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How To Install Kali Linux On USB [Dual Boot Kali & Windows]

Kali Linux is one of the best operating system for ethical hacking. There are plenty of ways to install Kali Linux on USB as well. We can run Kali in Live mode using a USB flash drive.

Want to run Kali Linux without installing? Well, you can do it very quickly using a USB drive. Or even a memory card or SSD card will also be fine as we only need external storage space. Installing Kali Linux on Hard Disk is such a headache.

I’ve been using Kali from last few years using a USB. To Install Kali Linux on USB, we only need to take few steps which are very easy to follow. The beauty of Kali is that it can run on a device having very low specifications. So, what you’re waiting for!

Advantages Of Installing Kali Linux On USB Pendrive

Some people might think that why they need to install Kali On USB instead of installing it on HDD or in Virtual Box. According to me, it’s all up to the user’s requirements and below are some advantages of installing Kali on USB.

  • It offers full portability.
  • No need to create a separate partition on Hard Disk.
  • Forget Virtual Machine booting errors and other significant problems.
  • Persistence mode let us save data on USB which won’t be erased after reboot.
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  • A computer machine e.g laptop/pc.
  • Kali Linux ISO image file. If you don’t have then download it from here.
  • USB Pendrive, SSD (4 GB minimum).

If you’ve all these things, you’re ready to go further. There are three methods in total; all works fine and easy to follow.

Methods To Install Kali Linux On USB

Now, let’s directly jump to the methods which are used by thousands of people from all around the world. All these are way easier to follow with minimal efforts.

Method 1. Using Win32 Disk Imager

Easy to use, straightforward user interface and can write almost all the Linux Image files in external storage devices, Win 32 Disk Imager is my #1 priority for different reasons.

  1. Download the tool from here.
  2. Plug your USB/SSD to the laptop/pc.
  3. Open the Win32 Disk Manager and under the device, choose your external storage wisely.how to install kali linux on usb
  4. Click on the Folder icon.
  5. Under the Files Type, select * so that all the files will be visible.
  6. Select Kali Linux ISO.
  7. Click the Write button.
  8. Popup window will appear, accept the warning.
  9. Once the process is 100% completed, you’ll be notified.
    writing kali iso to pendrive
  10. Plug Out the USB/SSD and boot into it from the Boot Manager.

I love using Win 32 Disk manager because it’s good utility and comes with a straightforward user interface. But, two more methods are waiting for you down below.

Method 2. Using Rufus Bootable USB Maker

Rufus is another free and fantastic utility to write an ISO image file to external storage devices. Not only image writing, but it can do other unusual tasks as well.

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You need to choose some options to create bootable Kali Linux pen drive. We’ve shown the steps down below to install Kali Linux on USB using Rufus.

  1. Download the Rufus tool.
  2. Make sure USB is plugged into your PC/laptop.
  3. In the device selection, select your USB device.
  4. Set the partition scheme as a GPT partition scheme for UEFI.
  5. The file system should be FAT32.
  6. Set cluster size to 16KB.
  7. Then click on the Start button and wait till the process is done.install kali linux on usb
  8. Once completed, your live Kali Linux USB is ready to use.

Method 3. Using The Windows Command Prompt (CMD)

Note: This method is only for advanced users otherwise you might end up with no result or loss of data. Understand the commands deeply before executing them. (Administrator level access required)

  1. Insert your USB device to your PC/laptop.
  2. Press Win+R and type “cmd“, hit enter.
  3. In the command prompt, type diskpart.
  4. Provide admin access in order to run diskpart.
  5. Now, type list disk. All the drives connected to the pc/laptop will be listed. See the disk size to determine which USB you want to install the Kali Linux.
  6. Let’s say disk 1 is your USB, so type select disk 1.
  7. Type clean and hit enter.
  8. Type create partition primary.
  9. Now, type select partition 1.
  10. We need to format that partition now, so type format fs=fat32 quick.
  11. Once the format is done, type active and then assign.
  12. Copy your Kali ISO to USB and extract it using WinRAR or 7zip.

This method is useful for people who don’t want to download any tool or utility from the web. I love this method when there’s no access to tools. Commands are easy to remember, and the process is also quick.

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Process To Boot Kali Linux Bootable USB Pendrive

I don’t want you to search for the method for booting the live Kali Linux Pendrive. So, I decided to put it all together here in the article. It’ll be beneficial to the people who don’t know the exact process to boot from the USB drive.

  • Plug in your USB to laptop/computer.
  • Turn On your computer.
  • Press F11 or F12 to enter the Boot Device selection menu
  • Select the USB and press enter.
  • Now your computer will boot from the USB stick.

Note: Default username of Kali Linux is “root” and password is “toor”


Installing Kali on USB drive is an excellent and efficient choice. It saves our time and efforts which usually takes when installing it on HDD. Live Persistence mode allows saving the user data. Kali Linux is designed to be booted from a USB stick. Make sure that you’re using a suitable computer machine, having at least 2GB ram, so that Kali will run on Live mode without any problem.

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