Install Parallels Tools for Kali Linux on Apple M1

If you’re running Kali Linux via Parallels on an Apple M1 chip, this might help you install Parallels Tools. Parallels Tools is software for the guest OS that makes your life easier by allowing things like folder sharing and clipboard usage.

I did the following using the latest ISO, downloaded in May 2021.

Installing Parallels Tools

Kali Linux Headers

First, you need to make sure the Kali Linux headers are available for your kernel version. I’m no kernel nerd, so this is high level, but if you apt search $(uname -r) then hopefully you’ll get lucky and find packages that match. There should be no need to start adding sources to the package list.

Updating the Kernel (Optional)

If you are unlucky and no packages match (which happened to me), then you will need to update the kernel. In my case, uname -r showed my kernel was 5.10.0-kali3-arm64 but doing apt search linux-headers-5.10.0 showed me packages for linux-headers-5.10.0-kali7-arm64 (notice I was kali3, not kali7).

Like I said, I’m no kernel nerd - so I sudo apt update and sudo apt dist-upgrade then rebooted the machine and crossed my fingers.

Running the Install Script

When you start the Parallels VM, there will likely be a warning triangle in the top right of the application window prompting you to Install Parallels Tools. Click this to insert the Parallel Tools disk into the VM.

You need to remount the Parallels Tools disk in exec mode, so cd /media && sudo umount cdrom0. If the device is busy then you can unmount by right clicking the disk from the Kali desktop. Once it’s unmounted, sudo mount -o exec /dev/cdrom cdrom to mount again and make executable, cd cdrom and sudo ./install.

Running the install should now work!

Wrapping Up

I had to solve this after the installer told me to download the headers package manually, but this was impossible as headers for my kernel version did not exist.

After doing the above, I’m now able to share the clipboard and have Mac directories mounted in Kali. Screen resolution for the VM does not automatically change on window resize, but if I fullscreen the VM I can pick a new resolution from within Kali’s own Display settings and it works just fine.