Make A Custom Kali Linux Distro

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Kali Linux formally known as Back Track Linux is the favorite Linux distribution for hackers and penetration testers. It pretty much is a swiss army knife of network penetration, password cracking, packet sniffing and much more. But one thing I would love to see is a version of Kali Linux that ships with LXDE. Luckily building a custom Kali Linux distro is pretty easy.

Install Kali Linux

In order to build your own Kali Distro you need to first install it. I would recommend installing the mini version, which will simply just install the command line without any GUI desktop environment. After you have installed it you just need to build it up.

Since what I wanted was LXDE I decided to installed LXDE. I do this buy typing the following as root.

apt-get install lxde-core lxde kali-defaults kali-root-login desktop-base -y

After the above packages have been installed you can restart the system by typing the following.


Now when the system reboots you will see the LXDE screen, and a GUI DM which is called Root Login. Simply login and your set with LXDE. Any other packages you want to install do the same. For now we will just make sure Kali has all the latest updates. To do this we will type the following.

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

Change The Default Wallpaper

Because we are making our own distro we can pretty much change anything we want. For the purpose of this post we will only be changing the wallpaper. But the concept is going to be the same.

You may want to change the default wallpaper for your custom Kali Linux distro. To do this we can navigate to /usr/share/images where we will see many images and files. We simply replace the images, and give the the exact same name. If we don’t want to give the same names for the images we can modify the XML files found in the same directory.

Build It

Now that we have our system exactly as we want it we can build our Kali Linux distro. To do this we will need the following packages.

  • curl
  • git
  • live-build
  • cdbootstrap
  • kali-archive-keyring

So we can install them by typing the following

apt-get install curl git live-build cdbootstrap kali-archive-keyring -y

Now that the needed tools have been installed we can get the Kali build files. Since the Kali build files are on a GIT repository we need git. This is why we installed it. Lets get them by cloning the repository to our system.

git clone git://

After we have cloned the repository, we can navigate into it. So we type the following.

cd live-build-config

It is important you need to change the above to the correct name of the directory. But that is pretty self explanitory. Now once we are in the directory we will configure the build environment. To do that we type the following.

lb config --arch amd64

If we want to build a 32 bit version we would change amd64 to x86. Now lets look at the directories inside our repository.

We have a directory called kali-config. And inside that we have several other directories named variant-gnome, variant-kde, variant-lxde and several others. But since we are building an LXDE version we will only focus on the variant-lxde directory. So lets navigate into that and we see another directory called package-list. When we navigate into that directory we see a file called kali.list.chroot.

The kali.list.chroot file is the file that allows us to exclude and include different packages on our Kali Linux distro. So to do this we open it up in our preferred text editor and add the names of the packages we want included in the distro.Once we have done that we will save the file.

Now we can build the distro. To do this we will need to first navigate back to the root of our repository. Then we will type the following.

./ --distribution kali-rolling --variant lxde --arch amd64 --verbose

Now we just wait for it to do it’s thing. When it is done we will have our very own Kali Linux distro.