With the release of Backtrack 4 final a few days ago I decided to make a post on installing backtrack in VMware. There are many ways to run backtrack including a hard disk install, a USB boot install and of course as a live cd. My preferred method is with VMware so I decided to document my steps in case there is any one who would like to install in this way.

I will be covering a few things in this article:

  • Creating a proper Virtual Machine for Backtrack
  • Installing Backtrack to harddisk inside the Virtual Machine
  • Getting up and running with Backtrack and a few first steps
  • Install VMware tools in Backtrack

Tools I am using in this article:

  • Windows 7 as a host
  • VMware 7 workstation

This method should work on any version of VMware and on any platform. I installed in the exact same way on a Gentoo host with VMware server so I know its close if not the same.

Creating the Virtual Machine:

When you open up VMware you will be presented with the initial screen.

What we want to do is create a new virtual machine:


The next screen will ask us if we want to use the typical or advanced install:


For the sake of this article we are going to use the typical install method so go ahead a select that option

The next screen is going to ask us where the media is we want to install:

Backtrack comes in a .iso format so we can point VMware directly at the .iso file with out ever burning it to a disc. If you have already burned it to a disc simply point this screen at you r disc drive. If the .iso is on the host computer tou can just browse to its location.


Next we want to tell VMware which operating system we are installing in order to achieve the best default settings:

Since Backtrack is loosely based off of Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid  we will use the “Linux” and “Ubuntu” selection. Make sure you do not select the 64 bit choice since Backtrack is currently only 32 bit.


Next we are going to want to give our Virtual machine a name:

I am pretty boring and always have lots of Virtual Machines going at once so I just name it the exact name and build of the distro. You can name it whatever you want of course. It will also ask you for the location you want to store the virtual machine. I generally leave this as the default folder VMware created when you installed it.


The next question is the size of the disk you want to make:

The absolute minimum for Backtrack is 5 gigs.  I would highly encourage you to multiply that by four at the very least. I can not tell you how many times I have run out of disc space in a virtual machine because I forgot I would be importing five and ten gig word lists.  I have choosen 30 gigs for my install but like I said its up to you. I also do not choose to split it into two gig files but once again you may prefer this method.


Okay so we are almost done getting our VM base going.

After selecting the disc space you will be presented with the summary screen:

This is a summary of all out options we have selected. You can at this point still change things.


Now there are two last things to change. Lets click on the advanced tab and configure a few things:


The first is memory:

Once again this is personal preference. I use backtrack pretty heavily everyday so I choose to give it two gigs of ram.  One gig would be fine as well since the GUI installer we will be using creates a swap space for us.

After selecting  that we need to set network adapter:

This is another personal preference however I like my Virtual machines to be on the same private subnet as my host is. For example if my NAT address is a address I like my VM’s to share the same addressing scheme. In order to do this we need to select bridged in the network adapters section.


Great so the machine is all set. Now lets get on with the installation.

Installing Backtrack:

The installation of Backtrack is fairly straight forward however we will go through it anyway just to be sure we cover all the bases. Once we are are done with building our virtual machine we want to power it on. If its successful we will be presented with the boot screen of backtrack.


Select the first option on the boot screen which is the default 1024 x 768 option. Once the system gets booted up you will be presented with a shell prompt. In order to get our graphical desktop going we are going to want to type “startx”.


At this point we are looking at the KDE desktop. If you notice on the upper left hand corner of the screen there is a icon which says install. We are going to double click on this icon in order to start the GUI installer.


Most of the GUI installer has been automated by the work of the Backtrack developers so there are only a few steps to make.

The first is to choose your time zone:


Next we need to choose our keyboard layout:


Next we see the partition editor:


I am not going to go into how to partition your drive manually since that would be a whole new article. In a situation like this where we have a virtual machine, it is fine to accept the default partition scheme and use the entire disk.

Ready to install:


I would like to make one side note here. If you are  familiar with Ubuntu at all you will notice that some steps are missing from the installer. You may also notice that in the bottom left corner it jumped from step four to step seven. Do not worry. This is the way we designed the installer. One of the main reasons is that Backtrack is designed to be run as root and not a regular user. You are of course free to add users and whatever else you like however due to various reason that was built out of the installer.

Press install and let it go:


The big finish:


The installer can take any where from ten minutes to forty  minutes depending on the speed of your machine so feel free to go out and grab a cup of coffee. Once its finished go ahead and select restart and lets boot into our brand new shiny Backtrack 4 install.

