According to the QEMU about page, "QEMU is a generic and open source machine emulator and virtualizer."

When used as a machine emulator, QEMU can run OSes and programs made for one machine (e.g. an ARM board) on a different machine (e.g. your x86 PC). By using dynamic translation, it achieves very good performance.

QEMU can use other hypervisors like Xen or KVM to use CPU extensions (HVM) for virtualization. When used as a virtualizer, QEMU achieves near native performances by executing the guest code directly on the host CPU.


Install the qemu-full package (or qemu-base for the version without GUI) and below optional packages for your needs:

Alternatively, exists as a usermode and static variant.

QEMU variants

QEMU is offered in several variants suited for different use cases.

As a first classification, QEMU is offered in full-system and usermode emulation modes:

Full-system emulation
In this mode, QEMU emulates a full system, including one or several processors and various peripherals. It is more accurate but slower, and does not require the emulated OS to be Linux.
QEMU commands for full-system emulation are named , e.g. for emulating intel 64-bit CPUs, for intel 32 bits CPUs, qemu-system-arm for ARM (32 bits), qemu-system-aarch64 for ARM64, etc.
If the target architecture matches the host CPU, this mode may still benefit from a significant speedup by using a hypervisor like KVM or Xen.
Usermode emulation
In this mode, QEMU is able to invoke a Linux executable compiled for a (potentially) different architecture by leveraging the host system resources. There may be compatibility issues, e.g. some features may not be implemented, dynamically linked executables will not work out of the box (see #Chrooting into arm/arm64 environment from x86_64 to address this) and only Linux is supported (although Wine may be used for running Windows executables).
QEMU commands for usermode emulation are named , e.g. for emulating intel 64-bit CPUs.

QEMU is offered in dynamically-linked and statically-linked variants:

Dynamically-linked (default)
commands depend on the host OS libraries, so executables are smaller.
commands can be copied to any Linux system with the same architecture.

In the case of Arch Linux, full-system emulation is offered as:

Non-headless (default)
This variant enables GUI features that require additional dependencies (like SDL or GTK).
This is a slimmer variant that does not require GUI (this is suitable e.g. for servers).

Note that headless and non-headless versions install commands with the same name (e.g. ) and thus cannot be both installed at the same time.

Details on packages available in Arch Linux

  • The package provides the architecture emulators for full-system emulation (). The package provides the usermode variant () and also for the rest of supported architectures it includes both full-system and usermode variants (e.g. qemu-system-arm and ).
  • The headless versions of these packages (only applicable to full-system emulation) are qemu-base (-only) and (rest of architectures).
  • Full-system emulation can be expanded with some QEMU modules present in separate packages: qemu-block-gluster, qemu-block-iscsi and .
  • provides a usermode and static variant for all target architectures supported by QEMU. The installed QEMU commands are named , for example, qemu-x86_64-static for intel 64-bit CPUs.
Note: At present, Arch does not offer a full-system mode and statically linked variant (neither officially nor via AUR), as this is usually not needed.

Graphical front-ends for QEMU

Unlike other virtualization programs such as VirtualBox and VMware, QEMU does not provide a GUI to manage virtual machines (other than the window that appears when running a virtual machine), nor does it provide a way to create persistent virtual machines with saved settings. All parameters to run a virtual machine must be specified on the command line at every launch, unless you have created a custom script to start your virtual machine(s).

Libvirt provides a convenient way to manage QEMU virtual machines. See list of libvirt clients for available front-ends.

Other GUI front-ends for QEMU:

    Creating new virtualized system

    Creating a hard disk image

    To run QEMU you will need a hard disk image, unless you are booting a live system from CD-ROM or the network (and not doing so to install an operating system to a hard disk image). A hard disk image is a file which stores the contents of the emulated hard disk.

    A hard disk image can be raw, so that it is literally byte-by-byte the same as what the guest sees, and will always use the full capacity of the guest hard drive on the host. This method provides the least I/O overhead, but can waste a lot of space, as not-used space on the guest cannot be used on the host.

    Alternatively, the hard disk image can be in a format such as qcow2 which only allocates space to the image file when the guest operating system actually writes to those sectors on its virtual hard disk. The image appears as the full size to the guest operating system, even though it may take up only a very small amount of space on the host system. This image format also supports QEMU snapshotting functionality (see #Creating and managing snapshots via the monitor console for details). However, using this format instead of raw will likely affect performance.

    QEMU provides the command to create hard disk images. For example to create a 4 GiB image in the raw format:

    $ qemu-img create -f raw image_file 4G

    You may use to create a qcow2 disk instead.

    Overlay storage images

    You can create a storage image once (the 'backing' image) and have QEMU keep mutations to this image in an overlay image. This allows you to revert to a previous state of this storage image. You could revert by creating a new overlay image at the time you wish to revert, based on the original backing image.

    To create an overlay image, issue a command like:

    $ qemu-img create -o backing_file=img1.raw,backing_fmt=raw -f qcow2 img1.cow

    After that you can run your QEMU VM as usual (see #Running virtualized system):

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 img1.cow

    The backing image will then be left intact and mutations to this storage will be recorded in the overlay image file.

    When the path to the backing image changes, repair is required.

    Make sure that the original backing image's path still leads to this image. If necessary, make a symbolic link at the original path to the new path. Then issue a command like:

    $ qemu-img rebase -b /new/img1.raw /new/img1.cow

    At your discretion, you may alternatively perform an 'unsafe' rebase where the old path to the backing image is not checked:

    $ qemu-img rebase -u -b /new/img1.raw /new/img1.cow

    Resizing an image

    Warning: Resizing an image containing an NTFS boot file system could make the operating system installed on it unbootable. It is recommended to create a backup first.

    The executable has the resize option, which enables easy resizing of a hard drive image. It works for both raw and qcow2. For example, to increase image space by 10 GiB, run:

    $ qemu-img resize disk_image +10G

    After enlarging the disk image, you must use file system and partitioning tools inside the virtual machine to actually begin using the new space. When shrinking a disk image, you must first reduce the allocated file systems and partition sizes using the file system and partitioning tools inside the virtual machine and then shrink the disk image accordingly, otherwise shrinking the disk image will result in data loss! For a Windows guest, open the "create and format hard disk partitions" control panel.

    Converting an image

    You can convert an image to other formats using . This example shows how to convert a raw image to qcow2:

    $ qemu-img convert -f raw -O qcow2 input.img output.qcow2

    This will not remove the original input file.

    Preparing the installation media

    To install an operating system into your disk image, you need the installation medium (e.g. optical disk, USB-drive, or ISO image) for the operating system. The installation medium should not be mounted because QEMU accesses the media directly.

    Installing the operating system

    This is the first time you will need to start the emulator. To install the operating system on the disk image, you must attach both the disk image and the installation media to the virtual machine, and have it boot from the installation media.

    For example on i386 guests, to install from a bootable ISO file as CD-ROM and a raw disk image:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -cdrom iso_image -boot order=d -drive file=disk_image,format=raw

    See for more information about loading other media types (such as floppy, disk images or physical drives) and #Running virtualized system for other useful options.

    After the operating system has finished installing, the QEMU image can be booted directly (see #Running virtualized system).

    Running virtualized system

    binaries (for example  or , depending on guest's architecture) are used to run the virtualized guest. The usage is:
    $ qemu-system-x86_64 options disk_image

    Options are the same for all binaries, see for documentation of all options.

    By default, QEMU will show the virtual machine's video output in a window. One thing to keep in mind: when you click inside the QEMU window, the mouse pointer is grabbed. To release it, press .

    Enabling KVM

    KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) full virtualization must be supported by your Linux kernel and your hardware, and necessary kernel modules must be loaded. See KVM for more information.

    To start QEMU in KVM mode, append to the additional start options. To check if KVM is enabled for a running VM, enter the #QEMU monitor and type info kvm.

    Enabling IOMMU (Intel VT-d/AMD-Vi) support

    First enable IOMMU, see PCI passthrough via OVMF#Setting up IOMMU.

    Add to create the IOMMU device:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -enable-kvm -machine q35 -device intel-iommu -cpu host ..

