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
Selecting Kali or Windows at system boot
Selecting Kali or Windows at system boot
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Kali Linux and Windows 10
Software N/A
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Installing Kali


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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.

  1. After booting to the Kali installation media, select "graphical install" and proceed.

    Select the graphical install option
    Select the graphical install option
  2. Select your language, your location, and your keyboard layout on the next few prompts, then proceed.

    Select your language
    Select your language


  3. 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.

    Choose a hostname for the system
    Choose a hostname for the system
  4. Fill out a name and username for the new Kali user.

    Pick a name for the user account
    Pick a name for the user account
  5. Choose a password for the Kali user, which will also be the root password.

    Choose a user and root password
    Choose a user and root password


  6. 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."

    Select manual disk partitioning
    Select manual disk partitioning
  7. 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.

    Select your main Windows partition for resizing
    Select your main Windows partition for resizing
  8. On this menu, highlight the option for "resize this partition" and click "continue."

    Confirm you want to resize the partition
    Confirm you want to resize the partition
  9. 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."

    Confirm that previous changes can be written to disk
    Confirm that previous changes can be written to disk

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  11. 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.

    Enter the new size that you want your Windows partition to be
    Enter the new size that you want your Windows partition to be
  12. 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."

    You can see the free space now available, select guided partitioning
    You can see the free space now available, select guided partitioning
  13. 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."

    Let Kali use the largest continuous free space
    Let Kali use the largest continuous free space
  14. 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.

    Finish partitioning and write changes to disk
    Finish partitioning and write changes to disk


  15. Kali will now be installed to the partitions we configured in the new free space.

    Kali is installing to the space we freed up
    Kali is installing to the space we freed up
  16. Pick the type of software selection you'd like on your system, then click "continue."

    Select which packages you want included on your new Kali install
    Select which packages you want included on your new Kali install


  17. 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.

    Install the GRUB boot loader
    Install the GRUB boot loader

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.

GRUB boot loader
GRUB boot loader

If you don't select anything within a few seconds, Kali will load by default.

Closing Thoughts

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.

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