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run
  • After the above command is complete, restart Kali Linux VM.

7. Enable Copy and paste between Windows and Kali Linux

  • To enable the copy and paste between Windows and Kali Linus systems, select Devices > Shared Clipboard > Bi-directional from the menu.

8. Shutting down Kali Linux VM

  • Ideally, you should shut down a VM from its own power-off menu. However, you can also shut it down from the main VirtualBox window. Right-click on the VM name and select Close > Poweroff.

9. How to delete Kali Linux and remove all data

  • If you want to delete the Virtual machine entirely (.e.g. Kali Linux) and its data, select Remove and delete all files.

Wrapping Up

In this article, you learned how to install Kali Linux in VirtualBox on Windows 11. This guide should be applicable for Windows 10 as well. It’s easy to set up Kali Linux if you follow the above steps.

Finally, if you run into error, let me know in the below comment box.


Arindam

Creator and author of debugpoint.com. Connect with me via Telegram, 𝕏 (Twitter), or send us an email.
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