    Booting in UEFI mode

    The default firmware used by QEMU is SeaBIOS, which is a Legacy BIOS implementation. QEMU uses /usr/share/qemu/bios-256k.bin (provided by the package) as a default read-only (ROM) image. You can use the argument to select another firmware file. However, UEFI requires writable memory to work properly, so you need to emulate PC System Flash instead.

    OVMF is a TianoCore project to enable UEFI support for Virtual Machines. It can be installed with the package.

    There are two ways to use OVMF as a firmware. The first is to copy , make it writable and use as a pflash drive:

    -drive if=pflash,format=raw,file=/copy/of/OVMF.fd

    All changes to the UEFI settings will be saved directly to this file.

    Another and more preferable way is to split OVMF into two files. The first one will be read-only and store the firmware executable, and the second one will be used as a writable variable store. The advantage is that you can use the firmware file directly without copying, so it will be updated automatically by pacman.

    Use as a first read-only pflash drive. Copy /usr/share/edk2-ovmf/x64/OVMF_VARS.fd, make it writable and use as a second writable pflash drive:

    -drive if=pflash,format=raw,readonly=on,file=/usr/share/edk2-ovmf/x64/OVMF_CODE.fd \
    -drive if=pflash,format=raw,file=/copy/of/OVMF_VARS.fd

    Trusted Platform Module emulation

    QEMU can emulate Trusted Platform Module, which is required by some systems such as Windows 11.

    Install the package, which provides a software TPM implementation. Create some directory for storing TPM data ( will be used as an example). Run this command to start the emulator:

    $ swtpm socket --tpm2 --tpmstate dir=/path/to/mytpm --ctrl type=unixio,path=/path/to/mytpm/swtpm-sock
    will be created by swtpm: this is a UNIX socket to which QEMU will connect. You can put it in any directory.

    By default, swtpm starts a TPM version 1.2 emulator. The option enables TPM 2.0 emulation.

    Finally, add the following options to QEMU:

    -chardev socket,id=chrtpm,path=/path/to/mytpm/swtpm-sock \
    -tpmdev emulator,id=tpm0,chardev=chrtpm \
    -device tpm-tis,tpmdev=tpm0

    and TPM will be available inside the VM. After shutting down the VM, swtpm will be automatically terminated.

    See the QEMU documentation for more information.

    Sharing data between host and guest


    Data can be shared between the host and guest OS using any network protocol that can transfer files, such as NFS, SMB, NBD, HTTP, FTP, or SSH, provided that you have set up the network appropriately and enabled the appropriate services.

    The default user-mode networking allows the guest to access the host OS at the IP address Any servers that you are running on your host OS, such as a SSH server or SMB server, will be accessible at this IP address. So on the guests, you can mount directories exported on the host via SMB or NFS, or you can access the host's HTTP server, etc. It will not be possible for the host OS to access servers running on the guest OS, but this can be done with other network configurations (see #Tap networking with QEMU).

    QEMU's port forwarding

    QEMU can forward ports from the host to the guest to enable e.g. connecting from the host to an SSH server running on the guest.

    For example, to bind port 60022 on the host with port 22 (SSH) on the guest, start QEMU with a command like:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 disk_image -nic user,hostfwd=tcp::60022-:22

    Make sure the sshd is running on the guest and connect with:

    $ ssh guest-user@ -p 60022

    You can use SSHFS to mount the guest's file system at the host for shared read and write access.

    To forward several ports, you just repeat the in the argument, e.g. for VNC's port:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 disk_image -nic user,hostfwd=tcp::60022-:22,hostfwd=tcp::5900-:5900

    QEMU's built-in SMB server

    QEMU's documentation says it has a "built-in" SMB server, but actually it just starts up Samba on the host with an automatically generated smb.conf file located in and makes it accessible to the guest at a different IP address ( by default). This only works for user networking, and is useful when you do not want to start the normal Samba service on the host, which the guest can also access if you have set up shares on it.

    Only a single directory can be set as shared with the option smb=, but adding more directories (even while the virtual machine is running) could be as easy as creating symbolic links in the shared directory if QEMU configured SMB to follow symbolic links. It does not do so, but the configuration of the running SMB server can be changed as described below.

    Samba must be installed on the host. To enable this feature, start QEMU with a command like:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -nic user,id=nic0,smb=shared_dir_path disk_image

    where is a directory that you want to share between the guest and host.

    Then, in the guest, you will be able to access the shared directory on the host with the share name "qemu". For example, in Windows Explorer you would go to .

    One way to share multiple directories and to add or remove them while the virtual machine is running, is to share an empty directory and create/remove symbolic links to the directories in the shared directory. For this to work, the configuration of the running SMB server can be changed with the following script, which also allows the execution of files on the guest that are not set executable on the host:

    eval $(ps h -C smbd -o pid,args | grep /tmp/qemu-smb | gawk '{print "pid="$1";conf="$6}')
    echo "[global]
    allow insecure wide links = yes
    follow symlinks = yes
    wide links = yes
    acl allow execute always = yes" >> "$conf"
    # in case the change is not detected automatically:
    smbcontrol --configfile="$conf" "$pid" reload-config

    This can be applied to the running server started by qemu only after the guest has connected to the network drive the first time. An alternative to this method is to add additional shares to the configuration file like so:

    echo "[myshare]
    read only=no
    guest ok=yes
    force user=username" >> $conf

    This share will be available on the guest as .

    Using filesystem passthrough and VirtFS

    See the QEMU documentation.

    Host file sharing with virtiofsd

    virtiofsd is shipped with QEMU package. Documentation is available online or on local file system with QEMU installed.

    Add user that runs qemu to 'kvm' group, because it needs to access virtiofsd socket. You might have to logout for change to take effect.

    Start as virtiofsd as root:

    # /usr/lib/qemu/virtiofsd --socket-path=/var/run/qemu-vm-001.sock -o source=/tmp/vm-001 -o cache=always


    • is a socket file,
    • /tmp/vm-001 is a shared directory between host and guest vm.

    The created socket file has root only access permission. Give group kvm access to it with:

    # chgrp kvm qemu-vm-001.sock; chmod g+rxw qemu-vm-001.sock

    Add the following configuration options when starting VM:

    -object memory-backend-memfd,id=mem,size=4G,share=on \
    -numa node,memdev=mem \
    -chardev socket,id=char0,path=/var/run/qemu-vm-001.sock \
    -device vhost-user-fs-pci,chardev=char0,tag=myfs


    • shall match size specified with option,
    • points to socket file started earlier,

    Remember, that guest must be configured to enable sharing. For windows there are instructions. Once configured, windows will have Z: drive mapped automatically with shared directory content.

    Your Windows 10 guest system is properly configured if it has:

    • VirtioFSSService windows service,
    • WinFsp.Launcher windows service,
    • VirtIO FS Device driver under "System devices" in Windows "Device Manager".

    If the above installed and drive is still not listed, try repairing "Virtio-win-guest-tools" in Windows add/remove programs.

    Mounting a partition of the guest on the host

    It can be useful to mount a drive image under the host system, it can be a way to transfer files in and out of the guest. This should be done when the virtual machine is not running.

    The procedure to mount the drive on the host depends on the type of qemu image, raw or qcow2. We detail thereafter the steps to mount a drive in the two formats in #Mounting a partition from a raw image and #Mounting a partition from a qcow2 image. For the full documentation see Wikibooks:QEMU/Images#Mounting an image on the host.

    Mounting a partition from a raw image

    It is possible to mount partitions that are inside a raw disk image file by setting them up as loopback devices.

    With manually specifying byte offset

    One way to mount a disk image partition is to mount the disk image at a certain offset using a command like the following:

    # mount -o loop,offset=32256 disk_image mountpoint

    The option is actually passed to the program to set up a loopback device that starts at byte offset 32256 of the file and continues to the end. This loopback device is then mounted. You may also use the option to specify the exact size of the partition, but this is usually unnecessary.

    Depending on your disk image, the needed partition may not start at offset 32256. Run to see the partitions in the image. fdisk gives the start and end offsets in 512-byte sectors, so multiply by 512 to get the correct offset to pass to mount.

