I found an old laptop lying around and I figured I would install Kali Linux on it to learn more about penetration testing and to try to break into my servers for practice and learning more about creating a secure network.

I used unetbootin to install the Kali Linux ISO I downloaded via the torrent from their site, and the install to my flash drive went successfully.

On the laptop I was wanting to put Kali on, I went into the BIOS and ordered the USB to be the priority to boot from. After that, I booted live into Kali and installed the operating system from there. It loaded up the graphical install page from Kali and the install seemed to go successfully.

However, once the installation was successful, it would take me to the login page and prompt me for the root password. I would type in the root password I had used during the initial setup, yet it gives me the Incorrect password prompt, even though I am 100% sure I was using the password I had installed at the start.

To confirm this, I tried reinstalling from the live boot multiple times, using the same password from the first attempt and even just doing "password" for testing purposes. Neither one worked.

As a final measure, I opened up the GParted Partition Editor from the Kali live boot and deleted all of the partitions on my laptop's hard drive. From there, I went through the Kali installation process again successfully, only to encounter the EXACT same issue as before when trying to log in after installation.

Does anyone know what is going on? I am clueless as to what I could do to be able to log into my Kali installation... thanks.

  • I have tried running through the installation process to no avail... is there any way to figure out what this issue is?
    – J.W.F.
    Commented May 4, 2014 at 21:35
  • 3
    First you should type "root" as your user name...and then when it ask for password type the password you enter first....
    – user78101
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 12:12
  • Are you sure you did not create a different user during the installation? Is root the only user? Is root the username you see on the login screen? Did you set up the keyboard layout correctly? If you have a non-US keyboard, the login screen might not be aware of that. Try entering the password as though you had a US layout.
    – terdon
    Commented Jul 20, 2014 at 12:32
  • @SwapnilJain I did attempt try logging in as the root user, unfortunately. @terdon Yes, root was the only user on my system. root was also the only user on the startup screen. I did setup the keyboard correctly for my keyboard (US standard), as I was able to try logging in as another user and type a fake username with my keyboard layout.
    – J.W.F.
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 3:16
  • Most systems won't allow you to log in from the GUI as root. Try dropping to a tty (Ctrl+Alt+F1 or one of the other F keys) and logging in there. Does that work?
    – terdon
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 14:25

4 Answers 4


Try this in login window:

Username: root
Password: password

the "root" is exactly word "root", means root user

the "password" is the password you created during installation.

From: https://forums.kali.org/showthread.php?18428-Username-PW-login-failure-to-Kali-Linux

  • With Kali initial installs with failed logins, there is a very good chance that the root password is root backwards: toor
    – SDsolar
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 8:28
  • 1
    @SDsolar yes, indeed, if you use Live USB or import provided Kali virtual image into Virtual Machine, the default password for root is toor. But since he mentioned "root password I had used during the initial setup", I guess the poster had assigned a password for root user. Anyway, since the poster accepted my answer, I believed my anwser worked.
    – CodyChan
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 10:08

Boot your machine with a live CD, mount your hard drive, chroot to your hard drive and change password.

Reboot without the live CD, now your new password should give you access.


I found a way to get around the problem, try this as it worked for me: in the terminal type

sudo su

it will ask for your userpassword and make you root/superuser

some operating systems do not like you to login as root

  • Did you do this on Kali Linux as well? Which version?
    – Anthon
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 4:17
  • Am I able to log in to the terminal from the login screen? It prompts me for a password as soon as it starts up. I see the "Switch user" option, but still nothing like a terminal unless I'm just not seeing clearly.
    – J.W.F.
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 5:35
  • @Anthon: I am using 1.0.6 if I recall correctly.
    – J.W.F.
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 1:32
  • I would add that once you accomplish this then you can use the passwd command to make sure your passwords are what you think they are. Also you can use adduser
    – SDsolar
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 8:29

Are you by any chance using a non-US keyboard layout and non-alphanumeric characters in your password?

I tried installing Kali Linux 1.0.7 with a Finnish keyboard layout and a password that included the section sign (§). I ran into the problem you describe (incorrect password at login page) three times before reinstalling for the fourth time using an alphanumeric root password, which fixed the issue.

At a quick glance, this doesn't seem to be a known Debian bug, and right now I have no time to test if it applies there as well, so maybe it's specific to Kali Linux.

  • Sadly, no, I was using a standard US keyboard.
    – J.W.F.
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 14:54
  • You are really onto something here. And if you think THIS is bad, just wait until it happens to you at the BIOS level. Turns out that once you have set a startup password with one keyboard you can't count on other keyboards to be recognized, even if they are both US. I've recently had to hunt down the keyboard I used to set the password when I changed to a different one. Had I not been able to find it I would have had to use the motherboard jumper to make it reset the BIOS. But now I am stuck with that older keyboard until I find time to jumper it and reset it with the newer keyboard.
    – SDsolar
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 19:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .