Guide for Installing Kali Linux on a USB Drive

Though it is not as popular as the Ubuntu and other Linux Operating Systems, Kali Linux is getting a good attention of the people who wish to work in a different environment than Windows. You may know how to install Windows on a USB drive or making a bootable Windows USB. Today, we will give you a guide for installing Kali Linux on a USB drive to get your work going.

Guide for Installing Kali Linux on a USB Drive

We will recommend using live boot USB to install the Kali Linux, the reasons (advantages)are:

  • No extra hard drive space is acquired
  • All the system resources like RAM, GPU, CPU, etc.
  • You can use the OS on any system you want to work on
  • You need not make any changes in your current Operating System, after using the Kali Linux, remove the Kali Linux USB and restart your computer to go back using your normal OS
  • Whenever you use the live session, you will be accessed and retrieve to access the old data

Stuff you will need to create bootable Kali Linux USB

  • You will need a genuine ISO image of Kali Linux. You can download the latest official Kali Linux build image
  • A 4GB or larger USB thumb drive, you can also use an SD card if your system has a direct SD card support
  • Depending on the current OS you are using, whether it is Windows or Linux, you need to download Win32 Disk Imager or dd command, respectively

Now let’s check the procedure to create bootable Kali Linux USB drive for Windows, and Linux OS.

For Windows – How to install Kali Linux on USB?

Step – 1: First Plugin the USB drive or SD card (If it is supported by your system) on the available USB port on your PC.

Step-2: Check the drive letter used by it to mount the image.

Step-3: Download Win32 Disk Imager utility software.

Step-4: Launch the disk imager and choose the original ISO file of Kali Linux to create an image. Verify the drive name and then click on the “Write” button.

Step-5: After the image is created, eject the USB drive safely from your PC.

Now you are ready to use the Kali Linux with the bootable Kali Linux USB.

For Linux - Installing Kali Linux on a USB Drive

Step-1: Get the verified Kali ISO file.

Step-2: Execute the command ‘sudo fdisk –l’. Identify the device path to copy the Kali ISO file to your USB drive. Don’t insert the USB drive until this step is completed.

Step-3: Plugin the USB drive in the available port of your PC and then run the command shown in the step-2 again.

Step-4: And then type the ‘dd’ command. This will copy the Kali ISO file on your USB drive. The full command is, ‘dd if=kali-linux-2017.2-amd64.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=512k’ where the kali-linux-2017.2-amd64.iso is the name of the ISO image, /dev/sub is the additional device added to your PC, and the bs=512k is a recommended value of the block size parameter.

Step-5: After the ‘dd’ command finished making the image on the USB drive, eject it safely from your PC and restart it to boot into the live Kali Linux environment by reinserting the bootable Kali Linux USB adapter.


Hope this guide for installing Kali Linux on a USB drive will help you to make a bootable USB drive to use the live Kali Linux environment on your PC without affecting or changing your current system settings. It is really a good process, especially for the beginners, to run and test the Kali Linux without formatting their system to get familiar with the “Advanced Penetration Testing Linux Distribution.”