    With loop module autodetecting partitions

    The Linux loop driver actually supports partitions in loopback devices, but it is disabled by default. To enable it, do the following:

    • Get rid of all your loopback devices (unmount all mounted images, etc.).
    • Unload the loop kernel module, and load it with the parameter set. Additionally, the maximum number of loop devices can be controlled with the parameter.

    Set up your image as a loopback device:

    # losetup -f -P disk_image

    Then, if the device created was , additional devices will have been automatically created, where X is the number of the partition. These partition loopback devices can be mounted directly. For example:

    # mount /dev/loop0p1 mountpoint

    To mount the disk image with udisksctl, see Udisks#Mount loop devices.

    With kpartx

    kpartx from the package can read a partition table on a device and create a new device for each partition. For example:

    # kpartx -a disk_image

    This will setup the loopback device and create the necessary partition(s) device(s) in .

    Mounting a partition from a qcow2 image

    We will use , which lets use the NBD (network block device) protocol to share the disk image.

    First, we need the nbd module loaded:

    # modprobe nbd max_part=16

    Then, we can share the disk and create the device entries:

    # qemu-nbd -c /dev/nbd0 /path/to/image.qcow2

    Discover the partitions:

    # partprobe /dev/nbd0

    fdisk can be used to get information regarding the different partitions in nbd0:

    Then mount any partition of the drive image, for example the partition 2:

    # mount /dev/nbd0p2 mountpoint

    After the usage, it is important to unmount the image and reverse previous steps, i.e. unmount the partition and disconnect the nbd device:

    # umount mountpoint
    # qemu-nbd -d /dev/nbd0

    Using any real partition as the single primary partition of a hard disk image

    Sometimes, you may wish to use one of your system partitions from within QEMU. Using a raw partition for a virtual machine will improve performance, as the read and write operations do not go through the file system layer on the physical host. Such a partition also provides a way to share data between the host and guest.

    In Arch Linux, device files for raw partitions are, by default, owned by root and the disk group. If you would like to have a non-root user be able to read and write to a raw partition, you must either change the owner of the partition's device file to that user, add that user to the disk group, or use ACL for more fine-grained access control.

    After doing so, you can attach the partition to a QEMU virtual machine as a virtual disk.

    However, things are a little more complicated if you want to have the entire virtual machine contained in a partition. In that case, there would be no disk image file to actually boot the virtual machine since you cannot install a bootloader to a partition that is itself formatted as a file system and not as a partitioned device with an MBR. Such a virtual machine can be booted either by: #Specifying kernel and initrd manually, #Simulating a virtual disk with MBR, #Using the device-mapper, #Using a linear RAID or #Using a Network Block Device.

    Specifying kernel and initrd manually

    QEMU supports loading Linux kernels and init ramdisks directly, thereby circumventing bootloaders such as GRUB. It then can be launched with the physical partition containing the root file system as the virtual disk, which will not appear to be partitioned. This is done by issuing a command similar to the following:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -kernel /boot/vmlinuz-linux -initrd /boot/initramfs-linux.img -append root=/dev/sda /dev/sda3

    In the above example, the physical partition being used for the guest's root file system is /dev/sda3 on the host, but it shows up as on the guest.

    You may, of course, specify any kernel and initrd that you want, and not just the ones that come with Arch Linux.

    When there are multiple kernel parameters to be passed to the option, they need to be quoted using single or double quotes. For example:

    ... -append 'root=/dev/sda1 console=ttyS0'

    Simulating a virtual disk with MBR

    A more complicated way to have a virtual machine use a physical partition, while keeping that partition formatted as a file system and not just having the guest partition the partition as if it were a disk, is to simulate an MBR for it so that it can boot using a bootloader such as GRUB.

    For the following, suppose you have a plain, unmounted partition with some file system on it you wish to make part of a QEMU disk image. The trick is to dynamically prepend a master boot record (MBR) to the real partition you wish to embed in a QEMU raw disk image. More generally, the partition can be any part of a larger simulated disk, in particular a block device that simulates the original physical disk but only exposes to the virtual machine.

    A virtual disk of this type can be represented by a VMDK file that contains references to (a copy of) the MBR and the partition, but QEMU does not support this VMDK format. For instance, a virtual disk created by

    $ VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename /path/to/file.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/hda

    will be rejected by QEMU with the error message

    Unsupported image type 'partitionedDevice'

    Note that creates two files, and file-pt.vmdk, the latter being a copy of the MBR, to which the text file points. Read operations outside the target partition or the MBR would give zeros, while written data would be discarded.

    Using the device-mapper

    A method that is similar to the use of a VMDK descriptor file uses the device-mapper to prepend a loop device attached to the MBR file to the target partition. In case we do not need our virtual disk to have the same size as the original, we first create a file to hold the MBR:

    $ dd if=/dev/zero of=/path/to/mbr count=2048

    Here, a 1 MiB (2048 * 512 bytes) file is created in accordance with partition alignment policies used by modern disk partitioning tools. For compatibility with older partitioning software, 63 sectors instead of 2048 might be required. The MBR only needs a single 512 bytes block, the additional free space can be used for a BIOS boot partition and, in the case of a hybrid partitioning scheme, for a GUID Partition Table. Then, we attach a loop device to the MBR file:

    # losetup --show -f /path/to/mbr

    In this example, the resulting device is . The device mapper is now used to join the MBR and the partition:

    # echo "0 2048 linear /dev/loop0 0
    2048 `blockdev --getsz /dev/hdaN` linear /dev/hdaN 0" | dmsetup create qemu

    The resulting is what we will use as a QEMU raw disk image. Additional steps are required to create a partition table (see the section that describes the use of a linear RAID for an example) and boot loader code on the virtual disk (which will be stored in ).

    The following setup is an example where the position of on the virtual disk is to be the same as on the physical disk and the rest of the disk is hidden, except for the MBR, which is provided as a copy:

    # dd if=/dev/hda count=1 of=/path/to/mbr
    # loop=`losetup --show -f /path/to/mbr`
    # start=`blockdev --report /dev/hdaN | tail -1 | awk '{print $5}'`
    # size=`blockdev --getsz /dev/hdaN`
    # disksize=`blockdev --getsz /dev/hda`
    # echo "0 1 linear $loop 0
    1 $((start-1)) zero
    $start $size linear /dev/hdaN 0
    $((start+size)) $((disksize-start-size)) zero" | dmsetup create qemu

    The table provided as standard input to has a similar format as the table in a VDMK descriptor file produced by and can alternatively be loaded from a file with . To the virtual machine, only is accessible, while the rest of the hard disk reads as zeros and discards written data, except for the first sector. We can print the table for with dmsetup table qemu (use to translate to the corresponding name). Use and losetup -d $loop to delete the created devices.

    A situation where this example would be useful is an existing Windows XP installation in a multi-boot configuration and maybe a hybrid partitioning scheme (on the physical hardware, Windows XP could be the only operating system that uses the MBR partition table, while more modern operating systems installed on the same computer could use the GUID Partition Table). Windows XP supports hardware profiles, so that that the same installation can be used with different hardware configurations alternatingly (in this case bare metal vs. virtual) with Windows needing to install drivers for newly detected hardware only once for every profile. Note that in this example the boot loader code in the copied MBR needs to be updated to directly load Windows XP from instead of trying to start the multi-boot capable boot loader (like GRUB) present in the original system. Alternatively, a copy of the boot partition containing the boot loader installation can be included in the virtual disk the same way as the MBR.

