Install kali Linux on a unrecognised USB 3.0 SSD

For who is this guide?

  • People who can’t install Kali because their external USB drive (mostly USB 3.0) is not found by the installer
  • People who want to install Kali with full disk encryption… on a partition. Yes, you heard that right.
  • People who to port their Virtual machine to a real machine.

Note: This is not a Live Kali but an installed version with the USB stick acting as any hard disk would do.


We use Virtualbox for this tutorial. Parallels didn’t worked for me because I was not able to convert my image to a .ISO or .DMG file. To use VMWare you need a way to convert your .vmdk file to an .ISO or .DMG file which is not covered by this tutorial. However, you can use “poweriso” to convert* that.


The trail is limited to 300MB ISO’s + it tries to install crapware during the installation.

Now you can create a virtual machine and install kali on it like you would normally do. Create a new virtual machine, either Ubuntu 32-bit or Ubuntu 64-bit depending on which Kali version you intend to install. Make the VM hard disk 1GB less than the capacity of the target USB stick/drive as they practically never have the claimed capacity.

If the installation is finished you can shutdown your virtual machine.

Now we use a tool which is bundled with Virtualbox to convert the .vdi file to a raw image file.

Write kali.img to an USB stick using your favourite method (e.g. dd in Linux/BSD or Win32DiskImager in Windows).
For example:

Remember to replace “n” with the disknumber of your external hard drive/USB!

Done! Boot from the USB stick and be happy!