Using Backtrack Linux 4 in Virtualbox

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Installing Backtrack Linux in Virtualbox works mostly the same as installing it on a real machine. I will be using Backtrack 4 as the example through this tutorial, but feel free to use whatever version you wish; it should all work the same. The first thing you need to download is the backtrack iso image (not the VMware image!) from the website.

Then you need to install Virtualbox on your Linux host. Most package managers will have it named as “virtualbox-ose”. Once you have done this, you are ready to start the install. If you would like to install Virtualbox on a Windows host, you can go to the website and download the exe file.


Installing in Virtualbox is a lot like doing a real install. You boot from the disk and go through the installation process. In order to get started, open the Virtualbox interface and click “New”. It should then give you a wizard asking for your basic configuration. When it asks which OS you would like to run, choose “Linux 2.6” as there is no option for Backtrack. You also want the hard disk to be a dynamically expanding image and you want it to start at around 20GB. (Backtrack is a bit bigger than most Linux distributions.)

You can now press “Start” on your new system. It should launch another wizard asking you about a “Media Source”. You want to click the icon to the right and then find the Backtrack iso image you downloaded previously. Click “Finish” and allow it to continue with booting.

You will get to a page asking you how you would like to boot Backtrack. The first option works fine in most situations. Once you have booted, login using the username: “root” and the password “toor” (all without quotes), and then run “startx” to launch the GUI environment (again without quotes).

Once it has finished booting the GUI environment, you should see an icon on your desktop saying “”. Click this and run through the process to install Backtrack to your virtual hard disk.

Virtualbox Extras

VirtualBox comes with an “extras” iso image which allows you to run your guest operating system in full screen mode as well as get the best performance from it. However, Backtrack does not notice the CD drive on your virtual system, so we need to use a work around to get the installation scripts onto the machine.

From the virtual machine, click “Devices” on the top menu and then “Install Guest Additions”. It will pop up asking you to download it. Click yes to this and wait for the download to complete. When it asks you if you would like to mount the image, click “No”.

Now if you are running Linux on the host, you should be able to set up Samba in order to share with other computers on the network. If you open your file manager and ensure that you are showing hidden files, you should be able to find a “.Virtualbox” directory in your home directory; in here is the guest additions iso. Extract the iso using an archive manager; if you do not have one, 7zip is a good free one.

Once you have done that, share the .Virtualbox folder using Samba so the guest system can see it. Then go back to Backtrack and find the Samba share. Copy the additions folder you set up to your guest machine, open the terminal, and then go into the folder you just copied across.

You can now run “chmod +x ./” to make it executable and then “./” to install the additions.


Backtrack Linux should now be set up on your system. This guide is primarily aimed at users of Backtrack 4, but it should work for any Backtrack version. If you are having any issues setting up your guest OS, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

In the next few weeks, you should see more articles aimed at Backtrack Linux users, so please feel free to click my name at the top of this article and browse through.