    Using a linear RAID

    You can also do this using software RAID in linear mode (you need the kernel driver) and a loopback device:

    First, you create some small file to hold the MBR:

    $ dd if=/dev/zero of=/path/to/mbr count=32

    Here, a 16 KiB (32 * 512 bytes) file is created. It is important not to make it too small (even if the MBR only needs a single 512 bytes block), since the smaller it will be, the smaller the chunk size of the software RAID device will have to be, which could have an impact on performance. Then, you setup a loopback device to the MBR file:

    # losetup -f /path/to/mbr

    Let us assume the resulting device is , because we would not already have been using other loopbacks. Next step is to create the "merged" MBR + disk image using software RAID:

    # modprobe linear
    # mdadm --build --verbose /dev/md0 --chunk=16 --level=linear --raid-devices=2 /dev/loop0 /dev/hdaN

    The resulting is what you will use as a QEMU raw disk image (do not forget to set the permissions so that the emulator can access it). The last (and somewhat tricky) step is to set the disk configuration (disk geometry and partitions table) so that the primary partition start point in the MBR matches the one of inside (an offset of exactly 16 * 512 = 16384 bytes in this example). Do this using on the host machine, not in the emulator: the default raw disc detection routine from QEMU often results in non-kibibyte-roundable offsets (such as 31.5 KiB, as in the previous section) that cannot be managed by the software RAID code. Hence, from the the host:

    # fdisk /dev/md0

    Press to enter the expert menu. Set number of 's'ectors per track so that the size of one cylinder matches the size of your MBR file. For two heads and a sector size of 512, the number of sectors per track should be 16, so we get cylinders of size 2x16x512=16k.

    Now, press to return to the main menu.

    Press P and check that the cylinder size is now 16k.

    Now, create a single primary partition corresponding to . It should start at cylinder 2 and end at the end of the disk (note that the number of cylinders now differs from what it was when you entered fdisk.

    Finally, 'w'rite the result to the file: you are done. You now have a partition you can mount directly from your host, as well as part of a QEMU disk image:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -hdc /dev/md0 [...]

    You can, of course, safely set any bootloader on this disk image using QEMU, provided the original partition contains the necessary tools.

    Using a Network Block Device

    With Network Block Device, Linux can use a remote server as one of its block device. You may use (from the package) to create an MBR wrapper for QEMU.

    Assuming you have already set up your MBR wrapper file like above, rename it to . Then create a symbolic link named wrapper.img.1 in the same directory, pointing to your partition. Then put the following script in the same directory:

    dir="$(realpath "$(dirname "$0")")"
    cat >wrapper.conf <<EOF
    allowlist = true
    listenaddr = 127.713705
    port = 10809
    exportname = $dir/wrapper.img
    multifile = true
    nbd-server \
        -C wrapper.conf \
        -p wrapper.pid \

    The and suffixes are essential; the rest can be changed. After running the above script (which you may need to do as root to make sure nbd-server is able to access the partition), you can launch QEMU with:

    qemu-system-x86_64 -drive file=nbd:127.713705:10809:exportname=wrap [...]

    Using an entire physical disk device inside the VM

    You may have a second hdd/ssd with a different OS (like Windows) on it and may want to gain the ability to also boot it inside a VM. Since the disk access is raw, the disk will perform quite well inside the VM.

    windows VM boot prerequisites

    Be sure to install the virtio drivers inside the OS on that disk before trying to boot it in the VM. For Win 7 use version 0.1.173-4. Some singular drivers from newer virtio builds may be used on Win 7 but you will have to install them manually via device manager. For Win 10 you can use the latest virtio build.

    set up the windows disk interface drivers

    You may get a bluescreen when trying to boot the VM. This means Windows can not access the drive during the early boot stage because the disk interface driver it would need for that is not loaded / is set to start manually.

    The solution is to enable these drivers to start at boot.

    In , find the folders . Inside each of those, set all their "start" values to 0 in order to enable them at boot. If your drive is a PCIe NVMe drive, also enable that driver (should it exist).

    find the unique path of your disk

    Run ls /dev/disk/by-id/ There you pick out the ID of the drive you want to insert into the VM, my disk ID is Now add that ID to so you get /dev/disk/by-id/ata-TS512GMTS930L_C199211383 . That is the unique path to that disk.

    add the disk in QEMU CLI

    In QEMU CLI that would probably be:

    Just modify "file=" to be the unique path of your drive.

    add the disk in libvirt

    In libvirt xml that translates to

    Just modify "source dev" to be the unique path of your drive.

    add the disk in virt-manager

    When creating a VM, select "import existing drive" and just paste that unique path. If you already have the VM, add a device, storage, then select or create custom storage. Now paste the unique path.


    The performance of virtual networking should be better with tap devices and bridges than with user-mode networking or vde because tap devices and bridges are implemented in-kernel.

    In addition, networking performance can be improved by assigning virtual machines a virtio network device rather than the default emulation of an e1000 NIC. See #Installing virtio drivers for more information.

    By giving the argument to QEMU, it will, by default, assign a virtual machine a network interface with the link-level address . However, when using bridged networking with multiple virtual machines, it is essential that each virtual machine has a unique link-level (MAC) address on the virtual machine side of the tap device. Otherwise, the bridge will not work correctly, because it will receive packets from multiple sources that have the same link-level address. This problem occurs even if the tap devices themselves have unique link-level addresses because the source link-level address is not rewritten as packets pass through the tap device.

    Make sure that each virtual machine has a unique link-level address, but it should always start with . Use the following option, replace X with arbitrary hexadecimal digit:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -net nic,macaddr=52:54:XX:XX:XX:XX -net vde disk_image

    Generating unique link-level addresses can be done in several ways:

    • Manually specify unique link-level address for each NIC. The benefit is that the DHCP server will assign the same IP address each time the virtual machine is run, but it is unusable for large number of virtual machines.
    • Generate random link-level address each time the virtual machine is run. Practically zero probability of collisions, but the downside is that the DHCP server will assign a different IP address each time. You can use the following command in a script to generate random link-level address in a variable:
    printf -v macaddr "52:54:%02x:%02x:%02x:%02x" $(( $RANDOM & 0xff)) $(( $RANDOM & 0xff )) $(( $RANDOM & 0xff)) $(( $RANDOM & 0xff ))
    qemu-system-x86_64 -net nic,macaddr="$macaddr" -net vde ''disk_image''
    • Use the following script to generate the link-level address from the virtual machine name using a hashing function. Given that the names of virtual machines are unique, this method combines the benefits of the aforementioned methods: it generates the same link-level address each time the script is run, yet it preserves the practically zero probability of collisions.

    In a script, you can use for example:

    vm_name="VM Name"
    qemu-system-x86_64 -name "$vm_name" -net nic,macaddr=$(qemu-mac-hasher.py "$vm_name") -net vde disk_image

    User-mode networking

    By default, without any arguments, QEMU will use user-mode networking with a built-in DHCP server. Your virtual machines will be assigned an IP address when they run their DHCP client, and they will be able to access the physical host's network through IP masquerading done by QEMU.

    Note: ICMPv6 will not work, as support for it is not implemented: Slirp: external icmpv6 not supported yet. Pinging an IPv6 address will not work.

    This default configuration allows your virtual machines to easily access the Internet, provided that the host is connected to it, but the virtual machines will not be directly visible on the external network, nor will virtual machines be able to talk to each other if you start up more than one concurrently.

    QEMU's user-mode networking can offer more capabilities such as built-in TFTP or SMB servers, redirecting host ports to the guest (for example to allow SSH connections to the guest) or attaching guests to VLANs so that they can talk to each other. See the QEMU documentation on the flag for more details.

    However, user-mode networking has limitations in both utility and performance. More advanced network configurations require the use of tap devices or other methods.

    Tap networking with QEMU

    Tap devices are a Linux kernel feature that allows you to create virtual network interfaces that appear as real network interfaces. Packets sent to a tap interface are delivered to a userspace program, such as QEMU, that has bound itself to the interface.

    QEMU can use tap networking for a virtual machine so that packets sent to the tap interface will be sent to the virtual machine and appear as coming from a network interface (usually an Ethernet interface) in the virtual machine. Conversely, everything that the virtual machine sends through its network interface will appear on the tap interface.

    Tap devices are supported by the Linux bridge drivers, so it is possible to bridge together tap devices with each other and possibly with other host interfaces such as . This is desirable if you want your virtual machines to be able to talk to each other, or if you want other machines on your LAN to be able to talk to the virtual machines.

    As indicated in the user-mode networking section, tap devices offer higher networking performance than user-mode. If the guest OS supports virtio network driver, then the networking performance will be increased considerably as well. Supposing the use of the tap0 device, that the virtio driver is used on the guest, and that no scripts are used to help start/stop networking, next is part of the qemu command one should see:

    -device virtio-net,netdev=network0 -netdev tap,id=network0,ifname=tap0,script=no,downscript=no

    But if already using a tap device with virtio networking driver, one can even boost the networking performance by enabling vhost, like:

    -device virtio-net,netdev=network0 -netdev tap,id=network0,ifname=tap0,script=no,downscript=no,vhost=on

    See for more information.

