If you want to run Kali Linux on your system but you already have Windows 10 installed, you have a couple of options. One thing you could do is install Kali Linux in a virtual machine, as we’ve shown in our tutorials for installing Kali in VMware and installing Kali in VirtualBox.
The other option is to create a dual boot environment for Kali and Windows. Both options have their pros and cons. The main reason you might want to dual boot with Kali, as opposed to running it in a virtual machine, is to give Kali direct access to your system’s hardware. This way, you don’t have the overhead of a hypervisor, and direct access to components is a lot easier, such as for a Wi-Fi adapter. This is a big selling point if you plan to test the security of Wi-Fi hotspots, for example.
A dual boot environment works by prompting you at startup to select which operating system you’d like to load into. So, you’ll have to reboot your computer each time you want to load into a different operating system. That’s the only disadvantage of this method, but for a system like Kali it should prove worth it.
Ready to get Kali Linux installed alongside Windows 10? Read on below as we take you through all the steps.
In this tutorial you will learn:
- How to install Kali Linux alongside Windows 10
- How to load into Kali Linux or Windows 10 at system boot
|Category||Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used|
|System||Kali Linux and Windows 10|
|Other||Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the
# – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user
In this guide, we’re assuming that you already have a Windows 10 system that is fully functional, not corrupted in any way, etc.
Before we begin, you’ll need to download the Kali Linux installation media. You can use either the live image or the installation image. In this guide, we’ll be using the installation ISO instead of the live image, but the steps should be mostly the same regardless.
Next, turn off your computer and boot to the installation media – whether it be a flash drive, CD, etc. Note that you may have to press a certain key (sometimes F11 or F12, but it varies by manufacturer) in order to load into the boot menu and select your installation media.
- After booting to the Kali installation media, select “graphical install” and proceed.
- Select your language, your location, and your keyboard layout on the next few prompts, then proceed.
- Kali will begin loading extra components that it needs in order to continue the installation. After a few moments, you can specify your hostname and domain name (if applicable) and proceed.
- Fill out a name and username for the new Kali user.
- Choose a password for the Kali user, which will also be the root password.
- After selecting your time zone on the next menu, you’ll then be presented with the disk partition menu. This is where things take a turn from a normal installation, and we do some additional configuration to make sure that Kali is installed alongside Windows, without overwriting any data or system files that are currently on our disk. Select “manual” from the list of partition methods, then click “continue.”
- This step may vary, depending on how your disk is partitioned. You’ll probably see at least two partitions in this menu, those being the Windows boot partition, which is relatively small (500 MB or so), and then a much bigger partition, which is your “main” partition – the one that contains all your Windows system files and personal files. This is the one that you’ll want to highlight and click “continue” on. We’re going to reduce its size in order to make room for the Kali installation.
- On this menu, highlight the option for “resize this partition” and click “continue.”
- You may get a prompt saying that you need to write previous changes to the disk before proceeding. If you’re following along with us, we’ve not yet made any changes to the disk, so it’s safe to answer “yes” to this prompt and click “continue.”
- Now, we need to specify the new size for our Windows partition. You can write the value in gigabytes or as a percentage. In our case, our Windows partition is currently 53 GB, and we’re going to reduce it down to 40 GB. This gives Kali close to 15 GB of space, which should be enough. You can use your own discretion for this setting. Click “continue” when you’re ready to commit the change.
- As you’ll see in this menu, our disk now has some free space on it. We’ll be using this space to install Kali. We can now proceed with guided partitioning, which lets the Kali installer do most of the work for us. Highlight “guided partitioning” and click “continue.”
- Now, we can instruct Kali to “use the largest continuous free space” for installation, which is what we just configured in previous steps. Highlight this option, then click “continue.”
- Next, review the new changes about to made to your disk, then finalize them by clicking “continue” once “finish partitioning and write changes to disk” is highlighted. Kali will ask for confirmation once again on the next prompt.
- Kali will now be installed to the partitions we configured in the new free space.
- Pick the type of software selection you’d like on your system, then click “continue.”
- Once Kali is done installing, the last step is to install the GRUB boot loader. This is what allows you to choose between operating systems when your computer is turned on.
Once installation is completely done, Kali will ask you to remove the installation media and reboot your PC. Then, you’ll be able to select which operating system to boot into.
Booting into Kali Linux or Windows 10
From now on, when you start your system, the GRUB loader will ask you which operating system you want to load into. Use your arrow keys to scroll up and down, and press enter to choose an option. After making your selection, the chosen operating system should load as normal.
If you don’t select anything within a few seconds, Kali will load by default.
In this guide, we how to install Kali Linux alongside Windows 10. Creating a dual boot system is a viable solution for users that wish to leverage the best of both worlds by having Kali and Windows installed simultaneously. While not as flexible as virtualization, it offers some advantages by allowing both operating systems to have direct access to your system’s hardware.