Installing Kali Linux in Parallels Desktop – Part 1

Installing Kali Linux in Parallels Desktop is a straight-forward process. Trouble ensues when important installation steps are either skipped or performed in the wrong order. This post is Part 1 of a step-by-step guide on getting Kali up and running on your virtual machine of choice, Parallels Desktop.

Step 1: Obtain the latest Kali ISO

The latest Kali image file (ISO) can be found here:

I selected the “Kali Linux 64-bit” image, but your selection may vary depending on the specifications of your machine. The download page gives you two download options (see image below): (1) you can click on the image name link to download the ISO directly or (2) you can click on the “Torrent” link to download the torrent file for the ISO. You will then need a torrent client to open the torrent file and begin the download.

After downloading, you should copy the checksum value for the image you downloaded and paste it into a text editor. It is the value in the “SHA256Sum” column (see image below).

ISO Download Page
ISO Download Page

Step 2: Verify the ISO’s checksum

You should next verify the downloaded ISO’s checksum in order to insure not only that the file was not corrupted during the download process, but more importantly, to insure the downloaded file has not been tampered with.

Open a Terminal window and navigate to the directory where you saved the ISO file. Next, list all of the files in that directory in order to get the full name of the ISO. The ISO I downloaded was “kali-linux-2019.4-amd64.iso”.

Next, type the following command in the Terminal window, replacing “ISO_Name” with the full name of the ISO identified above.

shasum -a 256 ISO_Name

So, for example, since my ISO file name was “kali-linux-2019.4-amd64.iso”, I typed:

shasum -a 256 kali-linux-2019.4-amd64.iso

You’ll need to wait awhile for the checksum to be returned.

Checksum return
Checksum returned

As you can see, the checksum was returned along with the original file name. Copy this checksum into your text editor, below the checksum copied from the Kali ISO download page and carefully compare the two checksums. If they match, you are ready to proceed to the next step. If not, repeated Steps 1 & 2.

Checksum compared
Checksum compared

This brings us to the end of Part 1. In Part 2, we’ll fire up Parallels Desktop and install Kali Linux from our ISO. Once Kali is running on our VM, we’ll update and upgrade our installation, because even though we installed the latest ISO, Kali is updated quite often between releases and we’ll want the most current version. Lastly, we’ll install Parallel Tools, a set of drivers that allow you to move seamlessly between your host system and your Parallels virtual machine.

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