Install Kali Linux in Windows 10 WSL


Thanks to the hard work done between the Offensive Security and Windows WSL Teams, Kali Linux has been released into the Microsoft App Store as an official WSL distribution. For those of you that do not know what Kali Linux is – Kali Linux is a Debian-based Linux distribution aimed at advanced Penetration Testing and Security Auditing. In this post I will be walking you through the steps to install and configure Kali in Windows 10. Keep in mind, this will install a lite version of Kali and will not include all of the packages found in the full distribution – but the packages can easily be installed once we are all setup.

The first thing that needs to be done, if you don’t already have it enabled, is to turn on the Windows Subsystem for Linux feature in Windows 10. The easiest way to enable this feature is through PowerShell by running the command below followed by a reboot:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

Now that you have the Windows Subsystem for Linux enabled, head on over to the Windows App Store to install the Kali Linux App.

Once it is finished installing, launch the app and wait a minute or so to finish it’s configuration. At the end of this step you will be prompted to create the default user account.


Now that we are all setup, lets update Kali and do some cleanup:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get clean

And now you should be all set. You can launch Kali either by running the Kali Linux app or by running kali from an elevated command prompt.

Finally, A couple of important notes and reminders before we finish:

  • As mentioned earlier, this is a lite version of Kali so you will need to install each of your packages independently.
  • Some of the packages will trigger your antivirus while being installed. You should create an exclusion for the Kali package path, usually found at "%LOCALAPPDATA%\Packages\KaliLinux.*" before attempting to install them. A short video to adding the exclusions to Defender can be found here.
  • If you like working with through a desktop manager, you can find the instructions to install xfce4 here.

About Frank Trout

I am an IT Consultant with ~20 years of experience working with Microsoft technologies. I am also a blogger, a Microsoft MVP, and an all-around geek at heart.