I found a solution: after the installer demands the CD-ROM, take the USB out of the port and then reinsert it. Scan again for the CD-ROM and the USB drive will be recognized. The installation then continued without problems.

I am unable to install Kali 2016.2 using a USB. The installation demands a CD-ROM. This cannot be right... Right?

EDIT: Kali Linux 64 bit (25cc6d53a8bd8886fcb468eb4fbb4cdfac895c65) ISO used together with Universal-USB-Installer-

I am using a separate SSD installed in a DVD-drive caddy, and I would like to install Kali on this drive. This is because I want to continue to have the option to use Windows on this laptop, but I do not want to lose space by creating a partition. So I do not have a free CD-ROM drive to install with unless I take out the primary internal drive and this seems like a lot of faffing about to do at 5am when a USB boot would be so much more convenient.

I boot from the USB and choose the option to perform a graphical installation. However, less than a minute into the installation process, I am told I need a CDROM to continue installation. No CDROM is found since it is a caddy, and so I have to abort the installation.

Is there any way to work around this so that I can have a separate caddy SSD with Kali?

UPDATE: I have tried running the installation from the USB as a non graphical install; I get the same error. It reads:

'Your installation CD-ROM couldn't be mounted. This probably means the CD-ROM was not in the drive. If so you can insert it and try again.'

Insert CD-ROM error

Surely I should be able to easily install from a USB in 2016 - half of notebooks these days do not even have CD drives. What am I doing wrong??


USB and CD/DVD use different filesystem standards, thus you need to format your ISO for the correct storage medium. If you dd or copy a CD/DVD ISO image to your USB, it may not work. You can get around this by using the ISO hybrid command. Try these steps.

0) isohybrid /path/to/image.iso

1) plug your USB device in

2) find the device your USB shows up as (/dev/sd{a,b,...}. You can use the df -h command for this

3) unmount your USB drive umount /dev/sd{a,b,...}

4) write the ISO to your USB device dd if=/path/to/image.iso of=/dev/sd{a,b,...} bs=4M

5) your ISO should now be bootable on on your USB.

  • Good to know. I used the standard Linux Universal USB installer, so I assumed it would format it correctly for USB boot. Apparently not in this case. In the end I solved the problem by downloading the "Kali Linux 64 bit Mate" from kali.org/downloads instead of the generic "Kali Linux 64 bit" ISO, but I will try your suggestion next time I want to install from a USB. – Matthew Oct 9 '16 at 5:01
  • 1
    Afaik Ubuntu (and probably derived distributions) are using already a hybrid iso since around 5 years. So simply dd-ing the .iso into an usb block device it will be bootable. – peterh says reinstate Monica Mar 20 at 14:41
  • The current Debian iso files are also hybrid iso files (and should not be treated once more with isohybrid). -- It works with dd, but it is risky, because it does what you tell it to do without any question. I would recommend a tool with a final checkpoint, where you can double-check, that you will write to the correct device, for example Disks alias gnome-disks or mkusb and in Windows Win32 Disk Imager – sudodus Mar 20 at 16:25

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