Kali Linux

How to Update Kernel on Kali Linux

How to Upgrade Kernel on Kali Linux

A Linux Kernel is the backbone of an operating system that works as a bridge between the software and hardware components of your system. An updated Kernel ensures compatibility with the latest hardware, latest software updates, bugs and crash fix that helps optimize your system security. The newer Kernel version also includes updated drivers for hardware like graphic processors, Wi-Fi cards and more. Thus, keeping your Linux Kernel updated is not just an option, it is necessary.

If you are using the Kali Linux system, you must update your system Kernel to protect your system from vulnerability and ensure updating the important performance improvement.

In this guide, you will learn:

How to Update Kernel on Kali Linux

Updating a Kernel on Kali Linux is a simple task, which can be done from the below-given steps:

Step 1: Check Kernel Version on Kali Linux

Before proceeding towards the update process, you should check your current Kernel version on Kali Linux from the following command:

uname -r

Step 2: Update System Packages

It is also mandatory to update your system packages on Kali Linux so that it will prepare the latest Kernel version from the repository. The packages on Kali Linux can be updated from the following command:

sudo apt update

While applying the update command, all the packages in the repository will be available for upgrade. You can quickly upgrade those packages on Kali Linux from the following upgrade command with -y flag for approval:

sudo apt upgrade -y

Though after the upgrade process, it may update the Kernel version, but it is recommended to perform additional steps to fully upgrade your system. This will help remove the conflicts between the packages that may cause issues with the latest Kernel version.

Step 3: Perform Full System Upgrade

It is a good approach to perform a full system upgrade so that all the dependencies, libraries associated with the packages are upgraded. This also includes removing packages that conflict with your latest Kernel version. You can perform full system upgrade on Kali Linux by running the below-given command:

sudo apt dist-upgrade && sudo apt full-upgrade -y

The dist-upgrade command handles the packages’ dependency in a smart way, as it removes dependency packages that are no longer required on the system or have conflicts with your system. Thus, this command streamlines your system and helps to free up disk space.

On the other hand, the full-upgrade command works similar to dist-upgrade, but it may remove packages that directly prevent the installation of a required update. So, it is better to use both these packages besides using the upgrade command to ensure updating the Kernel on Kali Linux, removing the conflicted packages and freeing up the disk space on the system.

Step 4: Reboot Kali Linux

Once the upgrade process is completed, reboot your Kali Linux system using the reboot command.

Step 5: Check Kernel Version

By default, the system will select the upgraded Kali Linux version on your system after the reboot. You can confirm the updated Kali Linux’s Kernel version by running the below-given command again:

uname -r

The above command ensures that the Kali Linux system is upgraded to the latest Kernel version.

How to Select a Specific Kernel Version for Kali Linux

While updating the Kernel on Kali Linux, your previous Kernel version will not be deleted from the system. You can enter the system with the previous Kernel version by selecting it from the GRUB menu using the following steps:

Step 1: First, run your Kali Linux system and select the Advanced options for Kali GNU/Linux from the GRUB Menu.

Step 2: Then choose the Kernel version you want to use for Kali Linux, once selected, press the Enter button to enter the system with the selected Kernel version.

Step 3: To ensure the system uses the selected Kernel on Kali Linux, you can run the below-given command:

uname -r

How to Install Kernel on Kali Linux from Apt Repository

Besides using the upgrade, dist-upgrade and full-upgrade commands to update the Kernel on Kali Linux system, you can also install it manually through the apt repository. This can be done from the steps given below:

Step 1: Update System Packages

Before installing Kernel on Kali Linux from apt repository, you should update repository using the following command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Step 2: Find the Latest Linux Kernel

Then execute the apt-cache search command followed by linux-image keyword to find the Kernel images in the default Kali Linux repository:

apt-cache search linux-image

From the above command, you will be able to see the updated Kernel version as well as the previous Kernel version installed on Kali Linux.

Note: Ensure selecting the Kernel version starting with the prefix linux_image_Ver-kali3-amd64.

Step 3: Install Latest Kernel Version on Kali Linux

After you find the latest Kernel version, you can install it on Kali Linux system from the below-given command:

sudo apt install linux_image_Ver-kali3-amd64

Note: You must replace the linux_image_Ver-kali3-amd64 in the above command with the Kernel version you want to install for the Kali Linux system. In my case, the latest version is 6.5.0, which can be installed from below command:

sudo apt install linux_image-6.5.0-kali3-amd64

After installing the Kernel, you can reboot the device and select the Kernel version you want to use through the GRUB menu. Once your system is booted, you can confirm the Kernel version again by using the uname -r command.


Updating your Kernel version on Kali Linux is an essential task for improving the system security and ensuring compatibility with the latest hardware. You can update Kernel on Kali Linux by first running the update command with sudo privileges to check for packages update. Then run the upgrade command to upgrade packages and Kernel on the Kali Linux system. You should also require running the dist-upgrade and full-upgrade commands to ensure upgrading the Kernel version and removing the conflicted packages. You will find how to update Kernel, switch to specific Kernel and install Kernel from apt repository in the above sections of this guide. Follow these methods to seamlessly run Kali Linux with an updated Kernel version.

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