    Host-only networking

    If the bridge is given an IP address and traffic destined for it is allowed, but no real interface (e.g. ) is connected to the bridge, then the virtual machines will be able to talk to each other and the host system. However, they will not be able to talk to anything on the external network, provided that you do not set up IP masquerading on the physical host. This configuration is called host-only networking by other virtualization software such as VirtualBox.

    • If you want to set up IP masquerading, e.g. NAT for virtual machines, see the Internet sharing#Enable NAT page.
    • See Network bridge for information on creating bridge.
    • You may want to have a DHCP server running on the bridge interface to service the virtual network. For example, to use the subnet with dnsmasq as the DHCP server:
    # ip addr add dev br0
    # ip link set br0 up
    # dnsmasq --interface=br0 --bind-interfaces --dhcp-range=,

    Internal networking

    If you do not give the bridge an IP address and add an iptables rule to drop all traffic to the bridge in the INPUT chain, then the virtual machines will be able to talk to each other, but not to the physical host or to the outside network. This configuration is called internal networking by other virtualization software such as VirtualBox. You will need to either assign static IP addresses to the virtual machines or run a DHCP server on one of them.

    By default iptables would drop packets in the bridge network. You may need to use such iptables rule to allow packets in a bridged network:

    # iptables -I FORWARD -m physdev --physdev-is-bridged -j ACCEPT

    Bridged networking using qemu-bridge-helper

    This method does not require a start-up script and readily accommodates multiple taps and multiple bridges. It uses binary, which allows creating tap devices on an existing bridge.

    First, create a configuration file containing the names of all bridges to be used by QEMU:

    Make sure has permissions. QEMU issues and GNS3 issues may arise if this is not the case.

    Now start the VM; the most basic usage to run QEMU with the default network helper and default bridge :

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -nic bridge [...]

    Using the bridge and the virtio driver:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -nic bridge,br=br1,model=virtio-net-pci [...]

    Creating bridge manually

    The following describes how to bridge a virtual machine to a host interface such as , which is probably the most common configuration. This configuration makes it appear that the virtual machine is located directly on the external network, on the same Ethernet segment as the physical host machine.

    We will replace the normal Ethernet adapter with a bridge adapter and bind the normal Ethernet adapter to it.

    • Install , which provides to manipulate bridges.
    • Enable IPv4 forwarding:
    # sysctl -w net.ipv4.ip_forward=1

    To make the change permanent, change net.ipv4.ip_forward = 0 to in .

    • Load the module and configure it to be loaded on boot. See Kernel modules for details.
    • Optionally create the bridge. See Bridge with netctl for details. Remember to name your bridge as , or change the scripts below to your bridge's name. In the script below, is set up if not listed, as it is assumed that by default the host is not accessing network via the bridge.
    • Create the script that QEMU uses to bring up the tap adapter with 750 permissions:
    • Create the script that QEMU uses to bring down the tap adapter in /etc/qemu-ifdown with 750 permissions:
    • Use to add the following to your sudoers file:
    • You launch QEMU using the following script:

    Then to launch a VM, do something like this

    $ run-qemu -hda myvm.img -m 512

    Run to apply the changes immediately.

    See the libvirt wiki and Fedora bug 512206. If you get errors by sysctl during boot about non-existing files, make the module load at boot. See Kernel module#systemd.

    Alternatively, you can configure iptables to allow all traffic to be forwarded across the bridge by adding a rule like this:

    -I FORWARD -m physdev --physdev-is-bridged -j ACCEPT

    Network sharing between physical device and a Tap device through iptables

    Bridged networking works fine between a wired interface (Eg. eth0), and it is easy to setup. However if the host gets connected to the network through a wireless device, then bridging is not possible.

    See Network bridge#Wireless interface on a bridge as a reference.

    One way to overcome that is to setup a tap device with a static IP, making linux automatically handle the routing for it, and then forward traffic between the tap interface and the device connected to the network through iptables rules.

    See Internet sharing as a reference.

    There you can find what is needed to share the network between devices, included tap and tun ones. The following just hints further on some of the host configurations required. As indicated in the reference above, the client needs to be configured for a static IP, using the IP assigned to the tap interface as the gateway. The caveat is that the DNS servers on the client might need to be manually edited if they change when changing from one host device connected to the network to another.

    To allow IP forwarding on every boot, one need to add the following lines to sysctl configuration file inside /etc/sysctl.d:

    net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1
    net.ipv6.conf.default.forwarding = 1
    net.ipv6.conf.all.forwarding = 1

    The iptables rules can look like:

    # Forwarding from/to outside
    iptables -A FORWARD -i ${INT} -o ${EXT_0} -j ACCEPT
    iptables -A FORWARD -i ${INT} -o ${EXT_1} -j ACCEPT
    iptables -A FORWARD -i ${INT} -o ${EXT_2} -j ACCEPT
    iptables -A FORWARD -i ${EXT_0} -o ${INT} -j ACCEPT
    iptables -A FORWARD -i ${EXT_1} -o ${INT} -j ACCEPT
    iptables -A FORWARD -i ${EXT_2} -o ${INT} -j ACCEPT
    # NAT/Masquerade (network address translation)
    iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o ${EXT_0} -j MASQUERADE
    iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o ${EXT_1} -j MASQUERADE
    iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o ${EXT_2} -j MASQUERADE

    The prior supposes there are 3 devices connected to the network sharing traffic with one internal device, where for example:


    The prior shows a forwarding that would allow sharing wired and wireless connections with the tap device.

    The forwarding rules shown are stateless, and for pure forwarding. One could think of restricting specific traffic, putting a firewall in place to protect the guest and others. However those would decrease the networking performance, while a simple bridge does not include any of that.

    Bonus: Whether the connection is wired or wireless, if one gets connected through VPN to a remote site with a tun device, supposing the tun device opened for that connection is tun0, and the prior iptables rules are applied, then the remote connection gets also shared with the guest. This avoids the need for the guest to also open a VPN connection. Again, as the guest networking needs to be static, then if connecting the host remotely this way, one most probably will need to edit the DNS servers on the guest.

    What is VDE?

    VDE stands for Virtual Distributed Ethernet. It started as an enhancement of uml_switch. It is a toolbox to manage virtual networks.

    The idea is to create virtual switches, which are basically sockets, and to "plug" both physical and virtual machines in them. The configuration we show here is quite simple; However, VDE is much more powerful than this, it can plug virtual switches together, run them on different hosts and monitor the traffic in the switches. You are invited to read the documentation of the project.

    The advantage of this method is you do not have to add sudo privileges to your users. Regular users should not be allowed to run modprobe.


    VDE support can be installed via the package.

    In our config, we use tun/tap to create a virtual interface on my host. Load the module (see Kernel modules for details):

    # modprobe tun

    Now create the virtual switch:

    # vde_switch -tap tap0 -daemon -mod 660 -group users

    This line creates the switch, creates , "plugs" it, and allows the users of the group to use it.

    The interface is plugged in but not configured yet. To configure it, run this command:

    # ip addr add dev tap0

    Now, you just have to run KVM with these options as a normal user:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -net nic -net vde -hda [...]

    Configure networking for your guest as you would do in a physical network.

