Guide: Kali Linux 2019 & 2018 Live USB with Persistence (Windows)

In this guide we will install Kali Linux 2019 Live USB (also works with Kali Linux 2018) and configure a persistent partition so we can retain files and setting between reboots.
If you want persistence with encryption, please see: Guide: Kali Linux 2019 & 2018 Live USB with Encrypted Persistence (Windows)

1. Write Kali Linux ISO to USB

UPDATE FEB 2019: Tested and working in both Kali Linux 2019 and Kali Linux 2018. Let us know in the comments if you have any issues.
Firstly, download the latest version of Kali Linux 2019, (guide also works with Kali Linux 2018) which will have the latest security updates and tools. In this guide we are using the Kali Linux 2019 64 Bit image, though it should work fine with the 32 Bit and Light images as well.
Write the ISO to your USB drive using a tool like Universal USB Installer or UNetbootin. In this guide we are using Universal USB Installer.

Run Universal USB Installer.

Step 1: Select Kali Linux from the dropdown menu. (Kali is listed under Security and Penetration Testing).
Step 2: Browse for the Kali Linux 2019 ISO you downloaded.
Step 3: Select your USB drive from the drowpdown menu.
Now select the checkbox Fat32 Format Drive (Erases Content).
Finally, click Create.
It may take a few minutes to write the ISO to USB. Once complete, continue to Step 2 to set up partitions.

2. Resize USB Partition

Now that your Kali Linux 2019 ISO has been written to your USB drive, we can begin setting up partitions to work with Kali Live Persistence. You can configure partitions with the partition manager of your choice, but in this guide we are going to use MiniTool Partition Wizard
Download and install MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition for Windows.
Once installed, run and select MiniTool Partition Wizard Free.

Right-click on the blue disk space bar of your USB drive and click Move/Resize. In the example below, the USB drive is Disk 3 and it has a blue USB icon over it.

Resize the partition to 4GB and click OK.

3. Create Persistence Partition

Right-click on the Unallocated partition and click Create.

Click Yes if you see a message “The new created partition cannot be used in Windows. Because Windows could only recognize the first partition on a removable disk. Do you want to continue?”
In the File System dropdown, select EXT4.
In the Partition Label field, enter persistence. It’s important that you spell this correctly.
Use the maximum partition size available and click OK.

Finally, click Apply in the top left-hand corner and click Yes to apply changes.

The Partition Wizard will now set up your partitions. This may take some time depending on the size of your USB drive.

Once done, close Partition Wizard and safely eject your USB drive.

4. Boot Into Kali 2019 Live USB

Once partitioning is complete, restart your machine and boot from USB.
You may need to do some searching on Google on how to boot from USB on your particular machine. Sometimes pressing Shift and the restart button in Windows will invoke a menu at bootup. If that doesn’t work, repeatedly pressing one of the function keys (F12F2, etc) or the ESC or Delete keys on bootup will invoke the boot or BIOS menus on most machines. 
In the Kali boot menu, select Live system (persistence, check kali.org/prst) and press Enter.
The menu may look different depending on your version of Kali.

If Kali prompts for login details, the default username is root and the password is toor.

5. Mount Persistence Partition

Once Kali has booted, we will use fdiskto view the disk devices and partitions.
Open a new terminal window and run:

fdisk -l

You will see several entries for partitions and devices listed. Look for your USB drive. It will have two partitions: A 4GB partition and a persistence partition you created earlier.

Device     Boot    Start       End   Sectors   Size Id Type /dev/sdb1           2048   8390655   8388608     4G  c W95 FAT32 (LBA) /dev/sdb2        8390656  30463999  22073344  10.5G 83 Linux

In the above example, we can see the USB drive with a 4GB partition and a larger persistence partition with the device name sdb2. This device name may be different on your setup. Make sure you have the right one before continuing.
Assuming our persistence partition device name is sdb2, run the following commands.
IMPORTANT: You must enter these commands exactly and ensure you choose the correct device (yours may not be sdb2), otherwise persistence will not work.

mkdir -p /mnt/my_usb
mount /dev/sdb2 /mnt/my_usb
echo "/ union" > /mnt/my_usb/persistence.conf
umount /dev/sdb2

We’re done! Restart the machine, boot from USB, and from now on always select Live system (persistence, check kali.org/prst)

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  1. Do not know how to delete unallocated space on hard drive in Windows 10/8/7? AOMEI Partition Assistant can help.

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  2. Users can get this bootable partition magic as long as they … click Bootable Media Builder in toolbar to choose an option to create bootable CD/DVD or bootable USB …

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