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  • How to Create a Bootable USB Installation for Kali Linux

    I use Kali Linux extensively when doing penetration testing and security assessments. Besides being fast, Kali Linux has pretty much every security tool I need built right in. On top of that, it’s free!

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    Another benefit, the topic of this blog, is that Kali Linux is easily installed on and run from a USB stick. Here’s how you can make your own bootable Kali Linux USB stick.

    First, gather the necessary supplies. These are:

    • A working PC running Windows 7 or later. I build the image from a current PC.
    • A blank USB stick. It must be 8GB or larger, and should be USB 3 for speed.
    • The original installation ISO from Do not download it from anywhere else, as you never know what you’re getting.
    • Win32 Disk Imager. I always grab the most current version directly from SourceForge.

    Before messing with the software I insert the USB stick in the PC and make sure it is recognized. I also remove any other USB or removable media to prevent mishaps.

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    Next, I fire up Win32 Disk Imager.


    It’s got a lovely clean interface! Notice how it found the USB stick mounted as drive E on the right side.

    Now I click the blue folder icon to the right of the Image File box. This opens a file browse window. I browse to the downloaded Kali Linux ISO and click OK.

    Special note: If the ISO doesn’t appear on the file list, drop down the file type and choose *.* because, by default, Win32 Disk Imager only displays IMG files.


    Now all I need to do is click Write. Win32 Disk Imager automatically formats the USB stick as bootable and copies the Kali Linux files into the proper locations.

    After about 5 minutes Win32 Disk Imager announces that it’s finished. Now that USB stick can be used as a boot device (on any PC that boots to USB) to run Kali Linux.


    Mike Danseglio – CISSP, MCSE, and CEH

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    Mike Danseglio teaches IT Security Training, Windows, System Center and Windows Server 2012 classes at Interface Technical Training. His classes are available in Phoenix, AZ and online with RemoteLive™.

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    1. Pingback: Here’s how you can make your own bootable Kali Linux installer on USB

    2. Zanco

      Will u share how to run Kali Linux as full installation on USB.

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