    Startup scripts

    Example of main script starting VDE:

    # QEMU/VDE network environment preparation script
    # The IP configuration for the tap device that will be used for
    # the virtual machine network:
    # Host interface
    case "$1" in
            echo -n "Starting VDE network for QEMU: "
            # If you want tun kernel module to be loaded by script uncomment here
    	#modprobe tun 2>/dev/null
    	## Wait for the module to be loaded
     	#while ! lsmod | grep -q "^tun"; do echo "Waiting for tun device"; sleep 1; done
            # Start tap switch
            vde_switch -tap "$TAP_DEV" -daemon -mod 660 -group users
            # Bring tap interface up
            ip address add "$TAP_IP"/"$TAP_MASK" dev "$TAP_DEV"
            ip link set "$TAP_DEV" up
            # Start IP Forwarding
            echo "1" > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
            iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -s "$TAP_NETWORK"/"$TAP_MASK" -o "$NIC" -j MASQUERADE
            echo -n "Stopping VDE network for QEMU: "
            # Delete the NAT rules
            iptables -t nat -D POSTROUTING -s "$TAP_NETWORK"/"$TAP_MASK" -o "$NIC" -j MASQUERADE
            # Bring tap interface down
            ip link set "$TAP_DEV" down
            # Kill VDE switch
            pgrep vde_switch | xargs kill -TERM
            $0 stop
            sleep 1
            $0 start
            echo "Usage: $0 {start|stop|restart|reload}"
            exit 1
    exit 0

    Example of systemd service using the above script:

    Change permissions for to be executable.

    You can start as usual.

    Alternative method

    If the above method does not work or you do not want to mess with kernel configs, TUN, dnsmasq, and iptables you can do the following for the same result.

    # vde_switch -daemon -mod 660 -group users
    # slirpvde --dhcp --daemon

    Then, to start the VM with a connection to the network of the host:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -net nic,macaddr=52:54:00:00:EE:03 -net vde disk_image

    VDE2 Bridge

    Based on quickhowto: qemu networking using vde, tun/tap, and bridge graphic. Any virtual machine connected to vde is externally exposed. For example, each virtual machine can receive DHCP configuration directly from your ADSL router.


    Remember that you need module and package.

    Create the vde2/tap device:

    # vde_switch -tap tap0 -daemon -mod 660 -group users
    # ip link set tap0 up

    Create bridge:

    # brctl addbr br0

    Add devices:

    # brctl addif br0 eth0
    # brctl addif br0 tap0

    And configure bridge interface:

    # dhcpcd br0

    Startup scripts

    All devices must be set up. And only the bridge needs an IP address. For physical devices on the bridge (e.g. ), this can be done with netctl using a custom Ethernet profile with:

    The following custom systemd service can be used to create and activate a VDE2 tap interface for users in the user group.

    And finally, you can create the bridge interface with netctl.

    Shorthand configuration

    If you are using QEMU with various networking options a lot, you probably have created a lot of and -device argument pairs, which gets quite repetitive. You can instead use the argument to combine and -device together, so that, for example, these arguments:

    -netdev tap,id=network0,ifname=tap0,script=no,downscript=no,vhost=on -device virtio-net-pci,netdev=network0


    -nic tap,script=no,downscript=no,vhost=on,model=virtio-net-pci

    Notice the lack of network IDs, and that the device was created with . The first half of the parameters are parameters, whereas the second half (after ) are related with the device. The same parameters (for example, smb=) are used. To completely disable the networking use .

    See QEMU networking documentation for more information on parameters you can use.

    Graphic card

    QEMU can emulate a standard graphic card text mode using command line option. This allows to type text and see text output directly inside a text terminal. Alternatively, serves a similar purpose.

    QEMU can emulate several types of VGA card. The card type is passed in the command line option and can be , qxl, , , or .


    With -vga std you can get a resolution of up to 2560 x 1600 pixels without requiring guest drivers. This is the default since QEMU 2.2.


    QXL is a paravirtual graphics driver with 2D support. To use it, pass the option and install drivers in the guest. You may want to use #SPICE for improved graphical performance when using QXL.

    On Linux guests, the qxl and kernel modules must be loaded in order to gain a decent performance.

    Default VGA memory size for QXL devices is 16M which is sufficient to drive resolutions approximately up to QHD (2560x1440). To enable higher resolutions, increase vga_memmb.


    Although it is a bit buggy, it performs better than std and cirrus. Install the VMware drivers and for Arch Linux guests.


    /  is a paravirtual 3D graphics driver based on virgl. Currently a work in progress, supporting only very recent (>= 4.4) Linux guests with mesa (>=11.2) compiled with the option .

    To enable 3D acceleration on the guest system select this vga with and enable the opengl context in the display device with -display sdl,gl=on or for the sdl and gtk display output respectively. Successful configuration can be confirmed looking at the kernel log in the guest:


    The cirrus graphical adapter was the default before 2.2. It should not be used on modern systems.


    This is like a PC that has no VGA card at all. You would not even be able to access it with the option. Also, this is different from the option which lets QEMU emulate a VGA card, but disables the SDL display.


    The SPICE project aims to provide a complete open source solution for remote access to virtual machines in a seamless way.

    Enabling SPICE support on the host

    The following is an example of booting with SPICE as the remote desktop protocol, including the support for copy and paste from host:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -vga qxl -device virtio-serial-pci -spice port=5930,disable-ticketing=on -device virtserialport,chardev=spicechannel0,name=com.redhat.spice.0 -chardev spicevmc,id=spicechannel0,name=vdagent

    The parameters have the following meaning:

    1. adds a virtio-serial device
    2. set TCP port 5930 for spice channels listening and allow client to connect without authentication
    3. opens a port for spice vdagent in the virtio-serial device,
    4. adds a spicevmc chardev for that port. It is important that the option of the virtserialport device matches the option given to the option ( in this example). It is also important that the port name is , because that is the namespace where vdagent is looking for in the guest. And finally, specify so that spice knows what this channel is for.

    Connecting to the guest with a SPICE client

    A SPICE client is necessary to connect to the guest. In Arch, the following clients are available:

    virt-viewer SPICE client recommended by the protocol developers, a subset of the virt-manager project.

    https://virt-manager.org/ || virt-viewer

    For clients that run on smartphone or on other platforms, refer to the Other clients section in spice-space download.

    Manually running a SPICE client

    One way of connecting to a guest listening on Unix socket is to manually run the SPICE client using or , depending on the desired client. Since QEMU in SPICE mode acts similarly to a remote desktop server, it may be more convenient to run QEMU in daemon mode with the parameter.

    Running a SPICE client with QEMU

    QEMU can automatically start a SPICE client with an appropriate socket, if the display is set to SPICE with the -display spice-app parameter. This will use the system's default SPICE client as the viewer, determined by your mimeapps.list files.

    Enabling SPICE support on the guest

    For Arch Linux guests, for improved support for multiple monitors or clipboard sharing, the following packages should be installed:

    • : Spice agent xorg client that enables copy and paste between client and X-session and more.
    • : Xorg X11 qxl video driver

    For guests under other operating systems, refer to the Guest section in spice-space download.

    Password authentication with SPICE

    If you want to enable password authentication with SPICE you need to remove from the -spice argument and instead add . For example:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -vga qxl -spice port=5900,password=yourpassword -device virtio-serial-pci -device virtserialport,chardev=spicechannel0,name=com.redhat.spice.0 -chardev spicevmc,id=spicechannel0,name=vdagent

    Your SPICE client should now ask for the password to be able to connect to the SPICE server.

    TLS encrypted communication with SPICE

    You can also configure TLS encryption for communicating with the SPICE server. First, you need to have a directory which contains the following files (the names must be exactly as indicated):

    • : the CA master certificate.
    • : the server certificate signed with .
    • : the server private key.

    An example of generation of self-signed certificates with your own generated CA for your server is shown in the Spice User Manual.

    Afterwards, you can run QEMU with SPICE as explained above but using the following -spice argument: , where is the directory path that contains the three needed files shown earlier.

    It is now possible to connect to the server using virt-viewer:

    $ remote-viewer spice://hostname?tls-port=5901 --spice-ca-file=/path/to/ca-cert.pem --spice-host-subject="C=XX,L=city,O=organization,CN=hostname" --spice-secure-channels=all

    Keep in mind that the parameter needs to be set according to your subject. You also need to copy to every client to verify the server certificate.

    The equivalent command is:

    $ spicy -h hostname -s 5901 --spice-ca-file=ca-cert.pem --spice-host-subject="C=XX,L=city,O=organization,CN=hostname" --spice-secure-channels=all


    One can add the option to have QEMU redirect the VGA display to the VNC session. Substitute X for the number of the display (0 will then listen on 5900, 1 on 5901...).

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -vnc :0

    An example is also provided in the #Starting QEMU virtual machines on boot section.

    Basic password authentication

    An access password can be setup easily by using the option. The password must be indicated in the QEMU monitor and connection is only possible once the password is provided.

