Kali Linux installs non-root and no pen-test tools w/ screenshots

12 April Update: Thankfully, by 2020, Kali Linux has changed by default to a privileged non-root user, You will now be logged in with the user you created during the install process and no longer as root. This means you can now complete my recommended setup (A stable non-root Debian-test rolling release managed by the Kali team) Very easy!

As such, today I’ve updated the instructions below – originally posted in August 2017 – to include the now simple 2021 method for installing Kali Linux Without it Penetration Testing Equipment/Package.

Note: If you are here for Kali Linux’s penetration testing install guide, then this guide is not for you. The default installation of Kali Linux has many tools that can only run with root privileges, Instead you should follow Kali’s default install method for root install and understand the risks.

Non-root Kali Linux installs without penetration testing tools

It is suitable for users who want to use Kali Linux everyday. Similar to Debian Testing but managed and maintained by the Kali Linux team. A rolling release of Debian, maintained by Kali Linux. you will log in with your User name, not with a root account (as mentioned, it is now by default). I’ve found Kali’s rolling Linux distro to be a stable distro, with countless packages available to make it very convenient. I’ll post some additional screenshots at the end of my lightly customized Kali Linux + Gnome desktop.


My Native Non-Rooted Kali Linux Rolling Release w/ Gnome Desktop

Reasons to Install Kali Rolling Linux Distro

How to Install Kali Linux Non-Root

using the graphical installer

You can install non-root Kali (now the default) without the penetration tool, simply by unchecking top 10 And omission Tool options during the default ‘Graphical Install’ process.

Kali Linux Installed: No Tools
deselect ‘top 10’ And ‘Mistake’ Tools for installing the bud Without it penetration testing equipment.

Using the Expert Installer

Like Debian, Kali can be net-installed. download latest kali-linux-*-installer-netinst-amd64.iso from black download page, Once you’ve downloaded and set up on a USB or other install media you’ll want to boot Kali, then choose: ‘advanced options’ From the main menu > then select ‘expert install’ the option. After which, you can continue with the install, Choose Language ▼, configure keyboard, and so on. until you reach the ‘Software Selection’ screen. Here you’ll make your Kali Linux a little more like the default Debian. Again, as with the graphical installer, uncheck Tools.

Kali Linux Installed: No Tools
deselect ‘top 10’ And ‘Mistake’ Tools for installing the bud Without it penetration testing equipment

Next, proceed with the installation as you normally would. This will result in a minimal system install with root login disabled and without default penetration testing tools. However, as you can see from the screenshot below, you can still access the root manually in the event that you need it.

Install Kali Linux: Non-Root

Now, if you need some guidance on what to choose during the install screen, you can leave a note in the comments section or follow the screenshot here for Debian mini.iso install, the process is very similar.

Screenshot from my original Kali Linux + Gnome install

Kali Linux + Gnome Everyday Distro

Originally Posted: August 1, 2017 | Last Updated: April 12, 2021

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