How to Install Kali Linux 2020.1 on VirtualBox

install kali linux 2020.1 on virtualbox

Kali Linux 2020.1 was released in January 2020 with some major changes which featured redesigned installation files for a much more flexible installation. This guide describes how to install the latest Kali Linux 2020.1 on VirtualBox.

Prerequisites for Installing Kali Linux 2020.1 on VirtualBox

  1. Download the VirtualBox binary for your operating system.
  2. Download Kali Linux 2020.1 Installer file. (Choose the 64-bit or 32-bit version of the Installer depending on your computer’s architecture).
  3. An active internet connection. Since the latest Kali Linux 2020 releases, an internet connection is required during installation even when using the supposed offline installer. This has been confirmed to be a bug which will be fixed in the soon to launch Kali Linux 2020.2.

Preparing to Install Kali Linux 2020.1 on VirtualBox

Before you can proceed to the installation of Kali Linux on VirtualBox, you first need to create a guest VM. (VM = Virtual Machine).

Now using the prerequisites listed above, we are going to create a guest VM, attach the Kali Linux ISO file you downloaded to the guest VM, and thereafter proceed to the actual installation of Kali on the guest VM.

1. Launch VirtualBox and create a guest VM.

Click “New” under the Tools menu to start creating a new virtual machine.

Setup VirtualBox for Kali 2020 installation

Then click “Expert mode” on the bottom of the pop-up window.

Create Virtual Guest OS for Kali 2020

Now configure the Kali Linux 2020.1 guest VM with the following details:

Create Virtual Guest OS for Kali 2020
  • Name: Kali Linux 2020.1 (You can name yours whatever you like)
  • Machine folder: Don’t change this.
  • Type: Linux
  • Version: Debian 64-bit (If you don’t have 64-bit options on the dropdown, don’t worry this video will help you fix that).
  • Memory size: 2048 MB minimum. (Allocate more RAM if your PC can allow).
  • Hard Disk: Create a virtual hard disk now.

Cross-check what you have with my screenshot above. Click “create” to proceed.

2. Create a virtual hard disk for the Kali guest VM

After you click create from step 1 above, a new window will pop up. Set the File size of the virtual hard disk to a minimum of 30GB. Leave every other configuration as it is and click “create” again to finish up.

Create Virtual hard disk for Kali 2020 installation on VirtualBox

3. Attach the downloaded Kali ISO file to the Kali guest VM.

Right-click on the Kali guest VM and click “settings” Then click Storage > Empty > the Disk Icon > and Choose a disk file as shown in the screenshot below. Now locate where you downloaded the Kali ISO installer file and select it.

Create Virtual hard disk for Kali 2020 installation on VirtualBox

Install Kali Linux 2020.1 on VirtualBox – Step by Step

With all that prep out of the way, follow these steps to install Kali Linux 2020.1 on VirtualBox.

Step 1: Double click to launch the Kali VM, and select Graphical install on the boot screen.

Kali Linux 2020 installation boot screen

Step 2: Select your preferred system language.

Select Kali system language

Step 3: Specify your geographic location.

Select Kali system location

Step 4: Select your preferred keyboard layout.

Select Kali system keyboard

Step 5: The installer will now copy over the Kali image to your virtual hard disk, probe the available network interfaces, and prompt you to enter a system hostname. I will leave the hostname as the default “Kali”. Change yours if you want.

Set Kali Linux 2020 system hostname to "Kali"

Step 6: (Optional) You may add this Kali machine to a domain or press enter to skip.

Enter domain name for Kali system

Step 7: Create a standard, non-administrative user for the system.

This will be the user account that you will use for every day running of this Kali machine. (Kudos to the Kali team for adding this step! This was not there until these latest Kali Linux 2020 releases).

Create unprivileged user for Kali Linux 2020

Create a username for the standard user

Create unprivileged user for Kali Linux 2020

Set a password for the standard user.

Create unprivileged user for Kali Linux 2020

Step 8: Set the system time zone.

Set Kali time zone

Step 9: The installer will launch the disk partitioner and offer you 4 options. I recommend beginners to select the Guided – use entire disk option.

Use entire disk - Kali Linux 2020 installation

Select the disk to be partitioned. Only your laptop’s hard disk will probably be listed here.

Partition VirtualBox hard disk for Kali Linux 2020 installation

Select how you want the disk to be partitioned. Again for beginners, I recommend you choose the All files in one partition option. But you could still choose to have the home directory in a separate partition like in the example below.

Partition VirtualBox hard disk for Kali Linux 2020 installation

Review your disk partitioning configuration.

Partition VirtualBox hard disk for Kali Linux 2020 installation

Write the changes to disk. This is the last time to change your mind after now, the disk formatting cannot be reversed. Select yes and press enter.

Partition VirtualBox hard disk for Kali Linux 2020 installation

Step 10: (Optional) If you use a proxy, enter the HTTP proxy information or press enter to skip it.

Enter Kali proxy

Step 11: Choose what software you would like to install.

Kali Linux 2020 releases now give users the option to decide what Kali desktop environment, and what amount of cybersecurity tools to install during the installation.

In the example below, I chose the Xfce desktop environment (default) & the light base system with no pentesting tools.

Remember, if your selection is anything but the default package selection, you will need an internet connection to download the extra data.

Select software to install, Kali Linux 2020 installation on VirtualBox

Step 12: Select “yes” to install GRUB bootloader.

Install GRUB bootloader on Kali system

Select your laptop’s hard disk to install GRUB on.

Install GRUB bootloader on Kali system

Step 13: Finally, give the installer a little while to wrap things up… Installation completed!

Kali Linux 2020 installation on  VirtualBox completed

Congrats! You have just successfully installed Kali Linux 2020.1 on VirtualBox. Log in using the username and password you set during the installation.

Wondering what to do next? I invite you to follow my How to Become a Hacker series to learn practical ethical hacking and put your Kali Linux machine to good use.

If you have any questions regarding this post, please send them to me in the comment box below. And also consider sharing this post with your connections.

Ojo Iszy
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