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Install Kali in Virtualbox (Updated to kali 2021.3)

The makers of Kali Linux have a released the second version (2020.2) of Kali Linux for the year 2020.  Since many versions have been released since we last wrote this article, we decided to update this article on how to install Kali in Virtualbox.

Kali Linux 2020.2 has many brand new features.  With xfce and gnome given Kali Linux feel, this release has given themes for KDE Plasma. This is like going back to its roots as Backtrack used to have this desktop environment. The login screen also has been given new graphics along with a new layout. Also now you can install Powershell by default by selecting the meta package while installing. This release also updated gnome to 3.36. The new tools included in this release include NextNet, the pivot point discovery tool and SpiderFoot  the OSINT tool.

The makers also included python2-pip once again to add support to some tools still depending on python2 although overall it upgraded to Python 3.8. This release also replaces CherryTree, the note taking application with Joplin. Now, let us see the simplest process  to install Kali in Virtualbox. For this download the virtualbox image of Kali Linux 2020.2 from here. We have performed this installation in the Oracle Virtualbox 6.

This howto is using the Kali Linux 32bit OVA . Your downloaded contents should look like below. As you can see, we have an ova file.

Now open Virtualbox and go to File Menu > Import Appliance as shown below. It can also be accessed using shortcut CTRL+ I.

A window like below will open. Browse to the OVA file we downloaded.

After selecting the OVA file, click on “Next”.  If you want to make any changes to the virtual machine settings like RAM, name etc, you can do it here. You can also leave it to default values if you want. Click on “Import”.

Click “Agree” when the software license agreement pops up as shown below. The import process starts.

After the import process is completed, Power On the virtual machine. You will see a login screen prompt. Login using the credentials kali:kali.

Here is the final look of the Kali Linux virtual machine we installed.

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225 thoughts on “Install Kali in Virtualbox (Updated to kali 2021.3)

  1. […] See how to install Kali Linux in VirtualBox. […]

  2. Small mistake “Then execute that file using command ./”

    Actually : “Then execute that file using command ./”.

  3. Thank you. Mistake regretted and rectified.

  4. Thanks for the guide. I am a little stuck at the end. The guest additions failed and the CD icon is shown on my desktop, as in the image above. However, when I open a terminal and type ‘ls’ it only returns ‘Desktop’ and if I go to ‘cd Desktop’ then ‘ls’ it shows nothing.

    1. Lee, I have updated the article which has a solution for your problem. Please read it.

  5. You rock. I had hit a block and the vmdk tip saved me !!!

  6. Thanks for the blog. Saved me a lot of head ache.

    1. Anytime ready to help.

      1. when i go into the boot screen (your sceond last image) i try to boot in but my screen just goes black. PLEASE HELP… email me please!

        1. @Rhys Walker, that shouldn’t happen. Wait for some time and see if something happens.If nothing happens, increase RAM and try.

  7. Thank you! Great comprehensive article.

  8. Hello i have followed your article , but sadly my linux gets stuck as soon as i select install. Any advice would be helpful thank you . I also would like to know if using the 64 bit version of the linux kernel could also be causing this problem .

    1. I once had thesame problem, actually there is an option for virtual machines in boot menue, find it then enable and you are good to go

      1. where i can find it help me please

  9. Manoj, do you mean to say that your linux installation is getting struck or virtualbox guest additions. Have you tried 32bit version.

    1. did you get any solution to your problem?

    2. I too am facing from same problem! The linux installation gets stuck as soon as i select “Install”. Virtual box is working fine! Plz give me a solution.

      1. Did you follow each and every step precisely?

  10. Guys, I have problem. I am new to Linux, I used to use Backtrack before (only for penetration testing) now when I got to the point of installing ./ – the command run something but in the middle I get this: the headers for the current running kernel were not found. if the following module compilation fails then this could be the reason. And then it still executes some more stuff… not sure if those headers are important or not? I just simply want to use Kali in full screen and have full ability for wi-fi penetration etc… Anyone knows if it’s important to have those headers??? Sorry I’m not Linux genius, though Linux seems cool to me, only if I had time to sit down and study about Linux more.

  11. In which screenshot did u enter the username???… I dnt remember entering any username during installation… but now that I successfully installed the OS, I can’t log into the system…

    1. Username is root, password is the password you entered while installation.

  12. I got everything clearly but can you please tell me what is the need of ‘ Virtualbox guest additions’?

    1. Guest additions offer you features like mouse pointer integration, full screen integration, shared folder support with host machine and many others.

  13. thank you , was stuck with vmdk vdi options.