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -vnc :0,password -monitor stdio

    In the QEMU monitor, password is set using the command and then indicating the password.

    The following command line directly runs vnc with a password:

    $ printf "change vnc password\n%s\n" MYPASSWORD | qemu-system-x86_64 -vnc :0,password -monitor stdio


    Creating an audio backend

    The flag sets the audio backend driver on the host and its options. The list of available audio backend drivers and their optional settings is detailed in the man page.

    At the bare minimum, one need to choose an audio backend and set an id, for PulseAudio for example:

    -audiodev pa,id=snd0

    Intel HD Audio

    For Intel HD Audio emulation, add both controller and codec devices. To list the available Intel HDA Audio devices:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -device help | grep hda

    Add the audio controller:

    -device ich9-intel-hda

    Also add the audio codec and map it to a host audio backend id:

    -device hda-output,audiodev=snd0

    Intel 82801AA AC97

    For AC97 emulation just add the audio card device and map it to a host audio backend id

    -device AC97,audiodev=snd0
    • If the audiodev backend is not provided, QEMU looks up for it and adds it automatically, this only works for a single audiodev. For example -device intel-hda -device hda-duplex will emulate intel-hda on the guest using the default audiodev backend.
    • Video graphic card emulated drivers for the guest machine may also cause a problem with the sound quality. Test one by one to make it work. You can list possible options with qemu-system-x86_64 -h | grep vga.

    Installing virtio drivers

    QEMU offers guests the ability to use paravirtualized block and network devices using the virtio drivers, which provide better performance and lower overhead.

    • A virtio block device requires the option for passing a disk image, with parameter :
    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -drive file=disk_image,if=virtio
    • Almost the same goes for the network:
    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -nic user,model=virtio-net-pci

    Preparing an Arch Linux guest

    To use virtio devices after an Arch Linux guest has been installed, the following modules must be loaded in the guest: , , , virtio_net, and . For 32-bit guests, the specific "virtio" module is not necessary.

    If you want to boot from a virtio disk, the initial ramdisk must contain the necessary modules. By default, this is handled by mkinitcpio's hook. Otherwise use the array in to include the necessary modules and rebuild the initial ramdisk.

    MODULES=(virtio virtio_blk virtio_pci virtio_net)

    Virtio disks are recognized with the prefix (e.g. , , etc.); therefore, changes must be made in at least and when booting from a virtio disk.

    Further information on paravirtualization with KVM can be found here.

    You might also want to install qemu-guest-agent to implement support for QMP commands that will enhance the hypervisor management capabilities.

    Virtio drivers for Windows

    Windows does not come with the virtio drivers. The latest and stable versions of the drivers are regularly built by Fedora, details on downloading the drivers are given on virtio-win on GitHub. In the following sections we will mostly use the stable ISO file provided here: virtio-win.iso. Alternatively, use .

    New Install of Windows

    The drivers need to be loaded during installation, the procedure is to load the ISO image with the virtio drivers in a cdrom device along with the primary disk device and the Windows ISO install media:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 ... \
    -drive file=disk_image,index=0,media=disk,if=virtio \
    -drive file=windows.iso,index=2,media=cdrom \
    -drive file=virtio-win.iso,index=3,media=cdrom \

    During the installation, at some stage, the Windows installer will ask "Where do you want to install Windows?", it will give a warning that no disks are found. Follow the example instructions below (based on Windows Server 2012 R2 with Update).

    • Select the option Load Drivers.
    • Uncheck the box for Hide drivers that are not compatible with this computer's hardware.
    • Click the browse button and open the CDROM for the virtio iso, usually named "virtio-win-XX".
    • Now browse to , select it, and confirm.

    You should now see your virtio disk(s) listed here, ready to be selected, formatted and installed to.

    Change existing Windows VM to use virtio

    Modifying an existing Windows guest for booting from virtio disk requires that the virtio driver is loaded by the guest at boot time. We will therefore need to teach Windows to load the virtio driver at boot time before being able to boot a disk image in virtio mode.

    To achieve that, first create a new disk image that will be attached in virtio mode and trigger the search for the driver:

    $ qemu-img create -f qcow2 dummy.qcow2 1G

    Run the original Windows guest with the boot disk still in IDE mode, the fake disk in virtio mode and the driver ISO image.

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -m 4G -drive file=disk_image,if=ide -drive file=dummy.qcow2,if=virtio -cdrom virtio-win.iso

    Windows will detect the fake disk and look for a suitable driver. If it fails, go to Device Manager, locate the SCSI drive with an exclamation mark icon (should be open), click Update driver and select the virtual CD-ROM. Do not navigate to the driver folder within the CD-ROM, simply select the CD-ROM drive and Windows will find the appropriate driver automatically (tested for Windows 7 SP1).

    Request Windows to boot in safe mode next time it starts up. This can be done using the msconfig.exe tool in Windows. In safe mode all the drivers will be loaded at boot time including the new virtio driver. Once Windows knows that the virtio driver is required at boot it will memorize it for future boot.

    Once instructed to boot in safe mode, you can turn off the virtual machine and launch it again, now with the boot disk attached in virtio mode:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -m 4G -drive file=disk_image,if=virtio

    You should boot in safe mode with virtio driver loaded, you can now return to msconfig.exe disable safe mode boot and restart Windows.

    Network drivers

    Installing virtio network drivers is a bit easier, simply add the argument.

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -m 4G -drive file=windows_disk_image,if=virtio -nic user,model=virtio-net-pci -cdrom virtio-win.iso

    Windows will detect the network adapter and try to find a driver for it. If it fails, go to the Device Manager, locate the network adapter with an exclamation mark icon (should be open), click Update driver and select the virtual CD-ROM. Do not forget to select the checkbox which says to search for directories recursively.

    Balloon driver

    If you want to track you guest memory state (for example via command dommemstat) or change guest's memory size in runtime (you still will not be able to change memory size, but can limit memory usage via inflating balloon driver) you will need to install guest balloon driver.

    For this you will need to go to Device Manager, locate PCI standard RAM Controller in System devices (or unrecognized PCI controller from Other devices) and choose Update driver. In opened window you will need to choose Browse my computer... and select the CD-ROM (and do not forget the Include subdirectories checkbox). Reboot after installation. This will install the driver and you will be able to inflate the balloon (for example via hmp command , which will cause balloon to take as much memory as possible in order to shrink the guest's available memory size to memory_size). However, you still will not be able to track guest memory state. In order to do this you will need to install Balloon service properly. For that open command line as administrator, go to the CD-ROM, Balloon directory and deeper, depending on your system and architecture. Once you are in amd64 (x86) directory, run which will do the installation. After that command dommemstat should be outputting all supported values.

    Preparing a FreeBSD guest

    Install the port if you are using FreeBSD 8.3 or later up until 10.0-CURRENT where they are included into the kernel. After installation, add the following to your file:

    Then modify your by doing the following:

    # sed -ibak "s/ada/vtbd/g" /etc/fstab

    And verify that is consistent. If anything goes wrong, just boot into a rescue CD and copy /etc/fstab.bak back to .

    QEMU monitor

    While QEMU is running, a monitor console is provided in order to provide several ways to interact with the virtual machine running. The QEMU monitor offers interesting capabilities such as obtaining information about the current virtual machine, hotplugging devices, creating snapshots of the current state of the virtual machine, etc. To see the list of all commands, run or in the QEMU monitor console or review the relevant section of the official QEMU documentation.

    Graphical view

    When using the default graphics option, one can access the QEMU monitor by pressing or by clicking View > compatmonitor0 in the QEMU window. To return to the virtual machine graphical view either press Ctrl+Alt+1 or click View > VGA.

    However, the standard method of accessing the monitor is not always convenient and does not work in all graphic outputs QEMU supports.


    To enable telnet, run QEMU with the parameter. When the virtual machine is started you will be able to access the monitor via telnet:

    $ telnet port

    UNIX socket

    Run QEMU with the parameter. Then you can connect with either , or openbsd-netcat.

    For example, if QEMU is run via:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -monitor unix:/tmp/monitor.sock,server,nowait [...]