Getting up and running with backtrack – First steps

The most common question:

The one question we are always asked is what is the log in. As I said earlier we use the root acount by default so the log in name is root. The default password is simply root backwards so its toor.


Next most common question:

How do I get on the internet? By default Backtrack is designed to start up in a “stealth” mode. For this reason there are no interfaces started at boot. This is anoying for many people so I will show you how to change that. There are two ways to bring your interface up.

If you only want to start one interface:


For this method we are only going to start the eth0 interface so we just bring it up and issue the dhclient script to get a addresss from our dhcp server.

I’m lazy and I just want to start them all:


There is a init.d script which tried to start all the interfaces defined in /etc/network/interfaces. You can add or remove them in that file based on your hardware.  SO invoking this script will try to start and get address’s for five or six different interfaces.

I need a static IP:


In the /etc/networking/interfaces file you can also add you static ip information as I have shown. Do not forget to also add a nameserver to /etc/resolv.conf.


I am really lazy and I just want to start all my interfaces at boot:


Adding something to the boot process is fairly easy in Backtrack. We simply add it to the default run level with the command update-rc.d as shown in the picture.

How do I start ssh:

You have to generate the keys in backtrack in order to start the ssh daemon.


After you do that you can start ssh like normal from its init.d script.


And you can also start ssh at boot in the same way we started networking with update-rc.d


I want to change my hostname to something worthy of a hacker:


The file that contains the hostname is called /etc/hostname. Just change this to whatever cool name you think you deserve to be called. The host name will change on reboot but if you cannot wait you can simply restart the init.d script for the hostname. the command is /etc/init.d/hostname start. Once you close the cuurent shell and open a new one you can see your new hostname.


Installing VMware tools

I get asked about this more frequently than anything else so hopefully this will clear up the install of VMware tools. VMware tool greatly enhances the graphics and mouse control in a virtual machine. It also allows shared folders with the host and copy & paste with paid versions of VMware workstation. VMware server is free however it lacks a few of the features.

Select install vmware tools from the menu:


Open up the Konqueror file manager icon which is on the tool bar on the bottom left had corner:


Select Storage Media:


If the page opens up blank thats ok. Either hit the green refresh icon on the tool bar or hit f5. I have never figured out this behavior however its really no big deal. You should be looking at the VMware tools CD icon. Double click on that and you will see the vmwaretools.tar.gz file.

Copy the archive to your desktop:


Once we get the archive on or desktop we can work with it.

Open a terminal and un tar the archive:


Change directories into the VMware tools file and run the .pl install script:


I choose all the defaults for the sake of simplicity. For my purposes all the default selections are fine. If you know what you are doing feel free to look at every question and decide on the best choice for your system. Once it gets done running you will be presented with a screen like this which means the install is complete.


Clean up:


At this point you can safely delete the VMware folder and archive from you system and be finished with the install. Now you can kick back and enjoy the best security distribution around.

List Price: $39.99 USD
New From: $8.78 USD In Stock
Used from: $0.78 USD In Stock

List Price: $50.00 USD
New From: $30.20 USD In Stock
Used from: $21.97 USD In Stock

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
82 Responses to “Backtrack 4 Final Installation in VMware with VMware tools”
  1. mx says:

    Good fr beginners)


  2. spazz says:

    I HATE the new BackTrack 4 based on Ubuntu!!!! Features like drag and drop that comes with VMWare tools cannot be installed!


  3. purehate says:

    Sorry you don’t like it. the reason we went to Ubuntu is because we needed a package manager and slap-get is the worst.


  4. jared says:

    any reason not to just pick up their VM for bt4 final?


  5. purehate says:

    Nothing wrong with the vmware image we made. Its fine to use. I juts prefer to build the whole thing myself.


  6. jared says:

    Gotcha. Thanks for taking the time do to this write-up.


  7. valkyrie says:

    NIce tutorial. Touches on some topics that I didnt realise were in here, from the title :)


  8. Katallyn says:

    Hello, i have some problem… first of all i use windows 7 and i install backtrack 4 final on vMware workstation 7 and when i tape iwconfig, aimon -ng dont see any of my cipset . plz help me.


