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How to set up Kali Linux with a GUI On Windows

Kali Linux is a powerful operating system that tests network security vulnerabilities and other avenues. If you’re on Windows and want to run Kali, you’ll need a VM. This guide will show you how to set up a Kali Linux VM on your Windows PC.

Installing VirtualBox on Windows

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to install VirtualBox on Windows (10/11).

Step 1: Head to VirtualBox.org and find the “Download VirtualBox” button on the homepage. Once you’ve found the button, click on it with the mouse.

Step 2: After selecting the download button, you’ll be taken to the VirtualBox download page. Locate the “Windows hosts” option, and select it with the mouse to download VirtualBox for Windows.

Step 3: When the VirtualBox EXE file is done downloading to your computer, open up your Windows Explorer app, and select the “Downloads” folder. Then, double-click on the VirtualBox EXE file.

Step 4: Inside the installer, you’ll see the welcome message. Read the message. When you’ve read the message, locate the “Next” button to continue.

Step 5: On the next page, you’ll see “Custom Setup,” followed by everything the VirtualBox installation tool plans to install. Leave these as default, as the defaults are ok. However, if you need to edit anything, feel free to.

When done, click the “Next” button.

Step 6: On the next page, you’ll see a message that says, “Please choose from the options below.” By default, all boxes are checked. Leave the choices as they are, or uncheck any you wish. When done, click the “Next” button.

Step 7: On the next page, you’ll see a message that says “Warning: Network Interfaces.” These network interfaces must be installed for the Kali Linux VM to function with the Windows host computer. Select the “Yes” button to continue.

Step 8: Upon clicking the “Yes” button, VirtualBox will install on your Windows PC. Sit back and allow the installation to complete.

Downloading Kali Linux/Installing Kali Linux in VirtualBox

To download Kali Linux, head over to kali.org. Once there, find the “Download” button, and click on it with the mouse. Selecting this button will take you to the “Download” page.

On the “Download” page, you’ll see several choices for Kali. As we’ve set up VirtualBox, we’ll need to select the “Recommended” button underneath “Virtual Machines.”

Once you’ve selected the “Recommended” button, the page will scroll down to “Virtual Machines.” Next, find “VirtualBox,” select the “64-bit” option and the download button to download the Kali VM.

The Kali VM is about 2.5 GB so the download could take a couple of minutes. When the process is complete, unzip the file.

Note: You will need to have 7-zip installed on Windows 10 (or 11) to unzip the Kali file. For help getting 7-zip on Windows, check our guide on the subject.

After extracting the files, find the Kali “VBOX” file (the blue VirtualBox file) and double-click on it. You’ll import Kali as a VM to VirtualBox by double-clicking on the file.

Using Kali

To use Kali on Windows, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Launch VirtualBox on your Windows PC. You can launch VirtualBox by pressing the Win key on your keyboard and typing “VirtualBox” in the Windows start menu.

Step 2: Once VirtualBox is open and ready to use, locate the Kali VM in VirtualBox, and select it with the mouse. After selecting it with the mouse, right-click on the VM and select “Start.”

Step 3: Once the Kali VM starts in VirtualBox, you’ll see a login screen. There are two text boxes on the Kali login screen. Select the top login screen and enter “kali” as the username.

Step 4: After entering the username in the top box, click on the bottom box. In this box, type in “kali” as the password. Once the password is entered, find the “Log In” button, and click on it with the mouse to log into the Kali Linux desktop.

Once you are on the desktop, you can use the Kali Linux VM for security and penetration testing.

Changing the default password

The default password for the Kali VM is “kali.” Unfortunately, this password isn’t secure, and if anyone gains access to your Windows PC and launches the Kali VM, they’ll be able to access your files and settings. Thankfully, it is easy to change.

To change the Kali Linux password, do the following. First, open up a terminal. You can launch a terminal on the Kali VM desktop by clicking on the terminal icon in the top bar.

Once the terminal window is open, type passwd in the terminal prompt. Then, enter a new password for Kali Linux. Be sure to use a password that is memorable but secure as well.


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