Kali Linux System Requirements

Kali Linux is a Linux distribution geared towards cyber security professionals, penetration testers, and ethical hackers. If you are thinking about installing it on your system but need to know the minimum or recommended system requirements first, we’ve got you covered in this guide.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • Kali system requirements

A fresh installation of Kali Linux

A fresh installation of Kali Linux

Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Kali Linux
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

Kali system requirements

Kali developers don’t give us much official information about recommended system specifications. Using the limited information they give us, and filling in the rest of the gaps ourselves, the following is a list of recommended system requirements for running Kali with the default Xfce desktop environment and the kali-linux-default metapackage, which contains all the most common tools.

  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 20 GB of disk space
  • 32 or 64 bit CPU (single core) with 2 GHz speed or better
  • High definition graphics card and monitor
  • Broadband internet connection

The first two requirements in the list above are what Kali recommends (source here). The rest of the specs are compiled from personal experience and based on the requirements of other Linux distros.

Having these specs will ensure that you can use all of Kali’s features and have an operating system that feels reasonably responsive, along with being capable of running a few parallel tasks. Password cracking and other ethical hacking tasks are known for using a lot of CPU power, so you’ll naturally get better results when using more powerful components.

Kali can run on extremely low end specs, but depending on what you’d like to do with the system, you may need a more robust computer. Again, the Kali developers don’t give us much official information, but they do list the following as minimum system requirements.

  • 128 MB (512 MB optimally) of RAM
  • 2 GB of disk space

Judging by the low requirements listed, a 1 GHz CPU should also suffice, along with foregoing a desktop environment in order to reduce load. For such a build, you’d need to use SSH or the terminal to interact with your system.

Once you’re sure that your computer meets the specifications needed to install Kali, you can follow along with our Kali installation guide for step by step instructions on how to do that. Alternatively, check our other guides to learn how to install Kali in VMware or how to install Kali in VirtualBox. If you’re already running Windows 10, you can also learn how to dual boot Kali and Windows.

Closing Thoughts

Like most other Linux distros, you don’t need a stellar PC to run Kali. That’s probably why the developers have not bothered to list much information about recommended system requirements. Fortunately, we were able to test the system and use our own judgment to fill in the gaps, allowing us to bring you a list of system requirements. Although Kali can run on a barebones PC, you’ll need a system with the recommended requirements listed above in order to get the most out of Kali’s CPU-intensive hacking tools.