Install BackTrack 4 beta on VMware 5.5.x from the ISO image

Friday, 6 March 2009

Image of the Logo for Backtrack 4

BackTrack is a Linux distribution which comes configured with a set of tools and a menu layout designed to assist with pentesting. The distribution is available as an ISO image which can be burned to a CD (although, at 854MB it's a bit big for most CDs) becoming a bootable Live CD. It is also available as a VMware image which allows the distribution to be run in a virtual machine (VM) on the desktop.

The VMware image was created using VMware Workstation 6, but may work under Workstation 5.x - I don't know, I haven't tried because I wanted to install BackTrack into a new virtual machine under VMware Workstation 5.5.9.

There's a handy pdf guide to installing BackTrack 4 beta to a hard disk drive available at the [remote-exploit forums] [] and following the guide to the letter results in a hassle-free installation.  Before getting to the stage where I could follow this guide, I had to set-up a new virtual machine and create a virtual disk large enough for my needs. Every time I do this, I choose the wrong options and end up having to redo the VM set-up - usually because the distribution can't detect the virtual disk due to my choice of SCSI adapter type.

Here then are the steps required to set-up a VM in preparation for the hard drive installation:

  1. File > New VM > Custom > Linux (Other Linux 2.6.x kernel).
  2. Name the VM and select a location for it.
  3. Choose the number of processors you want the machine to use.
  4. Choose the amount of memory available to the machine.
  5. Select use bridged networking.
  6. Choose the BusLogic SCSI Adapter.
  7. Create a New virtual disk.
  8. Choose the recommended SCSI interface.
  9. Choose disk options (I went for 8GB, with all space allocated now and split into 2GB files).
  10. Choose a filename for disk file.
  11. Wait for disk creation to complete.

That's the VM created.  Now it's only a case of downloading the ISO image file and editing the VMs CD-ROM connection to "Use ISO image" and pointing it to the BT4 ISO.

After starting the VM and logging in as u:root p:toor you are ready to follow the hard drive install guide.

It's worth noting that BackTrack 4 is based on Ubuntu and as such, it may be easier to select Ubuntu as the guest operating system instead of "Other Linux 2.6.x kernel" when setting-up the new VM.  I haven't tried this and I'd love to know if anyone has had success, or otherwise, with that choice.