  9. matt says:

    This was the best. I appreciate the time and effort it took to create this toot and after browsing other forums postings I found this, thorough description. Thank you and keep up the good work; don’t forget to step outside once or twice a year…


  10. ossiny says:

    u don’t even specify what folder to delete


  11. Josh says:

    I’m trying to get BT4 running on my schools VMWare Infrastructure Web Access. I went through all the steps for making the VM but when I select the first option in the boot menu the system hangs on

    Starting up …

    I can’t get it off that screen and it doesn’t do anything else. Any ideas on what I’m doing wrong?


  12. safinator says:

    hi im using back track 4 final with vmware workstation 7 , i have no idea how you open a new console or add my password list in

    ther are no options to do so please can some one email me how to do this or tell me

    thanks for listening


    Genc Reply:

    First step: start the backstrack 4…
    Second step: type: startx
    Third step: The konsol looks like a window and you may find it in the left side in the end.


  13. Hatim says:

    Hi for me the only problem that i have ! its when i want to install vmware tools ! i dont find any media on the storage media !! :(:( plz can someone help me !!

    i have a Backtrack 4 Final !

    how to install Vmware Tools Pllz !


  14. wael says:

    i can’t use my pcmcia card on bt4 via virtual machine(vmware work station 7)
    Message that i get:
    “SIOCSIFADDR: no such device
    wlan0: error while getting interface flags: no such device
    wlan0: error while getting interface flags: no such device
    Bind Socket TO Interface: no such device
    failed to bring up wlan0
    NB: wlan0=”D-Link AirPlus DWL-G650″
    how can i make it work???


    purehate Reply:

    Hi Wael,
    Currently only USB wireless cards work with VMware.


  15. wael says:

    hi purehate,
    actually i instal it on My hdd via vmware and it work very good and i can see all my hardware .
    exp: i can see my built in wireless adapter butit’s intel and it will not work with injection
    i can see my pcmcia but i can’t use it that’s my problem.
    thank you for reply


    purehate Reply:

    Thats because virtual machines can only use usb type wifi cards and not internal. The hosts internal hardware will show up as eth0


  16. wael says:

    right i use the internal wireless normally “eth0″
    and i use my pcmcia with “live CD” bootable
    but maybe you are right about vmware that can’t see pcmcia card.
    thank you


  17. Blast says:


    I have a problem same with wael. do i need to buy for a wireless usb card? what should it be? any ideas/ or do i need to buy even a cheaper or china made one’s? I have an internal card Atheros AR5007EG but the message say’s no such device? please help me I followed all your instruction.. Also, when i typed iwconfig there is no card or any chipset appearing.. I’m using windows 7 as a host. is this work only if you have an internet connection? I dont have a connection since i’m using a loptop.

    Please help thank’s purehate!

    Thank’s and More power.


  18. Dummie says:

    i met a same problem with Blast..
    i hv USB wireless card,TP Link(TL-WN321G). after typing iwconfig command it’s no showing any adapter. is it wireless card compatible with backtrack?! confusing??!
    even i typed airmon-ng, there show nothing about the interface…
    is some commands or steps i miss.. ?


  19. Blast says:

    I have encountering concern regarding interfaces…please assist me.. I’m using Netgear wg111v3, VMware 7 and Backtrack 4 final.
    How can i activate my usb wifi card?
    i used …
    ifconfig start wlan0

    still i cant use the device to scan. . what should i do?

    Thank’s and More power!!!



  20. Achilles says:

    Hey Man! Purehate, its an excellent tutorial, inface solved my month old problem. after following this my BT4 is up and running internet on Vmware 7. Thanks dude


  21. agung says:

    this is great! many thanks!


    alex Reply:

    Hello agung,

    No problem. Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback.



    andy Reply:

    after i types in dhclient eth0 at the end of it, it said no dhcpoffers received and also said no working lease in the persistent database – sleeping. Can you help me with this please and thank you.


    alex Reply:

    Hello andy,

    It sounds as if the computer you are installing Backtrack on is not connected to a network with a DHCP server on it.



  22. Gamze says:

    Thanks a lot for your detailed guide. It really helped a lot.


  23. rifrafsam says:

    Thanks for the detailed How-To. I had BT4 up and running but had trouble with the VMWare Tools installation, your step by step instructions cleared up my questions and got me going. Keep up the good work.


    purehate Reply:

    No problem guys, glad I could help.


  24. rayan says:

    this tutorial is really helpful, even for the firsttimer with bactrack instalation, i can done it smoothly..

    thanks in advance mate


  25. luke says:

    However in order to change directories i used cd ./vmware-tools-distrib instead of the cd /vmware-tools-distrib
    that did the trick for me..


