Create Kali Linux Live with USB Persistence (older than version 2019.4) (Windows)

Hi everyone! Today’s post will be about creating persistence USB for Kali Linux (for versions older than 2019.4). For those of you who do not know, Kali Linux is a GNU/Linux distro or in layman, an operating system. It contains many in-built tools that are used for penetration testing to see how secure is a system or network infrastructure. Kali Linux allows a user to store it in a USB drive. This allows you to just boot off from it whenever you pluck into USB to any computer and boot from it. However, once you shut down Kali Linux from the live boot, any changes you made in the OS will disappear. To make it permanent, you have to create persistence in it. Let’s jump in straight to the steps to do it.

The steps to create a USB persistence of Kali Linux may be easy but it kept failing to save data after following the steps available online before I tried a new method that I came up with and it worked.

Download Kali Linux ISO:

First, download the latest version of Kali Linux ISO from https://www.kali.org/downloads/ (see Figure 1).

kali

Figure 1: Kali Linux download site

Burn ISO into USB:

Next, download Universal USB from https://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ (see Figure 2a) to burn ISO into a USB of a minimum of 5GB. If you can’t find your ISO, remember to check the “Showing *ISOs” option (see Figure 2b)

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Figure 2a: Universal USB Installer website

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Figure 2b: Example of installing Kali Linux into USB

Partition with minitool:

After burning the ISO into your USB, download minitool from https://www.partitionwizard.com/download.html (see Figure 3a) to partition space in the USB.

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Figure 3a: MiniTool website

In minitool:

  1. Launch the application and select “Disk & Partition Management” (see Figure 3b).
  2. Click on your USB’s drive. For my case will be D: drive.
  3. Right-click on the USB’s drive and click Move/Resize (see Figure 3c).
  4. Drag to resize it. In my case, I allocated 6.5GB for /dev/sdb1 (displays as UUI on Windows) while the rest of the space is for persistence.
  5. Select ok and click on the tick which means ‘Apply’.

mini1

Figure 3b: MiniTool main menu

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Figure 3c: Resize partition

Eject that USB drive before booting up into Kali Linux on your computer from the USB. Take note to boot into “Live”, NOT “Live USB Persistence”. “Live” option should be the first option you see in your boot-up screen (see Figure 3d).

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Figure 3d: Kali Linux boot menu [1]

In Kali Linux live:

For GParted:

  1. Open GParted from the application.
  2. Select your USB Drive (/dev/sdb) as by default, it selects your hard drive.
  3. Right-click on the unallocated space and click on New.
  4. Set the new partition to primary, Label: persistence, File System: ext4.
  5. Click on Add to finish.

Open a terminal/console. In the terminal/console, input the following commands in order:

  1. mkdir -p /mnt/usb
  2. mount /dev/sdb2 /mnt/usb
  3. echo “/ union” > /mnt/usb/persistence.conf
  4. umount /mnt/usb && reboot

Now you can boot into Kali Persistence. Try to create a new folder on the desktop. Reboot the system to see if persistence works. If it does, the newly created folder should still be there. Note that the files saved in Kali Persistence will not appear on Kali Live. Hence, whenever you need to save your work or access previously installed/saved content, boot into Kali Persistence.

I hope this post will be useful for you. Feel free to post any comments on this post or content you would be interested to see in the future. You may also send me some tips if you like my work and want to see more of such content. Funds will mostly be used for my boba milk tea addiction. The link is here. 🙂

Reference:

[1] ownisfree, “Dual boot windows 7 + Kali, screen freezes”. [Online]. Available: https://www.reddit.com/r/Kalilinux/comments/8vjz9y/dual_boot_windows_7_kali_screen_freezes/

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