Create Bootable USB with Persistence for Kali Linux

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Recently I was trying to install Kali Live on a USB drive with persistence and struggled to find a tutorial online that was simple and actually worked. After some trial and error I figured out how to do it correctly and decided to make an article for anyone who is experiencing the same difficulty I did. You will need an USB with at least 8GB. Mine is 132GB, nice and large.

Step 1Universal USB Installer

Visit the following link and download the Universal USB Installer:

Step 2Download Latest Edition of Kali Linux

Visit the following link and download the appropriate Kali ISO.

Step 3Create Bootable USB

After Kali is finished downloading, run Universal USB Installer and chose ‘Kali Linux’ from the list of Linux Distributions to install on your USB flash drive. You can alternatively chose one of the other distributions listed.

Click ‘browse’ to navigate through your folders. Under downloads, select the Kali Linux iso file you just finished downloading.

Indicate the drive of your USB and hit ‘create’

After the process completes, you will have a live bootable Kali USB drive.

Step 4Prepare Your Partitions

Use your new USB to boot into the system. You’ll most likely have to restart your computer and hit F12 to get into the boot menu where you will select the brand name of the USB drive you’re using. After it loads select ‘Live USB Persistence’Go to your applications and select GParted.

This is where it can get confusing because existing references contradict each other and the results depend on what your partitions looked like to begin with. For me, there were 2 existing partitions that filled up the entire partition space: /dev/sda1 and /dev/sda2. I right clicked on /dev/sda2, selected resize, and made the partition smaller. This left me with unallocated partition space.

I right clicked the newly created ‘unallocated’ partition space, selected ‘new’, selected ext4, and named the partition ‘persistence’. I then applied all changes and closed GParted.

Step 5Mount

Open your terminal and type the following:

mkdir /mnt/usb

mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/usb <—— replace ‘sda2’ with the name of your partition. Notice it is NOT the partition I just created and named ‘persistence’, it’s the one that was already there to begin with and had to resize.

echo “/ union” >> /mnt/usb/persistence.conf

umount /mnt/usb

Step 6Test

To see if it worked correctly, type ‘gedit Kali’ then save. Restart your computer and prompt into Kali Live Persistence. Once you’re loaded, click on the folder icon in your dash to dock panel. You should see a file named ‘Kali’ if everything was set up properly.

Feel free to leave a comment below or reach me on Instagram @iamshubhamkumar__.


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