How to install Kali Linux on a Virtual Machine

install kali linux on a virtual machine

Wanted to use Kali Linux, but unsure of installing it on your main computer? Don’t worry, there is another way of using Kali Linux without installing it as an operating system on your hard disk, by using virtual machine.

Before moving ahead in the process of installing Kali Linux on a virtual machine, let’s see in short, that what is virtual machine. In computing, a virtual machine (VM) is an emulation of a computer system. Virtual machines are based on computer architectures and provide functionality of a physical computer. Their implementations may involve specialized hardware, software, or a combination. You can read more about virtual machines from here.

Now for installing Kali Linux on virtual machine, we need two files:

  1. Kali Linux ISO file.
  2. VMware Workstation Player Software. (You can also use Oracle Virtual Box. Both are Virtual Machines)

Links to download all the files are given below:

Kali Linux:

VMware Workstation Player:   

Now after downloading both the above files, install VMware Workstation Player on your computer. If you want to know how to install VMware Workstation Player on computer then click here.

Steps to install Kali Linux on virtual machine (VMware Workstation Player) :-

          (A)Create Virtual Machine:

  1. Open up VMware Workstation Player and click on Create a New Virtual Machine.
  2. Now select Installer disc image file (I) and click on Browse and Select the ISO file that you have downloaded.
  3. Click on Next and under Guest Operating System, select Linux and under version select Ubuntu or Ubuntu 64-bit, depending on whether your processor is 32-bit or 64-bit (for 32-bit, select Ubuntu and for 64-bit, select Ubuntu 64-bit) and click Next.
  4. Now under Virtual machine name, give name to your Virtual Machine that you are going to create, any name. I am giving it “Kali Linux” (without quotes). You can give it any name.
  5. Under Location, select location, where you want to create your Virtual Machine. I am leaving it as it is. Click Next
  6. Now select the amount of disk size you want to allot to the operating system, that you are going to install on your virtual machine. I am leaving it as it is at 20GB as it is sufficient for me. (It is recommended to you to leave it as it is at 20GB).
  7. Now there are two more options:

           —-Store virtual disk as a single file

           —-Split virtual disk into multiple files

          I will recommend you to rather select 1st option i.e. Store virtual disk as a single file. Click Next.

          Now it will show you the default settings using which it is going to create Virtual Machine. If you want to make changes, click on Customize Hardware.

  • Under Customize Hardware, under Memory, you can specify the amount of RAM, you want to allocate to the operating system that you are going to install on the Virtual Machine. Default is 1024 MB or 1 GB. If you have RAM below 4 GB, then I will recommend you to leave it as it is.
  • You can also change other options, but I will recommend to leave them as it is for now. You can change them later also. Click Close and then click on Finish.

Now we have finished creating Virtual Machine. Now let’s start the process to install Kali Linux on it.


  • Open VMware Workstation Player

(B) Install Kali Linux on Virtual Machine:

  1. Click on Play Virtual Machine to start the installation procedure.
  2. Click on Install (To return to the main computer, Press Ctrl + Alt for PC)
  3. Select Language, Location and Keymap to Use (leave it as default).
  4. After it finishes its loading, you will be asked to enter hostname. So under hostname, type any name you want to give to your operating system. I will leave it at kali. Select Continue.
  5. Under Domain name, type any name or leave it blank. I am leaving it blank and select Continue.
  6. Now it will ask for root password. Type in your password and click Continue. Re-enter password to verify and click Continue.
  7. Select your Timezone.
  8. Now it will ask you to select Partitioning method. Select Guided – use entire disk. Select the disk to partition and under Partitioning scheme select All files in one partition.
  9. After that select Finish partitioning and write changes to disk and then under Write changes to the disk, select Yes.
  10. Now wait for some time and let it install the system.
  11. Now after it is done installing, it will ask for to Use a network mirror. For now select No.
  12. After few seconds, it will ask you to Install the GRUB boot loader to the master boot record, select Yes and then under Device for bootloader installation, select /dev/sda.
  13. Click on Continue to finish the installation and wait for few minutes (depending on the processor of your computer). That’s it

Now it will automatically restarts and boot into Kali linux. Select *Kali GNU/Linux. It will ask you to enter your username and password. Under username, enter root and under password, enter the root password that you have entered before and press Log In.

Click on Use default config and Congratulations!!!!!! You have successfully installed Kali Linux on a Virtual Machine.

To Change Resolution:

Now to change the resolution, Go to Applications > Settings > Display and then under Resolution, select your resolution.

Bonus Tip:

Now that you have installed Kali Linux successfully, if you wanted to copy and paste or drag and drop some files directly from your main computer to Kali Linux, you might need to install some additional softwares by using Terminal. If it is working by default then you don’t need to follow these steps, but if it is not working then let’s see how we can do this:

1) Open up the Terminal and type in:  
apt update && apt -y full-upgrade
2.) Reboot now in case you have updated to a new kernel. Once rebooted :
apt -y install open-vm-tools-desktop fuse
Open Terminal Emulator in Kali Linux

For more information, click here.

For more linux tutorials:

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