How to install Kali Linux in VMware Workstation


If you want to start your cybersecurity journey, Kali Linux is one of the best operating systems for you as a beginner. It has many tools that you can use for ethical hacking or penetration testing purposes.

Install Kali Linux on VMware, as it is one of the best options to get acquainted with this advanced operating system. Even if you mess up or incorrectly install a feature in the virtual environment, it will not adversely affect the host operating system.

Here is everything you need to know about installing Kali in the virtual environment of VMware.

Installation requirements

The minimum requirements for installing Kali Linux in VMware are as follows:

  • Disk space: 10 GB minimum
  • Architecture: i386 or amd64
  • RAM: 512 MB minimum
  • VMware

  • Kali Linux ISO Image

Step 1: Download Kali Linux ISO file

Download Kali ISO Image

Before installing Kali Linux in VMware, the first thing to do is to download the Kali Linux image by visiting the official site.

Download: Kali Linux

To note: Download the ISO file according to your system architecture (32 bit or 64 bit) to avoid downloading the wrong version completely.

Step 2: Create a new virtual machine

After downloading the ISO file, it’s time to create a virtual machine on VMware. Open VMware and click Create a new virtual machine.

Select Create a new virtual machine in VMware

Once the following window appears, you need to provide the ISO of Kali Linux by clicking on the Browse option. Navigate to the folder where you downloaded the file and select following.

Kali installation error

Usually, VMware automatically detects the operating system; However, VMware may display the following error:

Could not detect which operating system is in this disc image. You will need to specify which operating system will be installed.

If this is also the case with your installation, simply ignore the warning by pressing following.

Choose the Guest operating system on the next screen. You must select Linux as a guest operating system. In the Version drop-down list, select the latest version of Debian, because Kali is a Linux distribution derived from Debian, followed by following.

Select Linux as guest OS

Give your virtual machine a name; this name is not fixed and can be any name of your choice. In addition, you can also change the location of the virtual machine or leave it as it is. Then click on following.

Name the virtual machine

Specify the disk capacity / size, which is the total amount of disk space that the virtual machine can use after it is created. For typical users, it is better to leave the default settings as is, ie 20 GB. Depending on your system specifications, you can reduce or increase the space.

Check the Split virtual disk into multiple files option for improved performance. To select following.

Specify the disk capacity for your virtual machine

Finally, in the last dialog, go through all the settings and customize the hardware settings, if needed. Once everything is in order, click on Finish to create your virtual machine.

Related: Practical Reasons to Start Using a Virtual Machine

Step 3: install the operating system

After creating a new virtual machine, you now need to install Kali Linux. Select the newly created virtual machine and start it by selecting the Play virtual machine option. VMware will now boot into Kali Linux.

You will get a list of options to install Kali Linux; to choose Graphical installation and select Carry on. Use your arrow keys to navigate across the screen.

Select the graphical installation

Choose your preferred language for the operating system; by default, it will be English. If you want to select another language, select the language, followed by Carry on.

Select the language of your operating system

On the next screen, choose the geographic location of your system. Then select the native keyboard layout using the arrow keys; by default, it is american english. This should begin installing the operating system, which will further open a Network setup dialog box.

Configure the keyboard for Kali installation

Enter the hostname of your system in this Network setup box; provide a machine name and select Carry on.

Enter your hostname for Kali OS

Enter the domain name of your system. Then enter a username to create an account (the user will not have superuser access).

On the next screen, you will have to re-enter the username entered previously. Set a password for your username, which you will use to log into your system after installation.

Now is the time to partition your drive; keep this default value (Guided – use the entire disc) and press Carry on.

Partition the disks to complete the installation of Kali

Select a disk to partition (SDA, VMware virtual disk). The installation wizard will ask you to choose a partitioning scheme. Highlight the option that says All files in one partition (recommended for new users) and click on Carry on.

Partition the disk in Linux

Once you have selected the appropriate options, you will get a summary of your disk partitions. To select Complete partitioning. Keep clicking on Carry on on each screen to go to the next.

To select Yes to confirm the changes. Once you have selected all the required settings, the actual installation will start, which takes a bit of time.

Select the partition disk option

If you want to add additional software, you can select it on the next screen. Then click on Carry on proceed.

Install the essential software to launch Kali

Install the GRUB boot loader by selecting / dev / sda (bootloader device), followed by Carry on.

Install GRUB Bootloader in Kali VMware

Once the installation is complete, you will be prompted to restart your virtual machine. You will see the GRUB boot loader screen when the VM starts up. To select Kali GNU / Linux and log in with your username and password. This will bring you to the Kali Linux desktop screen.

Once the virtual machine is started, you will receive a context menu asking you to install VMware Tools for Linux. Install them to get advanced features for your virtual machine. If you don’t want to install them, you can select Remind me later.

Related: Dual Boot Vs Virtual Machine: Which One Is Right For You?

Install operating systems on virtual machines

The installation process can be a bit onerous, especially if you don’t know how to go about it. However, with the steps listed above, rest assured you will be in good hands. The detailed procedure on how to install Kali Linux on VMware is simple, and here to help you install it directly in a virtual machine.

You can also install Kali Linux on Oracle’s VirtualBox, as the service is free to download and is easily accessible.

how to install kali linux on virtualbox
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