Making a Live bootable Kali Linux USB drive with Persistence

Booting and installing Kali Linux from a USB drive is our most favorite and fastest method of setting and running Kali Linux. First we need to write a Kali Linux ISO image file on a USB stick. In today's tutorial we are going to learn how we can install Kali Linux live bootable on a pen drive. Then we can use it on any computer without installing Kali Linux, because we have installed it on our pen drive as a live boot operating system.

Live bootable Kali Linux USB drive with Persistence

What we need ?

  1. A computer with internet connection.
  2. A high speed USB pen drive (minimum 8GB).

How to do it ?

First we need to download Kali Linux image file from it's official website. We are downloading the latest 64 bit version of Kali Linux image file.

Downloading Kali Linux from official website
Downloading Kali Linux from official website


After downloading the image file. We need to write the image file on our USB flash drive. This process can be done from Windows or Linux/mac OS. We are going to describe both ways.

Making Live bootable USB from Windows:

If we are using a Windows pc to write Kali Linux on USB, then we need some special software. In this tutorial we are going to use Etcher tool. We need to download Etcher we can install it on Windows as we install other software. After installing this we plug our pen drive on pc (make sure we don't have plugged any other USB flash drive, be cause if we select wrong USB drive then we may wipe other flash drive). Now open Etcher tool and the we select the downloaded image file and then we select the USB flash drive where we want to write the image file and click on flash.

making bootable USB using Etcher

This will take some time to flash image file depending on our computer's speed. Then it complete the process, and our Live bootable USB is ready.

Making Live bootable USB from Linux/mac:

Most of Linux distribution and mac OS comes with pre-loaded dd utility. We will flash the image file using dd utility tool. We plug our USB drive in computer and check the path of flash drive using following command :

fdisk -l
The screenshot is following:

checking disks in Linux
disk list
Here in the screenshot we can see that last one is our USB drive and its path is  /dev/sdb1

And suppose we have downloaded our image(.img or .iso) file in our root directory so we flash Kali Linux on our drive using following command:

dd if=/Kali_image-file-name.img of=/dev/sdb1 bs=512

This command will overwrite all existing data on our micro SD card and flash Kali Linux on micro SD card. So need to choose the path of our card very carefully. If we choose wrong path, we may wipe out our computer's hard disk!

This process will take some time depending on our computer's speed. Then our bootable USB is ready.
Now we can boot from USB drive by changing the boot menu in BIOS settings. In the boot menu we need to change our preferred boot drive from internal hard drive to external devices. then we can successfully boot the computer from pen drive which is loaded with Kali Linux.

Kali Linux live bootable usb
Here we choose Live mode

Now we can use any thing  on Kali Linux. But we can't save anything because it is a live OS. Suppose we save a image or text file in Kali Linux's desktop but when we restart the device it will lost and every changes will start as previous. No changes will be saved. So what to do ?
Here we need to make it persistence. After make it persistence we can save settings and files. Without persistence our Linux OS will nor save anything on USB drive it will leave everything on RAM. We can run Kali Linux live USB drive without saving anything because it is loaded with many required tools but if we really want to make this persistence this article may help.
Making a Live bootable Kali Linux USB drive with Persistence Making a Live bootable Kali Linux USB drive with Persistence Reviewed by Kali Linux on November 07, 2019 Rating: 5

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