  14. i have an important question : can u tell me what flavour of kali will work on the VB i have win 8.1 (not pro) 64 bit . because i downloaded Kali Linux 1.0.5 64-Bit torrent and tried to run it on VMware player but didnt work

    1. you should download iso after install right click the kali in the vm window list and select settings in the box that opens select storage, under controller:IDE tree select empty with the disc icon then an attributes list appears to the right where it says optical drive IDE secondary master there is a cd icon click the cd icon and select choose file then browse to your kali iso download after that close all until your back to the first window and just double click the kali in the list and wait for kali to boot, unless the torrent you downloaded was an iso file you could use that

  15. wheres the updated article,….??
    m stuck with same problem as lee’s
    cd/ nothing comes up
    ls shows destop n thean after nothing shows up??

    1. Got “cd /media”. It will show vmware tools

  16. it give me black screen at the end . dnt work

  17. HI, Thank you for this write up – i found the vm additions part extremely helpful. Thank you

  18. Excelente tuturial! Instalação feita com sucesso! Obrigada

  19. I am using VB 4.3.6, and Kali Linux 1.0.5 and the install simply does not work. Goes through the whole process, then at the end fails to load the boot loader.
    Any assistance would be great

    1. did you install kali linux virtual box images ..or vm images.? In the link he will be shown VM PAE.Just swtich to Vitual box images on top ..the ndownload

  20. Excellent tutorial! Everything worked like charm.

  21. thanks

  22. I reached the Kali pre-boot screen (where it asks for Live, install , graphical install etc)
    i hit install and nothing happens (it should show me the languages windows)
    help me please

  23. i m getting system installing failed ,before that al steps was executed correctly

    1. Where exactly are u getting trouble?

      1. For me, it fails at “Copying data to disk” in Installing system.

      2. I get fail at the point of copying data to disk also – trying the 64bit iso, have pae checked.

      3. Ok, I ripped out the sata disk, used scsi, vmdk and make it fixed size 16GB – NOW it finishes install 😉

  24. me to at about 80% on the system install section

    1. My first problem (kernel needs x86-64 processor, found only i686) was solved by changing Operating System in Settings->General to Debian (64-bit).

      The problem harish and I had (Installing System fails while Copying data) was (for me) caused by trying to set up LVM (usr/var/temp) using guided partitioning. The fix: Guided partitioning, use whole disk, everything on one partition, beginner style.
      I don’t know if manual LVM would work *shrug*

      I hope someone finds this useful.

  25. 69 % fail. in step system install

    1. I had the same exact problem. I realized when I created the virtual machine, I had made it with the default of 8GB hard drive. The directions say you need more than 10GB. Other sites I read recommended a minimum of 12. So I created a new virtual machine with 12 GB hard drive and when I installed Kali on the new machine, it worked like a charm.

      1. Hey guys, keep your hard drive space atleast 15GB.

  26. se produjo un error al instalar el sistema base. 69 %

  27. username : root
    password : toor

  28. So after I set up the mirror image it goes to a blue screen and does nothing after that, how do I fix that?

    1. The bluescreen oddly stays for some long time and the installation continues. Please wait on at this step a bit longer.

      1. Thank you sir.

  29. After installing a blank screen appears and nothing happens…Please help

    1. Are you talking about the blue screen?

  30. Reblogged this on daleswifisec and commented:
    Great step by step instructions on how to install Kali Linux in VirtualBox. Plenty of screen shots for those visual people and it really helps tell how the configuration and install should work.

    1. 512 mb ram, 15gb harddisk should be ok.

  31. Helped me(noob) alot much appreciated.

  32. Failed to open the optical disk file C:UsersSiddhant JainDownloadskali-linux-1.0.6-i386.iso.

    Could not get the storage format of the medium ‘C:UsersSiddhant JainDownloadskali-linux-1.0.6-i386.iso’ (VERR_NOT_SUPPORTED).

    Result Code: VBOX_E_IPRT_ERROR (0x80BB0005)
    Component: Medium
    Interface: IMedium {05f2bbb6-a3a6-4fb9-9b49-6d0dda7142ac}
    Callee: IVirtualBox {fafa4e17-1ee2-4905-a10e-fe7c18bf5554}
    Callee RC: VBOX_E_OBJECT_NOT_FOUND (0x80BB0001)

  33. Geetings and thank the above for the setup tutor. Iam getting failed attempt at install. I am running Ubuntu 13- from 120gb SSD. I then have a 500GB disk as back up. The back up disk is where I am trying to install the Kali through the Virtualbox from my ISO image When using Virtual Box, that is the only disk that I can choose. Question. does if fail becuase Ubuntu is on SSD, so is VB so does Kali need to install there? PA/NE is checked
    ?? Advice appreciated and welcomed!

