Kali inside Parallels (Guest VM)

Table of Contents

This guide is about virtualizing Kali Linux inside of Parallels, allowing you to have a Kali VM. This is a great way to use Kali, as it is completely separate from the host, allows you to interact with other VMs (as well as the host, and other machines on the network), and allows you to revert to snapshots.


Upon starting up Parallels, select the Plus symbol.

This will launch the Installation Assistant

Now we choose Install Windows or another OS from a DVD or image file

On this screen, we select the Kali Linux image to use to install from. We select “Choose Manually”, and navigate to the location of the ISO that we downloaded. For more information on what image to download, we have written up a guide.

Either drag the ISO file or choose Select a file… to navigate to the downloaded ISO.

Parallels does not recognize the OS on the ISO, so we will choose Continue to proceed anyway.

Once we have clicked Continue, we want to choose Ubuntu from the drop down list. Normally we would choose Debian however, there is a bug with the Parallels Tools, that does not occur when using Ubuntu.

The next screen is “Name and Location”, which is where you name the VM. This name is also used as the filename (such as the configuration, hard disk and snapshot - which is not changed from this point).

We also want to mark the check box for Customize settings before installation

We are keeping it generic in this guide, by using “Kali Linux” (as Kali Linux is a rolling distribution, and we update Kali Linux).

This will bring up the Configuration screen for the Virtual Machine.

The next screen is “Processors”. Here we can start to define how many resources we give the VM. Kali will be able to perform more tasks simultaneously and quicker if it is allocated more resources. We select “2 processors” and “** 2048 MB ** “, giving a total of 2 cores and 2GB of RAM. You may wish to use more or less depending on your system requirements.

Now we want to choose Hard Disk so we can resize the hard disk.

Select the Properties button

And reduce the size to 32GB. You may wish to leave it at 64GB, or increase it, depending on your system requirements.

Click Apply and you will be prompted to Continue

Click Continue

We can now close the Kali Linux Configuration window, and be back at the Installation Assistant screen.

After all this is done, we save, start up the VM, and then continue installing Kali Linux as we normally would for a bare metal install.

Updated on: 2023-Jul-04
Author: steev