BackTrack 5 Partition Options

Install BackTrack 5 Revolution 2 on external hard drive

BackTrack Linux is now known as Kali Linux. You may read all Kali Linux articles and tutorial at

BackTrack is a Linux distribution that is based on Ubuntu, designed for hackers and/or security professionals, and loaded with the best Free Software and Open Source penetration testing applications available.

If you are looking for the best information gathering, vulnerability assessment, exploitation, privilege escalation, reverse engineering, RFID, stress testing, forensic and anti-forensic applications, you will find it on BackTrack. It is a hackers delight. If you are new to this distribution, you might want to read BackTrack 5 Revolution 2 screen shots. The screen shots there shows some of the category of applications available on BackTrack.

The latest edition is BackTrack 5, code-named Revolution, and we are at the second iteration release – BackTrack 5 R2. It is available as an installable Live DVD ISO image for both 32- and 64-bit architectures, each weighing in at about 2.8 GB. There is a separate installation image for the KDE and GNOME desktop environments. While you can install it on any computer, I think the best practice is to install it on an external, USB hard drive. Doing that, gives you a pentest distribution on the go plus all the extra storage you might need.

You may also opt to install it on a USB stick (a flash drive), but if you choose to go that route, be sure to have one with a capacity of more than 18 GB. Why? A default installation of BackTrack 5 R2 takes up just a little bit more than 18 GB of disk space. It is huge.

This tutorial shows how to install it on an external hard drive, using a 32-bit installation image. You may download it from here. Burn it to a DVD, place the DVD in your computer’s optical drive and reboot. Boot into the Live desktop and click on the Install BackTrack icon on the desktop. When the installer launches, click through the first few steps until you get to the one shown below, It is the fourth of eight steps of the installation process.

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Since you are attempting to install it on an external hard drive, it means the computer will have at least one internal hard drive. To have the installer auto-partition the external drive, select the second option at this step of the installation process, then select the external drive from the dropdown menu below it. Just be sure that the drive you select is the external drive. Hint: It will not be sda because that is the first internal hard drive. And if the computer has two internal hard drives, it will not be sdb. That, is the second internal drive. If you are new to this, you might want to read guide to disks and disk partitions in Linux.

To create partitions manually, as I am going to demonstrate in this tutorial, select the third option – Specify partitions manually (advanced). Click the Forward button.
BackTrack 5 Partition Options

You should land at the Advanced partitioning tool. The computer I used for this tutorial has two internal hard disks. The external hard disk is sdc. You can see that it has existing partitions in it. Since I want to use the whole disk for BackTrack, all 320 GB of it, the first task is to delete those existing partitions. If this is the case with yours, select each partition and click the Delete button.
BackTrack 5 Revolution Partition Tool

After the delete operation, the window will now look like this. To start creating partitions, select the free space and click the Add button.
BackTrack 5 Add Partition

If you selected the automated partitioning option at the fourth step of the installation process, the installer will create just two partitions – a main partition, and a Swap partition. For this tutorial, we are going to do the same. You can always create more if you feel there is a need to do so.

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So, the first partition will be for the root partition. Mounted at /, of course. The disk space you allocate to it will depend on the size of the hard drive. Keep in mind that a new installation of BackTrack 5 R2 takes up over 18 GB of disk space. Click OK when all options have been specified.
BackTrack 5 Add Root Partition

For Swap space, select “swap area” from the “Use as” dropdown menu. The installer will attempt to create it as a Logical partition. You may accept that or choose Primary to create it as a primary partition. OK
BackTrack 5 Add Swap Partition

After the partitions have been created, the main partitioning window will now look like this. The remaining free space can be used for persistent storage. Forward.
BackTrack 5 Advanced Partition Tool

This step gives you a summary of what the installer is going to do, based, of course, on the choices you made in the previous steps. To make sure that the installer will install GRUB, the boot loader, in the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the target hard drive, the external disk, click on the Advanced button.
BackTrack 5 Revolution Install Review

Luckily, the installer will, by default, want to install GRUB in the MBR of the external disk, so you do not have to do anything. OK.
BackTrack 5 Revolution 2 Install GRUB

After installation, reboot the system. Login. Note: The default username for BackTrack 5 R2 is root, and the password, is toor. Once in, type startx to start the graphical desktop environment. Be sure to change the password with password root command.

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