  34. I have Unbuntu 64 bit on SSD 120GB drive then a 500 GB storage. Trying to install from ISO image to 500 GB HD with virtualbox. I keep getting to the point where it starts but gives the msg , install failed. Question is does it have to be installed to the SSD? to work?

    If yes to SSD, when I run through Virtualbox setup , it only allows me to select the 500 GB drive —any advice /welcomed/appreciated

  35. Can I use all the functions or apps of kali to crack WPA2 passwords & stuffs like that while using it on virtual box with VirtualBoxAdditions installed???

    1. Yes, but you will need a compatible wifi usb adapter

  36. What system spec is enough to run everything smoothly?

    1. Are you talking about host or guest system specs.
      My host consists 2GB RAM. For guest I allot 512MB RAM and everything runs smoothly.

      1. A host system.Will a 1.8ghz i3 processor with 4gb ddr3 do the job?

        1. Processor is ok but kali itself needs 15 GB of space

      2. Ty for the help : ) the hdd of the laptop is 1tb so itll be enough.

  37. Cant install, error message every time 🙁

    1. What is the error message and at what point?

  38. […] found this fine guide…, but the installation failed all the time at 69% finished. And looking at the comments in the […]

  39. Hi I am using virtual box on mac, i wanted to install guest additions to enable kali linux in full screen, i tried all your words but could not get it in full screen

    1. Sorry, this guide is about windows only.

  40. I use mac and i have installed kali linux in virtual box followed all the steps, but still the full screen is not enabled

    1. Hey, this guide is for windows only. Sorry about that.

  41. how to install set in kali linux???????

  42. thunk you man …nice article

  43. hi there admin !!! pls help me… after installation it doesnt show user id password….it says ” oops something went wrong…pls contact administrator

    1. Hey @shaik imran, give more RAM and try to start.

  44. great tutorial.thank you so much. i have encountered a problem while installing guest additions.everything is working just fine except the part that says “building the main guest additions module ” instead of it being done,its saying failed.please help.

    1. @jbie, even if it says failed, just restart the system and check. In many cases it gave the same error but guest additions were installed successfully. If you still face the same problem, try this

  45. Friend please help me i install kali linux 1.0.9 nine times but still it show error (installing the failing item from the menu) plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz help meeeeeeee.

    1. @Hilal, try this guide

  46. […] install Kali Linux in Vmware Workstation or Oracle Virtualbox (see how ). Set the network adapter to NAT. Now open command line in your host machine and check the IP […]

  47. Hi I have black screen after kali linux install if do you know how you can solved it please ask me. Thanks you.

    1. @hugo, please try out my latest guide

  48. i want to know if i download kali and useing virtual box so tell me how to go back from kali to windows

    1. @lakshay n, didn’t exactly get your question. If you are in full screen in virtualbox and want to go back to Windows host, try “Right CTRL + F”. then just minimize the Virtualbox.

  49. tell from where i can get kali linux

    1. @lakshay n, just google ” kali linux download”

  50. i am in stuck in the midway of the installation of the linux partioning. after selcecting the gudied partion, a warning comes stating that the entire files on the drive gets erased, so if i continnue will i loose the data or something. please let me know as soon as possible

    1. Rohan, since you are doing this installation in a virtual environment, nothing will get erased. So continue your installation.

  51. Hey if you could please help me out. Everything worked great until it got to adding the guest. I got to /media/cdrom# ls but there are no files listed. You say I need to deal with but there are no files listed. I have checked spelling and syntax. If you could please assist me in what i should do next, i would greatly appretiate it. Thank You. Please email me at [email protected]

    1. @kevin, try out my easiest guide

  52. i complited all prosess like desplayed here but last time when it ask for boot and enter continue it stuck on black screen and cursor . how to solve that please replay sir

    1. @pritam, just wait at that stage. If you are still facing that problem, try out my trouble free guide.

  53. After cd cdrom you put ls and nothing shows up on mine doesn’t find the

    1. The virtualbox guest additions CD is not loaded, try to install it once again. If the problem persists, try out my trouble free guide.

  54. Hi i have some issue, in step where we put “apt-get update && apt-get install -y linux-headers-$(uname -r)”, ask me if apt-transport-https installed. . . .what i do?

    1. @littlenoob, try out my latest guide.

  55. I am getting an error stating installation failed.I checked different websites which said that if Network mirrors are chosen as “No” then kali does not get installed. Kanishka please help me!

    1. Hey @sam, try out this guide. It is easiest.

  56. Dear Sir, sir everything was going fine until finshing of installation. after that it did’t ask me for username and password. now as i open kali on virtualbox one black screen displayed, don’t go ahead. pls suggest….