Parrot Security OS: How to Install It and What to Expect

parrot os desktop

The Parrot OS is a security-focused Linux distribution comparable to Kali OS. It is based on Debian Linux and, like many Linux distributions, is open-source and free to use. 

Parrot is designed to offer privacy, development, and security and is equipped with various digital security and forensics tools and libraries. It also features development tools and privacy protection tools.

While it comes with the MATE Desktop Environment by default, users can install other DEs if they prefer. 

In this post, we briefly discuss Parrot OS’s features and walk you through how to install it on your computer.

Brief History of Parrot OS

Lorenzo Faltra made the first public release of Parrot OS on 10th April 2013. He is currently the project’s core developer, team lead, and release and infrastructure manager. 

The Parrot OS was initially a part of a community forum named Frozenbox, which Faltra also created. With the OS having over 200,000 unique, active users, it is safe to say that the project has come a long way.

Parrot OS Editions and Features

Parrot OS comes in five different versions or “editions,” each of which has different features. Here’s an overview of the different features each version has to offer:

#1 Parrot 5.0 LTS Security Edition

The Security Edition of the OS is the full edition. It comes with a pentesting workstation fully equipped with over 600 tools ready to use. The creators recommend at least 4 GB of RAM to run this OS smoothly, and it can be installed on both desktops and laptops. 

The features included in this version include:

  • Complete office suite
  • VLC and GIMP
  • Tools such as TOR and a customized version of Firefox for anonymity
  • Complete disk encryption and all encryption tools
  • Several pentesting tools, including Rizin and Powersploit
  • VSCodium, Geany, and other development tools
  • Support for all major programming languages

As the feature list suggests, the version is designed for security experts, researchers, and students.

#2 Parrot 5.0 LTS Home Edition

The Home Edition of Parrot OS is the lightweight version and comes loaded with only the essentials. 

Unlike the Security Edition, no security tools are included in this version. However, it relies on the same repositories as the Security Edition and allows users to install the tools they need from the terminal. 

The Home Edition comes with the full office suite, VLC, GIMP, anonymity tools, full disk encryption, and a range of development tools to supplement the supported programming languages and frameworks.

This version is recommended for users familiar with pentesting distros who only require a minimal installation. It is intended for Linux users, developers, administrators, and students. 

#3 Parrot 5.0 LTS Cloud Edition

The Cloud Edition is a special edition of the Parrot OS designed for embedded devices, virtual machines, cloud environments, and other deployments. This version also comes with Docker images, allowing users to use the OS on top of other OSs.

There is also a HackTheBox edition of the Parrot OS that is entirely web-based and offers everything a hacker’s OS should have. 

#4 Parrot 5.0 LTS Architect Edition

The Architect Edition is for experts that want to create a custom version of the Parrot OS. This version of the OS does not come with any software or DE. It is roughly 330 MB in size, with the distro available for amd64, i386, and arm64 architectures.

The Architect Edition is “ready for any context,” meaning you can install any software, utilities, and desktop environment of your choice after installation. 

Although users can install the core system without an internet connection, the computer needs an internet connection or a local mirror to install the full desktop system. Many prefer installing this version of Parrot OS on servers.

How to Install Parrot OS 

 You can install Parrot OS Security and Home editions by following these steps:

Step #1: Ensure Your Machine Meets the Requirements

Parrot OS requires 16 GB of space on the disk and a minimum of 256 MB RAM on an i386 architecture system. If you have an amd64 system, it will need a minimum of 320 MB RAM to run Parrot OS.

The OS supports a range of platforms, and besides installing or dual-booting on a Windows computer, you can also install it on a Raspberry Pi and in Virtualbox or VMware. You can find the ISO files on the official download page

Note: You can also find an Open Virtualization image of the OS on the official download page. You do not need to install it; you can import the OVF file and use the OS. The hybrid ISO of the OS on the download page can be used for a hardware install.

Download the Home or Security edition file according to your requirements, and you will be ready to make a bootable USB.

Step #2: Make a Bootable USB 

Get a USB drive with at least 4 GB of storage, and use Rufus or the Win32DiskImager Utility on Windows to burn the file onto the drive.

If you’re using Linux, you can burn the image on the drive using Etcher or dd.

Regardless of which OS and tool you are using, burning the image to the disk typically involves selecting the drive and the ISO file and letting the tool burn the image. The process takes a few minutes. 

Step #3: Complete the Installation Procedure

Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to install Parrot OS:

  1. Shut down your computer. 
  2. Access the boot menu by pressing the key designated by the computer manufacturer. 
  3. Choose the bootable USB drive as the boot drive.
  4. The Parrot OS boot screen will appear. Navigate to “Install” and select “Graphical Install.”
  5. Select the installation language in the menu.
  6. Select your time zone.
  7. Choose your preferred keyboard layout.
  8. A form will appear asking for the account details for your user account on Parrot OS. Enter your name, username, and password. 
  9. The installer will begin partitioning the disk. If you want a single boot install, pick the “Guided – use entire disk” option. But if you want to partition your disks manually per your preference, choose “Manual.” Select the “Guided – use the largest continuous space” option for a dual boot install with Windows or other OS. 
  10. The installation will begin – wait a few minutes for the process to finish.
  11. Next, the installer will prompt you to install the GRUB boot loader to the MBR. Click “Yes.”
  12. Select the drive you want to install the boot loader to. Typically, it is installed in the “/dev/sda” partition.
  13. After some time, the installer will prompt you to remove the USB drive. You can then reboot your computer and use Parrot OS.