Booting and installing Kali from a USB stick is our favorite and fastest method of getting up and running. In order to do this, we first need to image the Kali ISO on a USB drive.

Preparing for the USB copy

  1. Download Kali linux.
  2. If running Windows, download Win32 Disk Imager.
  3. No special software is needed for a *nix OS.
  4. A USB Key (at least 2GB capacity for mini, 4GB for regular).

Kali Linux Live USB Install Procedure

Imaging Kali on a Windows Machine

  1. Plug your USB stick into your Windows USB port and launch the Win32 Disk Imager software
  2. Choose the Kali Linux ISO file to be imaged and verify that the USB drive to be overwritten is the correct one.
  3. kali-usb-install-windows

  4. Once the imaging is complete, safely eject the USB drive from the Windows machine. You can now use the USB device to boot into Kali Linux.

Imaging Kali on a Linux Machine

Creating a bootable Kali Linux USB key in a Linux environment is easy. Once you’ve downloaded your Kali ISO file, you can use dd to copy it over to your USB stick as follows (make sure you’re root first):

WARNING. Although the process of imaging Kali on a USB stick is very easy, you can just as easily destroy arbitrary partitions with dd if you do not understand what you are doing. Consider yourself warned.

  1. Plug in your USB device to your Linux computer’s USB port.
  2. Verify the device path of your USB storage with dmesg.
  3. Proceed to (carefully!) image the Kali ISO file on the USB device:
 dd if=kali.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=512k

That’s it, really! You can now boot into a Kali Live / Installer environment using the USB device.

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