Kali Linux is a Debian-based Linux distribution designed for security professionals and more experienced Linux users. The latest edition, released at the end of August (2016), is Kali Linux Rolling 2016.2.
In this article, you’ll learn how to dual-boot Kali Linux Rolling 2016.2 and Windows 10 on a computer with UEFI firmware. The computer used for this exercise is a Lenovo G50 laptop with Windows 10 already installed.
First Step – Get Your Windows 10 Computer Ready
1. For a pain-free and successful operation of the sort that you’re about to undertake, it is recommended that you disable Secure Boot. How this is done depends on your computer, but if you have the same Lenovo laptop I used for this tutorial, see How to disable Secure Boot on a Lenovo G50 laptop. On an HP 250 G5 laptop, see this guide.
2. From the BIOS or UEFI setup utility, configure the computer to boot from external media.
3. After that, you need to free up disk space from your computer by shrinking the C drive or other partition with enough free space on it. Getting that done is fairly simple by using the Windows 10 partition manager. When completed, the partition should show partitions and a free disk space similar to the one in Figure 1.
Download Kali and Create a Bootable USB Stick
The next step in this operation is to download an installation image of Kali Linux Rolling 2016.2, the latest at the time of this publication. That edition comes in different desktop flavors and they are all available for download at the project’s download page.
After the download has completed, you may now use it to create a bootable USB stick. From Windows 10, use this article as a guide to create a bootable USB stick of Kali Linux Rolling 2016.2. From any Linux distribution, the simplest method is to use the following command:
# This command assumes that you're executing it from your Download directory
# If you're using the same edition as used here, you may just copy and paste.
# Otherwise, change the edition of Kali to match the one you downloaded
# /dev/sdb is the target USB stick. Yours might not be sdb, so verify before copying and pasting
sudo dd if=kali-linux-2016.2-amd64.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=1M conv=sync
In the next step, you’ll use that bootable USB stick to install Kali Linux Rolling 2016.2 alongside Windows 10.
Install Kali 2016.2 Alongside Windows 10
Here’s the fun part – actually installing Kali Linux Rolling 2016.2 alongside Windows 10 on the same hard drive. If you follow the steps as given here, you should have yourself a dual-boot system running Kali Linux Rolling 2016.2 and Windows 10 in about 12 minutes. No need to copy any files manually.
To make things easier and to reduce the number of images used in this article, I made use of the automated disk partitioning feature of the Kali Linux installer. For most users, this should be good enough, but if you need to create a custom set of partitions, the installer also has a manual option.
So if you’ve not done so already, insert the bootable USB stick you created in the previous step in a free USB port and reboot the computer. If it’s been configured in the BIOS or UEFI setup utility, it should boot into the USB stick. If it does not, access the computer’s boot menu and select the appropriate entry. In Figure 2, that entry is EFI USB Device (USB Flash Disk), and it should be the same on your computer.
The EFI Boot menu of the Kali Linux installer has several options, but the recommended one is Graphical Install. So select it and press the ENTER/Return key.
Click through and optionally configure what’s needed in the next few steps (about nine) until you get to the disk partitioning step shown in Figure 4. We’ll be using a plain-vanilla set of partitions for this tutorial (no LVM or disk encryption), so select Guided – use the largest continuous free space. With that option, the installer will auto-partition the disk space you freed up in step 1. Your C drive and other Windows 10 partitions will not be touched. Click the Continue button to move to the next step.
At the next step, shown in Figure 5, you have the option of customizing the type of partitions that will be created by the installer. By selecting Separate /home partition, the installer will create a partition mounted at /home, besides the root and swap partitions, for a total of three partitions. Continue
At the step shown in Figure 6, the new partitions created by the installer will be listed below the existing Windows 10 partitions. In this image, the partitions are numbered from 5 to 7. The next task is to make sure that GRUB, the boot loader/boot manager, will be installed in the EFI System Partition (ESP).
So double-click on the partition that corresponds to ESP on your system to make that verification.
That should open the window shown in Figure 8. If the value for the Use as option is not EFI System Partition, double click on it to see the available choices. If it’s not listed in the available options, then your system does not have one, which means that your hard drive was not partitioned using the GPT partitioning scheme. For more on GPT, the GUID Partition Table, see A beginner’s guide to disks and disk partitions in Linux
Still on the same window as in Figure 8, select Done setting up the partition and click Continue.
That should take you back to the main disk partitioning window. All is now set on that front, so select Finish partitioning and write changes to disk. Continue.
The default option at this step is No, so select Yes. Continue.
In less than 10 minutes, you should see the window shown in Figure 11. Continue. After all the post-installation tasks have been completed, reboot the computer.
Boot Into Your New Dual-boot System
If all went well in the previous step, rebooting the computer should bring up the GRUB boot menu of Kali Linux Rolling 2016.2. The first entry should be Kali GNU/Linux, and one of the others should be Windows Boot Manager…. Take turns booting into each operating just to make sure that installing Kali Linux did not break anything.
When attempting to log into Kali Linux Rolling 2016.2, the username is root.
And the password is whatever you set it to during installation.
Note that the default boot manager of the computer should be Kali, but you can always change it to the Windows 10 boot manager at any time. It is recommended that you live it at Kali/GNU Linux, because the entries in Kali’s GRUB menu make it easy to boot into Kali Linux or Windows 10 or to access the UEFI setup utility (that what the System setup option is for). If you ran into any issues while trying to use this guide to set up a dual-boot system, post a comment. For making GRUB the default boot manager of a dual-boot setup on an HP 250 G5, consult this article.