How to Install Kali Linux on VirtualBox

Endrit Qerreti

Endrit Qerreti

In this tutorial you will learn how to install Kali Linux on Virtualbox on Linux. Kali Linux is a Linux distro mainly used for Security Research, Penetration testing, Computer forensics and Reverse Engineering.

Kali Linux supports

Arm Devices

Bare Metal





Virtual Machine


In this tutorial we are going to make a full install of Kali Linux on Virtualbox, even though kali linux provides virtual machine ready images, which means you don't have to install anything but you can simply upload kali linux image to Virtualbox and it will give you full access to Kali Linux system. However, this is not the goal of this tutorial, it is better I recommend you learn to Install Kali linux by yourself step by step as you can customize it as you want.

So let's start

Download Kali Linux - Live Mode

Download Kali Linux - Bare Metal ISO

Simply copy and paste the url above and the downloading should start.

Note: I'm using the Live Mode ISO of Kali Linux for this tutorial, because you can Test Kali Linux before you install it on your machine, but this also means it will install the default xfce4 desktop environment and default tools.

If you want to be able to Install a different desktop environment such as Gnome or KDE then you can download the bare metal ISO and Install it, the installations steps are the same, all you have to do is replace the live boot ISO with the bare metal one on VirtualBox and follow the steps on this tutorial.

Step 1 - Open VirtualBox

Click the New button as shown on the image below

Step 2 - Set OS Name

Next, choose a name for your system, You can set "Kali Linux" as your OS name, this will not only change the name but it will also set the correct Type and Version based on your hardware.

Machine Folder : Is the folder path where the system will be installed, you can change this to your preferred location

If this doesn't happen, make sure Type: is set to Linux and Version: set to the correct version of Kali Linux that you downloaded (64bit or 32bit)

Once you are done with all fields click Next

Step 3 - Select the ram size

Kali Linux requires 2GB of Ram and 20GB of Space when using Kali Linux desktop which includes a full installation of Kali Linux with xfce4 desktop environment

Once you set the ram size continue by clicking the Next button

Step 4 - Hard Disk

Check the box " Create a virtual hard disk now" and click the Create button

Step 5 - Select the Hard Disk filetype

If you plan to use Kali linux only on Virtualbox then you can go with the first option "VDI",  if you want this installation to be able to use it on other virtualization softwares such as "Qemu" or "Vmware" you can choose the "VHMDK" format.

VDI - Will create an hdd image that is designed to work only on Virtualbox

VHD - Is the standard disk format of Microsoft

VHMDK - Virtual Machine Disk will create an image that will work on all virtualization softwares such as "Vmware" "Qemu" and "VirtualBox"

Once you've selected the file type you want click Next button

Step 6 - Virtual HDD Size

On this step you need to choose if you want the virtual hard disk size to be Dynamic or Fixed

Dynamically allocated - Means the virtual disk space will be dynamic, this means whatever space you have on your physical hard drive it will be available to use as virtual hdd by Kali Linux. If you are planning to use kali linux as a secondary Desktop and you are unsure about how much space that would take, then you can go with "Dynamically allocated" option.

Fixed - Kali linux requires 20GB of disk space. So you can set the virtual hdd space to 20GB and that will work, however you might want some more space if you plan to download more packages and for your personal files too. I'd recommend a virtual hdd of 40GB.

On this tutorial I went with a fixed space of 40GB, now click the Create button to create the virtual hdd

And you will see this pop up, this means the virtual hdd is being created so you may want to give it some time to complete, this type of format takes longer than dynamically allocated so grab yourself a coffee :)

Step 7 - Add Kali Linux ISO

Once the virtual hdd has been successfully created, now you need to attach the Kali Linux ISO on virtualbox

Select Kali Linux on Virtualbox then right Click the Settings button as shown on the image below

This will open the Settings Window

Now you need to Go to "Storage" next click on "Empty" cd icon under Controller:IDE, then on Otical drive: You need to import the ISO file, in this case Kali Linux file to do this, simply click the cd Icon with the down arrow and go to choose a disk file.

And now select Kali Linux iso " kali-linux-2022.2-live-amd64.iso" and click the Open button to import the ISO

Once you have imported Kali Linux ISO, you should see this window, all you have to do now is to click the "OK" button

Installing Kali Linux

1)Start Kali Linux VM

Select "Start Installer" and press enter

2) Language

Next Select Language and click Continue

3) Location

Next Select your location and click again Continue

4) Keyboard Layout

Next, select keyboard layout

5) Set hostname

You can set anything you want as hostname, set the hostname and click Continue

6) Set domain name

You can leave this field empty if you don't have an domain name, so simply skip it and click Continue

7) Set name of the user

Note: This is the name of your Device not the username, click Continue once you set your name

8) Create Username

Type your username and proceed to the next step by clicking Continue

9) Set a password

Once you have set your Name and Username for your Device, on this step you need to set a password for your username

10) Choose your Timezone

Select your Timezone

11) Partition Disk

Select Guided - use entire disk and click Continue

Select the HDD that appears on this window and then click Continue

Next select  "Finish partitioning and write changes to disk" and click Continue

Now you need to write the changes to the disk, to do this simply Check the Yes box and click Continue

And the Installation of Kali Linux will start, this will take some time depending on your computer's specs.

Wait for the installation to complete and then move to the next step

12) Configure Package Manager

Once the installation has been completed, you'll be prompted to this Window, now you need to select Yes to use a Network mirror because this means it will configure the package manager to receive the latest updates.

Select Yes and click Continue

If you are using a proxy server on your computer then you can put the proxy server in the field shown on the image below, then click Continue.

If you're not using a proxy server then leave this field empty and Click Continue.

And you should see this window, this means the Package manager is being configured

13) Install GRUB boot loader

Next you need to Install the Grub boot loader, select Yes to this window and click Continue, this window will appear once the Package Manager has been configured.

Specify the device where you want to install the Grub boot loader, and click Continue

And the Grub boot loader installation will start

Once Grub boot loader installation finishes, the installation of Kali Linux will start, all you have to do now is to give the setup some time to complete.

14) Installation Completed

Now that the installation has been completed, click Continue to reboot the system so you can start using Kali Linux

15) Login to Kali Linux

Type your username and password, then click the Login button

And , that's it!


By now you should know how to Install Kali Linux on Virtualbox or in other words how to create a VM that runs a full install of Kali Linux, by using the VirtualBox virtualization software.