Getting Kali Linux Installed on WSL
Here’s a quick description of the setup and installation process. For an easier copy / paste operation, these are the basic steps taken:
1. Update your Windows 10 machine. Open an administrative PowerShell window and install the Windows Subsystem with this one-liner. A reboot will be required once finished.
Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
2. Once rebooted, open the Windows App store and search for the “Kali Linux” application, or alternatively click here to go there directly. Install the app and enjoy Kali!
Updating Kali Linux on WSL
Updating Kali Linux on WSL is no different from any other instance of Kali:
Here’s a quick video of the process:
Installing Penetration Testing tools on Kali
Installing tools from the Kali Linux repository is usually done via apt commands. For example, to install the Metasploit Framework, you can simply:
apt-get install metasploit-framework
Note: Some Kali tools are identified by antivirus software as malware. One way to deal with this situation is to allow antivirus exceptions on the directory in which the Kali chroot resides in. The following video walks you through this process:
Recovering from a failed Kali WSL instance
Sometimes, you can inadvertently kill your Kali WSL instance, due to an overzealous command, an unintentional action, or even due to Kali or WSL bugs. If this happens, here is a quick recovery guide to get back on top of things. Note: this process will wipe your Kali WSL chroot, and re-extract a new copy. Any changes made to the filesystem will be gone, and reset to default.
Food for thought
The availability of the Kali Linux platform and toolset on Windows 10 brings with it many exciting possibilities which we havent even begun to grasp – here’s one example that got us scratching our heads. While not officially supported by WSL yet, we’ve tested running a desktop manager such as XFCE on WSL’d Kali…and it seems to work quite well:
WSL2 and Kali
13 Jun 2019