Finally – summer vacation! Today we are going to look at putting Kali on a USB stick. Having Kali on a USB stick is cool. It’s portable, saves disk space, makes use of old hardware possible and makes a movable pen test rig. So. Let’s get cracking. This tutorial was written with Windows users in mind. There are other ways to make this work on both Linux and Macs.


The outline of the process is as follows

  1. Acquire USB memory stick
  2. Download Kali ISO image
  3. Download Universal USB Installer
  4. Create Kali Image.
  5. Booting into Kali

Acquire USB stick

For this tutorial I have settled on a Sandisk 16GB USB 3 memory stick. Never mind the branding, all sticks should work. Try to get a stick with at least 16 GB even though other tutorials on the Net recommends at least 8 GB. Get one as big as what would fit your budget. More space equals more persistent space (see later steps).

Download Kali ISO Image

Nothing much to state here. Just download a Kali Linux ISO from the web site.

Download Universal USB Installer

The Universal USB Installer is the tool we are going to use to create a bootable image of Kali to put on our USB stick. For now, just download it.

Create Kali Image

The process of creating the Kali image is pretty straight forward. Double click Universal USB Installer and answer whatever prompt Windows shows you. After a while you should get the main screen – which should look like this


Then fill it out like this (I have obscured my download path). Make sure you have selected the appropriate USB drive.


Then click “Create”. Answer any prompts and it will soon begin to create the proper image. Just sit back and wait.

Booting into Kali

In order to boot Kali from USB your BIOS must be set up top boot from USB devices. To do so, please consult your computer manual or the Net. There are many BIOS versions out there. Once your computer is able to boot from USB, plug the stick in and reboot the computer. A boot manager should appear on-screen shortly afterwards. From here select your desired boot option. Enjoy.