Create Linux Bootable usb on Mac: Many people face this issue that how to create Linux bootable usb on mac. In my tutorial I’m going to show you how to create linux bootable usb on mac book pro. In this article, I’m using a 13-inch MacBook Air (Late 2016), so depending on your model and Mac OS version, things might be different for you.
Note: Before we get started, please note that you should probably create a backup of your system. Before you go all the way and install Kali as your second OS on your system. The easiest way to do so is probably Time Machine in combinations with Apple’s Time Capsule. You can just use an external HDD or, like I did, use your existing NAS for your Time Machine backups.
How to create linux bootable usb on mac?
The first step of this tutorial create linux bootable usb on mac is probably the easiest. We are going to create a bootable Kali Linux USB thumb drive, from which we are going to run the actual installation on a secondary partition later on.
Since I also recorded the process, you can either just watch the video below for most of this guide, or scroll down and continue with the written version. In my opinion, you are probably faster with the written version, since there is really not much to it.
So, let’s start that how to create linux bootable usb on mac? before we go to straight creating it. First, you have the image of Kali Linux. You can find it from their Documentation web or you download it from 3rd party software websites.
1. Now, that’s done, you should have your Kali Linux image in your downloads folder in the Finder. Go and open a terminal and navigate there using the following command.
- cd Downloads
2. Next, plug in your USB thumb drive and either Use the Disk Utility app as shown in the screenshot a little bit further below or the following command in terminal to figure out where your thumb drive got mounted.
- diskutil list
This is going to cause an output similar to this:
3. Then, you need to spot your thumb drive. In the case above it’s /dev/disk2 (external, physical). If you are not sure you may use the Disk Utility tool as mentioned above. Your thumb drive should be listed on the left-hand side and once you click on it you will be able to see the device in the bottom right corner.
Easy Guide to create linux bootable usb on mac with linux bootable usb
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4. Now we are almost there. The next thing we need to do is unmount our thumb drive, using the following comment:
- diskutil unmount /dev/disk2
Note: If you get an error like “disk2 was already unmounted or it has a partitioning scheme so use “diskutil unmountDisk” instead” you need to adjust the command according to the message shown.
- diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk2
- Important: Make sure to replace /dev/disk2 with your device!
We are going to finish, all we need to do now is write the image to thumb drive.
- sudo dd if=kali-linux-2016.2-amd64.iso of=/dev/disk2 bs=1m
Note: The ‘bs’ (blocksize) parameter, among other factors. It is going to affect how long it’s going to take to write the image to your thumb drive. ‘1m’ is the value recommended in the Kali Linux documentation but you might have more success with different values like ‘512’.
In order to execute the command above, the terminal is going to ask you for your password since we are using ‘sudo’ to execute the ‘dd’ command with superuser privileges. When you enter it, the terminal won’t show any input. That’s totally normal, so just confirm your password by pressing the return key.
Depending on the selected blocksize and several other factors like the connection type of your USB thumb drive, the process is going to take some time and it’s not going to give you any feedback until it’s done.
- 2934+1 records in
- 2934+1 records out
- 3076767744 bytes transferred in 872.584156 secs (3526041 bytes/sec)
create linux bootable usb on mac
That’s it. You’ve successfully created a bootable Kali Linux USB thumb drive, or at least according to the official Kali documentation. Unfortunately, this might already be enough to later boot and install Kali on older MacBook’s, but it doesn’t get the job done on the late 2016 models like mine.
Note: If you are using an earlier model move on to the rEFInd installation and only consider the following steps in case you are unable to boot Kali later since those steps might not be necessary for you.
Error’s you are going to encounter if you use the USB flash drive like it now depends on how you are trying to boot.
If you use the built-in Mac OS boot manager by holding the Alt key while booting you are most likely just getting a blank black screen after selecting to boot from USB.
In case you already installed rEFInd, you are going to either end up with a black screen.
You might even be able to see some items in the boot menu, but you are going to get stuck once you select something. In order to fix this, we need to adjust some configuration files on the USB drive first.
Here’s the list of files we need to modify in order to deal with the issues mentioned above. All of them are located at /EFI/BOOT/ on your Kali USB drive.
Let’s start with /EFI/BOOT/syslinux.cfg
Here, we want to change line #2 from
- default vesamenu.c32↓ to
- default menu.c32
This switches the boot menu from the graphical one displayed in the photo above to a retro one. Since this one is better scaled, it’s easier to read and navigate. Unfortunately, this still won’t get your USB drive to boot, so next, we continue with /EFI/BOOT/stdmenu.cfg
How to Create a Bootable Kali USB Drive on Mac OS Sierra
Changes here would be an alternative to the changes above and are supposed to get the modern boot menu to scale better (didn’t test it without the changes to syslinux.cfg). So your stick might work without those changes too, but since I had the changes in my final setup, I’d recommend you copy them as well. Not gonna post them separate as code here since all you have to do is place a # in front of a few lines as you can see on the screenshot above in order to make them a comment and therefore ignored by the boot menu.
Now, let’s move on the final and most crucial change in order to get your USB drive to boot properly. Depending on which option of the boot menu you want to use, you need to adjust a different file.
In order to be able to launch “Kali Live” from the boot menu, you need to adjust /EFI/BOOT/live.cfg adding the parameter nointremap as shown in the image below.
Note: If you want to use the other live options you may add the parameter in the corresponding lines as well.
If you want to run “Kali Installer” from the boot menu, you need to modify /EFI/BOOT/install.cfg just like you just did before and add the parameter nointremap to the “install” and “installgui” block.
That’s it. Now you’ve created yourself a bootable USB thumb drive that can be used with your 13″ MacBook Pro (Late 2016 with Touch Bar). So, in theory, you could now just follow the rest of the official Kali documentation.
How to Create Bootable USB for Kali Linux on Windows?
- Step #1. Select a Linux Distribution from the drop-down. Choose “Try Unlisted Linux ISO“.
- Step #2. Choose the Kali Linux ISO file that you have downloaded.
- Step #3. Select your USB thumb drive.
- Step #4. Check out the “We will format drive x”. And finally, click on the “Create” button.
Create Bootable USB with Persistence for Kali Linux
- Get Universal USB Installer
- Download Latest Edition of Kali Linux
- Create Bootable USB
- Prepare Your Partitions
- Test and Finalize
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