I'm trying to boot Kali on a Mac from an external drive's partition (GUID Partition Map). The drive has 3 partitions, and I have data on the other 2 (that won't fit on my internal drive). I want bootable Kali on the 3rd one, without affecting the other 2.

I followed the instructions here, but I'm guessing that dd only works for entire drives (rather than partitions). I used dd … of=/dev/disk2s2 to targent a specific partition, and the command did something (the partition got wiped), but it was unmountable.

I also looked into Linux USB Builder, and unetBootin, but the former only detects the entire drive, and the latter not at all (presumably it has to be formatted FAT32).

Is there a way to do this?

  • 1
    So you want to have an external harddrive that has 3 partitions but only one of the partitions has kali on it that you can boot into. Jul 1, 2016 at 2:40
  • 1
    DD will also replace all the partitions on the drive so you should never 'dd if=file.iso of=/dev/sda1' because the iso already has a partition table. You can see it by doing an 'fdisk -l file.iso'. If you want kali linux running on a specific partition, you should follow their official guide and or manually mount the iso and copy it's contents from the squashfs image into the partition you wish to use but keep in mind your need to adjust kernel and bootloader to fit your setup.
    – likewhoa
    Jul 1, 2016 at 2:54
  • Yes, CitizenZero, that's exactly what I want to do. @likewhoa: the official guide is only for entire drives, it seems (that's the guide I linked in the question). I would welcome instructions to adjust the kernel/bootloader, if you think that will get me a bootable partition.
    – Khashir
    Jul 1, 2016 at 3:04
  • @Khashir have you tried selecting the 'manual' option during the installation section that deals with installing to disk? I assume you will be able to manually select the partition for kalinux to install to.
    – likewhoa
    Jul 1, 2016 at 3:11
  • @likewhoa: I haven't gotten to that point because I don't have installation media. Unless I'm missing something?
    – Khashir
    Jul 1, 2016 at 3:29

1 Answer 1


First use DD to make the usb bootable with kali. Then use gparted and use the remaining to create the other partitions on your device. Then, you should put boot flag on the partition with kali.

  • I thought of that, but dd will erase the data on the other two partitions =(.
    – Khashir
    Jul 5, 2016 at 17:09
  • If they are small copy them in a folder on your computer
    – LXGA
    Jul 6, 2016 at 5:02
  • No can do, as I stated in the question.
    – Khashir
    Jul 8, 2016 at 16:16

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