Installing VMware on Kali

The Kali website has an official guide on how to accomplish this task:

I’m using the latest version of Kali as of this writing (v2021.2). I’ll be installing the free version of VMware: Workstation 16.0 Player.


With Kali installed as the base operating system, the first step is to update:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt full-upgrade -y
$ [ -f /var/run/reboot-required ] && sudo reboot -f

The software can be downloaded via the website:

After download, execute the following commands to set the file permissions and run the install:

$ chmod u+x VMware-Player-16.1.2-17966106.x86_64.bundle
$ sudo ./VMware-Player-16.1.2-17966106.x86_64.bundle

VMware Player now appears in the Programs Menu.


Upon starting VMware for the first time, I was greeted by the following: “Kernel headers for version 5.10.0-kali7-amd64 were not found.” After rebooting, I ran VMware again and the error was gone! The rest of the setup is simply clicking through some legal items and selecting whether or not to allow auto-update. Time to set up the first VM!

Setting up the Kali Guest VM

I’ll be installing a Kali VM. Instructions can be found for this on the Kali website:

You can use either a pre-built Kali VM or ISO. Both can be found here: Downloading the pre-built image results in a .7z wrapped file. Unzip the file:

$ 7za e kali-linux-2021.2-vmware-amd64.7z

After starting VMware, select Open a Virtual Machine. Browse to the file location and open the .vmx file. The VM can now be powered on. After powering on, I was prompted to download VMware Tools for Linux version 11.2.6. Click Download and Install. After installing, you’ll be looking at your shiny new VM, ready for login! Use the default credentials (kali:kali) to log into the VM.

Leave a Reply