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I am running Kali on a persistent USB (in a nvme enclosure) and it works fine. But when i do "passwd aUserName" log out and back in, the new password is used like it should. However when i reboot the the system the user needs to log in with the standard password again. Is there an explanation for this?


I installed Kali on a 128Gb USB using "rufus.ie". After installation I tested it by booting from it. After that I made a clone of the USB and wrote that to my external SSD using "partitionwizard.com". The system is a variant of live Linux, when I boot I always choose "Live system (persistence, check kali.org/prst)"

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    It sounds like persistence isn't setup correctly, or at least the file /etc/shadow isn't being persisted correctly. How did you install kali? Is it native on the drive, or setup as some sort of "live linux"? – Philip Couling Feb 2 at 13:57
  • I installed it on a 128Gb USB using "rufus.ie". After a successful installation I tested it (by booting from it) after that I made a clone of the USB and wrote that to my external SSD using "partitionwizard.com". The system is a variant of live Linux, when I boot I always choose "Live system (persistence, check kali.org/prst)". – Gerrit Feb 3 at 7:59
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Note that I have not used Rufus before and am not a Kali expert. However I have used very similar tools.

It sounds like persistence is not working and to get it working you will need to reinstall. I can see persistence is mentioned in two different ways:

  • Rufus has a persistence option

  • Kali has a persistence option

It's not immediately clear if these are expected to work together or if Kali's persistence is compatible with Rufus at all. The problem is that Rufus isn't just an imaging tool. It's unboxing the ISO image and building a system on a USB for you. Usually this involves packaging files into a read-only "casper" file. Typically Rufus Persistence would up a second partition partition and overlay this over the read-only file.

Kali's ISO is already an image of a bootable live-linux; it doesn't need to be unboxed and assembled by Rufus. Kali themselves recommend just flashing it to your USB with Etcher. I suspect the persistence option offered by Kali either need's Rufus persistence to be enabled or is completely incompatible with Rufus. I can't easily tell you which.


Your simplest option may be just to loop back around and use Etcher instead of Rufus.

Alternatively you might want to just install directly onto your SSD. Boot from your USB flash drive, plug in your SSD and select "Install" on Kali's boot menu. Warning: There's a risk when doing this that the installer will corrupt your main OS (Windows?). If at all possible you should unplug your main hard drive before proceeding to ensure Kali's installer cannot access it and corrupt it.

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