  26. andy says:

    hi how do u get the vmware key?


  27. Andrew says:

    This was sooooo helpful! Thank you :)


  28. Zach says:

    Great thanx man you own. mad props.


  29. andy says:

    after i types in dhclient eth0 at the end of it, it said no dhcpoffers received and also said no working lease in the persistent database – sleeping. Can you help me with this please and thank you.


  30. andy says:

    when i type in /etc/network/interfaces
    bash: /etc/network/interfaces: permission denied
    can someone help me with this one please.


  31. andy says:

    Also how do you bring up wlan0 please and thank you.


  32. jim says:

    I did it!!!! everything went great on my vmware ! now i will try this……i will create a new vm with a blank drive but in the meanwhile i have connect a usb -sd whatever.
    when the first display comes up with the bt4′s menu i push the connect button (buttom right) for my usb-sd . after the startx its boots normaly and then i begine installation from the desktop shorcut. In this way during the steps ,the backtrack finds the only drive installation which is my usb-sd!!!! i hope it works!!!


  33. Anton says:

    very nice tut,thanks


  34. Dan says:

    Great tut, however I am having a little issue. I have the problem where I need to call fixvesa command before executing startx. Now this allows me to get through the install however when I reboot and try to enter again, Virtual PC’s screen turns green and then powers off.

    The last thing I see on the screen before it does this is:

    fbcon: S3 Trio32 (fb0) is primary device. I have an ATI card and I am assuming that it perhaps just has the wrong drivers and that this may be happeneing due to me not being able to call “fixvesa” on startup since I never even get to the command prompt.

    Any ideas on how I may be able to fix this. Oh sorry…one last thing, I am running Virtual PC in Windows 7 env, and have successfully installed. It just seems to eb an issue with getting in after the install. Thanks all!!


  35. Tabby Mulla says:

    Surely a nice guide Purehate, but dont know why my networking does not work the same as the guide.

    Tried with both built-in as well as usb wireless adapter, but still “Failed to bring up wlan0″ although internet is easily accessed through Backtrack.

    May be the reason is that I don’t know how to install USB wifi adapter drivers in Backtrack4 or something else. Can u guide? Plz


  36. lennard says:

    Hi, i faced the same problem. As far as i know, Backtrack 4 has almost all updated drivers for wireless adapter which we don’t need to manually update the kernel (eg: make install….), Can you guide us on how to bring up Wlan0?

    i tried with both bridged network and NAT , networking start, ifconfig, iwconfig and so on, but still get the same result. Thanks !


  37. Yozho says:

    Great tutorial. Easy to understand.


    purehate Reply:

    hanks for leaving feedback, we appreciate it!


  38. austin says:

    Hey i’m having some problems with this. I get everything up to the part about launching the virtual drive. I open it up and it starts up nice, but when I type in “startx” it will not let me. It says “Fatal Server error: Addscreen/ScreenInit failed for driver zero.” Can anyone tell me what is wrong and how I fix it?


    purehate Reply:

    There are 2 things you can try-
    1. fix-vesa

    2. Xorg -configure (follow the instructions and copy the new file to the proper location)


    austin Reply:

    fix-vesa worked. Thank you so much


    purehate Reply:

    No problem man, glad we could help.


  39. singularity says:

    thenks GREAT :D


  40. van says:

    Hi good guide but i’m having problems finding my backtrack file. Its a .tar file and my vm will just not find it. I moved it to desktop and still noting, any suggestions

    the file i downloaded from “backtrack-linux.org/downloads/”:

    BackTrack 4 R2 Release VMware Image

    Name:: bt4-r2-vm.tar.bz2 Size: 2400 MB
    MD5: 95c8b727d01b96b6df84381065cd9da6


  41. Alejandro says:

    I’m using windows 7, insalled BackTrack 4 but no wlan0 nor any wireless, as other above, tyed network Bridge an NAT, but not succeed; when bootin my PC it works but inside VMWare no, also not found more help in the web Please gide! I am new in Linux


    purehate Reply:

    That is because virtual machines do not see the host machines wifi card. The wifi card of your host machine is eth0 in Backtrack. In order to have wireless in Vmware you need to get a USB wifi device.


