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How To install BackTrack3

I decided to install BackTrack on my hard disk instead of running it from the Live CD and since it didn’t end up being a straight-forward procedure I am writing this post to document how I did it. I have to give credit to this guy whose own documentation I actually followed and helped me greatly to avoid all the trouble he went into. However I felt the need to write my own HowTo since some of the things he described did not work for me (because my case was somehow different from his, more explanations later) so I had to come up with other solutions. Therefore my aim is to describe the whole process as it worked for me in order to keep it as future reference for myself. If it so happens to help anyone else then that’s great however I cannot guarantee it, even if someone has an identical setup on his PC to mine. I hope I don’t need to mention that you if you follow these instructions you are doing so at your OWN RISK and you take FULL RESPONSIBILITY of what happens to your system. Installing a Linux distribution by hand is never an easy task and a whole lot of things can go wrong in the process.

I got to mention here that I have created in the past a partition for testing purposes of any linux distribution that I find interesting so this time I did not have to create the partitions from scratch, instead I used the ones I already had to replace another Linux distribution with Backtrack. In order to create the partitions you need you can either check the original document or look somewhere else on how to do it. I will suppose you have the necessary partitions ready from here on. Let me note also that apart from the ‘dummy’ linux partition used for testing purposes, I also have an Ubuntu Linux partition running which I use as my main system as well as a FAT32 partition with Windows XP. As a result, I have already installed GRUB on the Master Boot Record and I get something like the following screen when I boot my machine:

1.Ubuntu 7.10

2.Dummy Linux Distro


Therefore when I finish this document I will not describe how to set your boot loader from windows but I will describe what to add on the GRUB menu list to allow you to boot BackTrack. For a WindowsXP based solution look here.


Ok so, enough talking, time for action!

1. I logged in with the Live CD as root and I went to /mnt/sda6 (which is the partition where my old linux distro was sitting idle, it can be anything for you) and I deleted the whole system by typing:

$ rm -fr *

2. then I created the necessary folders by typing

$ cp –preserve -R /{bin,dev,etc,home,lib,root,sbin,usr,var,opt,pentest} .

(notice the dot (.) at the end to indicate the current directory (/mnt/sda6)). This process takes quite some time, so go have a coffee or read a book or wait patiently ( and I mean really! patiently).

3. When this finished I typed:

$ mkdir /mnt/sda6/{boot,mnt,proc,sys,tmp}

4. Then I typed:

$cp /boot/vmlinuz boot/ (note I was already in /mnt/sda6 so I didn’t have to give the full path to /boot)

Here I am copying ‘vmlinuz’ from the Live CD’s /boot folder to the harddisk’s /mnt/sda6/boot folder where my Backtrack system resides. Until here I the instructions are almost identical to the original author’s HowTo which I myself followed. However after this step I stumbled upon some things that I had to do differently. I will only described my actions and will not talk about what I did instead of what the other HowTo said because it is unnecessary.

5. Then I also copied the “initrd.gz” to the /boot folder by typing

$ cp /boot/initrd.gz /boot

6. The next step is to either install grub or as in my case to edit the current grub list to reflect the new system. Currently my grub installation resides in my Ubuntu partition so I moved there to edit the “menu.lst”

$ cd /mnt/sda3/boot/grub

7. Then I typed

$ vi menu.lst

which is the file where grub loads the initial screen that you see when power on your PC.

8. Then I added the following lines to the menu.lst file:

title Slax
root (hd0,5)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz max_loop=255 root=/dev/sda6 vga=791 ro
initrd /boot/initrd.gz

I saved the file and exited.

At this point I restarted the machine but it failed booting with the message

BT3 Data not found. This should not happen, press ctrl+alt+del to reboot”

It also gave me a hint about copying the BT3 folder to my windows drive in order to hopefully solve the problem.

So I went back into the LiveCD and started looking for this BT3 folder. If you boot from the Live CD the folder seems hidden under /mnt/live/dos/, but if you read the CD as a normal cd from wither windows or another linux distribution you will find it at the root directory. Then you need to copy it under the windows c:/ directory or /mnt/sda2 in my case (since i was doing it from the live cd environment) and then reboot. After this it all worked fine for me and I am actually writting this post from my newly installed Backtrack system!

As I said this document is mainly for my own future reference so I don’t intend to write down all the possible ways of doing this installation, but only document my own way of doing it. Check with the original document for further help and especially if you are a windows only user or don’t already have two Linux partitions on your system as I did.

One response to “How To install BackTrack3

  1. bloodyidiot June 16, 2010 at 7:38 am

    IN XP LIVE CD FAILED ! ! ! !

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