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Tutorial: Creating a USB Bootable Version of Kali Linux with Persistence

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By: island3r

August 9, 2017

Before we start, I know, there are tons of instructions around the web for creating a USB bootable version of Kali with Persistence, but I’ve decided to create my own after running into a few difficulties which will hopefully help a few people.

Here’s what I’m using:

  • 16GB SanDisk USB3 stick
  • Kali 2016.1 32bit ISO
  • Win32 diskimager
  • Windows 7 Laptop to create it on

To create the bootable USB

Download, install and run win32 diskimager —

Make sure no other USB devices are available, you do not want to overwrite the wrong USB device with all your important data on! Browse to the Kali ISO you downloaded from Select your USB device.

If you’re happy you’ve selected the correct USB drive and ISO, hit Write and grab yourself a drink this will take a few minutes…When the installation has completed close the installer, your bootable Kali is ready.

Now to enable Persistence

Boot into the USB, usually F12 during start-up on your laptop or PC.

NOTE: If your device doesn’t boot you might have to change the Boot Mode in the BIOS to Legacy, it could be set to UEFI by default.

Once you’re in the Kali Boot Menu select the top option Live (686-pae)IMPORTANT: do not boot into Live Persistence as everything you do after this step will not work!

Once logged in, go to Show Applications and select GParted.

Select the correct device, by default it may show the partitions of the physical device rather than the USB. GPartedDevices — Select your USB.

You should see the allocated space with Kali installed on /dev/sdb1 and the remaining unallocated disk space that we will use for persistence.

Select the unallocated space — file system ext4 — give the partition a label i.e. persistence — AddEditApply All Operations.

When completed, make a note of the partition name i.e. /dev/sdb3 then close GParted.

Next, we need to mount the new partition to add the persistence.conf file.

Open a terminal and enter the following commands:

  • mkdir -p /mnt/usb
  • mount /dev/sdb3 mnt/usb — this is the partition that you just created and made a note of its name
  • echo “/union” > /mnt/usb/persistence.conf
  • umount /mnt/usb && reboot

Log into Kali Live Persistence.

Test Persistence

Create a folder and save it to the desktop or documents and restart. Boot into Kali Live Persistence and if all goes well, those files or folders you just saved should be still there.

You’ve done it, enjoy!

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