    Rhys Reply:

    I have got a USB device its a Blekin N1 dongle. I have got exactly the same issue; if i bridge the connection I can have internet running on VM and on Host PC, but i can not get wlan0 up; sort of need that to start doing brute force penetration testing,

    Also how do you “import” documents from your host machine onto your virtual machine; documents such as password.txt files

    Thank you in advance


  42. payam says:

    hey purehate , are u sure that this usb device thingy will work , pls reply , in this case i will buy 1 , the problem is that backtrack cant detect my wireless card , to bring it on monitor mode,


  43. Edward says:

    you need a USB wireless adapter that supports packet injection for it to work on backtrack.


  44. zviki says:

    Hi.I also cant see my Netgear usb adapter.I have internet in Backtrack,but its say wired-defaul.Backtrack is running on VMware player on Win 7 where i have internet over wifi.I have two wifi adapters.One is notebook default wifi adapter(which is also on integrated usb port)and another is Netgear usb dongle(this one i use in Backtrack).Since its recognized like wired network i cant choose which AP i will use.With rmmod and modprobe commands i can use it for penetration testing but as i said ,i cant see wifi under desktop mode(KDE).It works well in Ubuntu.

    @Rhys For “import” documents and copy-paste from-to host machine, you must install VMware tools.But i have problem with this also.The button in VMplayer(Virtual Machine),where is VMware tools installation,does nothing.


  45. zviki says:

    Sorry.I just solve my problem.My mistake.I have wifi dongle connected and network started,but I just found where are AP`s displayed.


  46. Dan says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. This is by far the best one I have ever seen. I have been struggling with the installation of the VMware Tools for days and once I read your step by step, I finally got it working. Thanks Again!!!


    purehate Reply:

    Good to hear, thanks for leaving feedback. We always appreciate people taking the time to leave feedback.


  47. 2ng4rd'z says:

    i can’t find the ISO file, how to make it ?


  48. mb911 says:

    i have the internet wifi connected to my windows 7 and im using vmware for running backtrack 4 …. and i bridged the connection or the NAT but backtrack still isnt getting internet connection … any idea whats going on ??


  49. aac11 says:

    i’ve been successful in running BT4R2 on my desktop using dvd my question is what are the advantages of running BT4 in dvd or using vmware.tnx


  50. lhooipg says:

    follow your instruction and installed perfectly, just spponwep2 & spoonwpa not working in VMware for Bt4 even I got a USB wireless adapter connected to it…

    able to browser internet using this usb wireless adapter but just unable to search for AP in spoonwep2 & spoonwpa.


  51. i2b9rsw7 says:

    fantastico……ottimo modo di usare il pc……è da abbandonare il sistema tradizionale…..


  52. ricky says:

    when i try to install this i get a message ( this kernel requires an x86-64 cpu, but only detected an i686 cpu, unable to boot- please use a kernel appropriate for your cpu) I am running windows 7 ultimate 64bit. Please help i dont know what this message means. Thanks


  53. Sakkath says:

    it means run the 32-bit version because running via VirtualPC masks the fact that you have a 64-bit processor


  54. btsolo88 says:

    I follow instructions and install backtrack successfully but when finished installation i logon with root and toor ……I only see ” command line mode” i need GUI mode. How can i fix it !
    Someone guide to me… Thanks


    , Reply:

    type startx


    Vikash Parajuli Reply:

    it says not found …….then what to do??????????????/


  55. btsolo88 says:



  56. Harshit says:

    Great Tutorial..nicely written as it explains each step clearly and the screenshots also help a great deal !!…Thanks and keep up the good work.. :)


  57. 22rajat says:

    sir can you please tell me what to do when it ask for installing a bin file pls help


  58. imationgruop says:

    ricky, necesitas una iso de 32 bits


  59. Vikash Parajuli says:

    I can not start GUI if i type “startx” the it say command not found……what i do??????


  60. Milad says:

    nice … very very thnx


  61. Mann says:

    Dear Sir,
    Thank for giving this typs of good step but when i started to installing Back strack In my VM Ware 8.0 than i wrote your step “startx” to installing graphically Back strack my pc is going to HANG and it was shutdown.
    SO i req to you ple help me wht i do for installing This O.S
    Ple send me my ans bec i really want ………………
    Mann Goswami,
    India. Gujarat.


  62. Rob says:

    Works Flawlessly…Thx. I used the BT5 R2 Gnome 64 bit versiona and it worked out fine. Internet connection was implicit.


  63. shlee says:

    after vm tools installation, i did strike root & toor , it has shown phrase ” Root login are not allowed “. how do i do?


Leave a Reply

*Type the letter/number combination in the abvoe field before clicking submit.