How to Install Kali Linux on Windows 10 / 11 (Step by Step)

How to Install Kali Linux on Windows 10 / 11 (Step by Step). Originally known as BackTrack Linux, Kali Linux is a free and open source Debian based Linux distribution. Used for advanced penetration testing, security auditing, and digital forensics. This powerful tool helps you to find vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks. Kali Linux is popular among penetration testers and security professionals, and often used in ethical hacking and cyber security research.

Now here’s the best part. Even though it’s Debian-based, you can still install it on Windows 10 or 11 using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) or a virtual machine (VM). In this tutorial, we show you how to install Kali Linux on Windows. Just make sure you have access to your Windows machine and know your way around the command line

Let’s continue with How to Install Kali Linux on Windows 10 / 11 (Step by Step).

What is Kali Linux?

Kali Linux is a powerful tool that comes with several utilities and tools that help identify vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks. Other advantages are:

  • Network scanning and mapping: With tools like Nmap,  you scan and map a network, identify open ports, services, and other information about hosts on the network.
  • Vulnerability scanning: Use tools like Nessus, to scan systems and networks for known vulnerabilities.
  • Password cracking: Crack passwords and hashes with tools like John the Ripper and Hashcat.
  • Wireless attacks: If you want to perform wireless attacks and crack wireless encryption, you can use  Aircrack-ng.
  • Forensics: Tools like Sleuthkit come in handy when you want to perform forensic analysis on digital evidence.
  • Social Engineering: Kali Linux includes tools like SET (Social Engineering Toolkit) that you use to perform social engineering and phishing attacks.

Install Kali Linux on Windows 10 / 11 Using a VM (VirtualBox)

First method is to install Kali Linux on Windows 10 or 11 using a VM software such as VirtualBox. This way, you run Kali Linux alongside your existing Windows installation. As a result, you get a secure environment for testing and experimentation without compromising the host system. Here’s how to install Kali Linux on Windows using VirtualBox:


  • Disk space of at least 20GB
  • 1 GB or more of RAM 
  • VirtualBox software.

Installing Kali Linux on VirtualBox

  1. Download VirtualBox on your Windows PC. Make sure to select the Windows version of the software on the download page. Double click on the installation package to install VirtualBox. 

2. After installing VirtualBox, head over to the Kali Linux website and download the pre-built VirtualBox image file. Choose between the 64bit and 32 bit version based on the specs of your machine. After the download is complete, double click on the zip file and extract the Lai Linux image to a folder of your choice.  

3. Start Virtual Box and load the Kali Linux image you just downloaded by following the steps below:

Next Steps

Step A: Navigate to the Kali Linux image files you extracted and double click on the file with the blue icon ( this is the smaller file). Kali Linux is automatically added to VirtualBox. 

Step B: It’s now time to configure the Kali Linux virtual machine in VirtualBox. Select the Kali Linux VM from the left menu and then click on Settings to access the configuration options. Here, you tweak the display, RAM, and storage settings of your virtual machine based on your preferences. 

Step C: Click Start to start the Kali Linux virtual machine. Wait a few minutes for the initial boot process to complete. 

Step D: Once the boot process is complete, you are prompted to log into Kali Linux. Enter “kali” for both the user name and password.  Click Login to proceed. You can now start using Kali Linux on your Windows machine. 

Make sure you have enough memory and storage for your VM. Also, disable Hyper-V if it is enabled before you install Virtualbox.

Install Kali Linux on Windows 10 / 11 Using Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is a feature that allows you to run Linux command-line tools, utilities, and applications directly on your Windows 10 or 11 machine. This means you use your favourite Linux tools and workflows without needing to use a virtual machine or dual boot your computer. It’s built on the Windows NT kernel and uses the same system calls as regular Windows processes. As a result, it makes it easy to integrate into your existing setup. So if you’re looking to install Kali Linux on a Windows machine, WSL is a great option. Here’s how to go about it:


  • Windows 10 or 11 installed.
  • Administrator access on your Windows machine.
  • WSL feature installed on your Windows machine.
  •  x64 systems: Version 1903 or higher, with Build 18362 or higher.
  • ARM64 systems: Version 2004 or higher, with Build 19041 or higher.

Installing the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

If Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) isn’t enabled on your Windows 10 or 11 machine, follow the steps below:

Step 1: First, open the Run box by clicking on Windows + R on your keyboard. Type “control” into the text box and click OK to open the Control Panel

Step 2: Once the Control Panel is open, navigate to Programs and Features and click on it.

Step 3: On the menu appearing on your left, click on Turn Windows features on or off. A list of features will pop up. Scroll down to find Windows Subsystem for Linux. Check the box next to it and click OK to enable the feature. This might take a minute of two. Restart your computer when prompted.

Installing Kali Linux from the Microsoft Store

Now that the WSL feature is enabled, it’s time to install Kali Linux on Windows through the Microsoft Store. Here’s how to go about it:

Step 1: Click on Windows + R on your keyboard to open Run box. Enter “ms-windows-store:” into the text box and click OK. Running this command will open the Microsoft Store on your machine.

Step 2: Type “Kali Linux” in the search box and hit Enter.  Navigate to the Kali Linux application from the list of results. Click on “Get” to download and install it.

Step 3: Wait for the installation to complete and click Open to launch the Kali Linux terminal.

Step 4: Once the terminal is open, wait a few minutes for the Linux kernel to extract and install. You’ll then be prompted to create a username and password for your Kali Linux installation. You’ve successfully installed Kali Linux on your Windows machine. 

How to Install Kali Linux on Windows 10 / 11 (Step by Step) Conclusion

In summary, installing Kali Linux on your Windows 10/11 system presents a great opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds. Kali Linux, with its powerful set of tools, helps to detect and analyse security weaknesses in computer systems and networks, while Windows provides the familiar, user friendly interface you’re accustomed to. Admittedly, the installation process can seem daunting at first. But don’t fret, as the steps outlined in this article help you to get up and running with this powerful operating system in no time.

Of course, it’s crucial to exercise caution and responsibility when using Kali Linux. Employing it to gain unauthorized access to systems or networks have severe legal consequences, resulting in criminal charges. Moreover, using Kali Linux to probe the security of a system or network without proper authorization leads to negative outcomes such as data loss, system damage, or privacy violations. That’s why it’s important to use Kali Linux prudently and only for legitimate and authorized security testing purposes. Use this powerful tool wisely and responsibly to maximize its potential and avoid any negative repercussions.

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Avatar for Richard Kanyoro
Richard Kanyoro

The world’s biggest problems can be solved by progressively solving the little ones. I write to help people solve the “little” tech problems they face.

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