    It is possible to connect to the monitor with:

    $ socat - UNIX-CONNECT:/tmp/monitor.sock

    Or with:

    $ nc -U /tmp/monitor.sock

    Alternatively with :

    $ ncat -U /tmp/monitor.sock


    You can expose the monitor over TCP with the argument . Then connect with netcat, either openbsd-netcat or by running:

    $ nc port

    Standard I/O

    It is possible to access the monitor automatically from the same terminal QEMU is being run by running it with the argument .

    Sending keyboard presses to the virtual machine using the monitor console

    Some combinations of keys may be difficult to perform on virtual machines due to the host intercepting them instead in some configurations (a notable example is the key combinations, which change the active tty). To avoid this problem, the problematic combination of keys may be sent via the monitor console instead. Switch to the monitor and use the sendkey command to forward the necessary keypresses to the virtual machine. For example:

    (qemu) sendkey ctrl-alt-f2

    Creating and managing snapshots via the monitor console

    It is sometimes desirable to save the current state of a virtual machine and having the possibility of reverting the state of the virtual machine to that of a previously saved snapshot at any time. The QEMU monitor console provides the user with the necessary utilities to create snapshots, manage them, and revert the machine state to a saved snapshot.

    • Use in order to create a snapshot with the tag name.
    • Use to revert the virtual machine to the state of the snapshot name.
    • Use to delete the snapshot tagged as name.
    • Use info snapshots to see a list of saved snapshots. Snapshots are identified by both an auto-incremented ID number and a text tag (set by the user on snapshot creation).

    Running the virtual machine in immutable mode

    It is possible to run a virtual machine in a frozen state so that all changes will be discarded when the virtual machine is powered off just by running QEMU with the parameter. When the disk image is written by the guest, changes will be saved in a temporary file in and will be discarded when QEMU halts.

    However, if a machine is running in frozen mode it is still possible to save the changes to the disk image if it is afterwards desired by using the monitor console and running the following command:

    (qemu) commit all

    If snapshots are created when running in frozen mode they will be discarded as soon as QEMU is exited unless changes are explicitly commited to disk, as well.

    Pause and power options via the monitor console

    Some operations of a physical machine can be emulated by QEMU using some monitor commands:

    • will send an ACPI shutdown request to the virtual machine. This effect is similar to the power button in a physical machine.
    • will reset the virtual machine similarly to a reset button in a physical machine. This operation can cause data loss and file system corruption since the virtual machine is not cleanly restarted.
    • stop will pause the virtual machine.
    • will resume a virtual machine previously paused.

    Taking screenshots of the virtual machine

    Screenshots of the virtual machine graphic display can be obtained in the PPM format by running the following command in the monitor console:

    (qemu) screendump file.ppm

    QEMU machine protocol

    The QEMU machine protocol (QMP) is a JSON-based protocol which allows applications to control a QEMU instance. Similarly to the #QEMU monitor it offers ways to interact with a running machine and the JSON protocol allows to do it programmatically. The description of all the QMP commands can be found in qmp-commands.

    Start QMP

    The usual way to control the guest using the QMP protocol, is to open a TCP socket when launching the machine using the option. Here it is using for example the TCP port 4444:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 [...] -qmp tcp:localhost:4444,server,nowait

    Then one way to communicate with the QMP agent is to use netcat:

    At this stage, the only command that can be recognized is , so that QMP enters into command mode. Type:

    {"execute": "qmp_capabilities"}

    Now, QMP is ready to receive commands, to retrieve the list of recognized commands, use:

    {"execute": "query-commands"}

    Live merging of child image into parent image

    It is possible to merge a running snapshot into its parent by issuing a block-commit command. In its simplest form the following line will commit the child into its parent:

    {"execute": "block-commit", "arguments": {"device": "devicename"}}

    Upon reception of this command, the handler looks for the base image and converts it from read only to read write mode and then runs the commit job.

    Once the block-commit operation has completed, the event will be emitted, signalling that the synchronization has finished. The job can then be gracefully completed by issuing the command :

    {"execute": "block-job-complete", "arguments": {"device": "devicename"}}

    Until such a command is issued, the commit operation remains active. After successful completion, the base image remains in read write mode and becomes the new active layer. On the other hand, the child image becomes invalid and it is the responsibility of the user to clean it up.

    Live creation of a new snapshot

    To create a new snapshot out of a running image, run the command:

    {"execute": "blockdev-snapshot-sync", "arguments": {"device": "devicename","snapshot-file": "new_snapshot_name.qcow2"}}

    This creates an overlay file named which then becomes the new active layer.

    Tips and tricks

    Improve virtual machine performance

    There are a number of techniques that you can use to improve the performance of the virtual machine. For example:

    • Apply #Enabling KVM for full virtualization.
    • Use the option to make QEMU emulate the host's exact CPU rather than a more generic CPU.
    • Especially for Windows guests, enable Hyper-V enlightenments: -cpu host,hv_relaxed,hv_spinlocks=0x1fff,hv_vapic,hv_time.
    • If the host machine has multiple cores, assign the guest more cores using the option.
    • Make sure you have assigned the virtual machine enough memory. By default, QEMU only assigns 128 MiB of memory to each virtual machine. Use the option to assign more memory. For example, runs a virtual machine with 1024 MiB of memory.
    • If supported by drivers in the guest operating system, use virtio for network and/or block devices, see #Installing virtio drivers.
    • Use TAP devices instead of user-mode networking, see #Tap networking with QEMU.
    • If the guest OS is doing heavy writing to its disk, you may benefit from certain mount options on the host's file system. For example, you can mount an ext4 file system with the option . You should read the documentation for any options that you change because sometimes performance-enhancing options for file systems come at the cost of data integrity.
    • If you have a raw disk image, you may want to disable the cache:
    • Use the native Linux AIO:
      $ qemu-system-x86_64 -drive file=''disk_image'',if=virtio''',aio=native,cache.direct=on'''
    • If you are running multiple virtual machines concurrently that all have the same operating system installed, you can save memory by enabling kernel same-page merging. See #Enabling KSM.
    • In some cases, memory can be reclaimed from running virtual machines by running a memory ballooning driver in the guest operating system and launching QEMU using .
    • It is possible to use a emulation layer for an ICH-9 AHCI controller (although it may be unstable). The AHCI emulation supports NCQ, so multiple read or write requests can be outstanding at the same time:

    See https://www.linux-kvm.org/page/Tuning_KVM for more information.

    With libvirt

    If a virtual machine is set up with libvirt, it can be configured with or through the virt-manager GUI to start at host boot by going to the Boot Options for the virtual machine and selecting "Start virtual machine on host boot up".

    With systemd service

    To run QEMU VMs on boot, you can use following systemd unit and config.

    Note: This service will wait for the console port to be released, which means that the VM has been shutdown, to graciously end.

    Then create per-VM configuration files, named , with the variables and set. Example configs:

    The description of the variables is the following:

    • - QEMU command line arguments to be used.
    • - Command to shut down a VM safely. In the first example, the QEMU monitor is exposed via telnet using -monitor telnet:.. and the VMs are powered off via ACPI by sending to monitor with the command. In the other example, SSH is used.

    To set which virtual machines will start on boot-up, enable the systemd unit.

    Mouse integration

    To prevent the mouse from being grabbed when clicking on the guest operating system's window, add the options . This means QEMU is able to report the mouse position without having to grab the mouse. This also overrides PS/2 mouse emulation when activated. For example:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -hda disk_image -m 512 -usb -device usb-tablet

    If that does not work, try using parameter, also look at the instructions #Mouse cursor is jittery or erratic.

    Pass-through host USB device

    It is possible to access the physical device connected to a USB port of the host from the guest. The first step is to identify where the device is connected, this can be found running the command. For example:

    The outputs in bold above will be useful to identify respectively the host_bus and host_addr or the vendor_id and product_id.

    In qemu, the idea is to emulate an EHCI (USB 2) or XHCI (USB 1.1 USB 2 USB 3) controller with the option or -device qemu-xhci,id=xhci respectively and then attach the physical device to it with the option . We will consider that controller_id is either or for the rest of this section.

    Then, there are two ways to connect to the USB of the host with qemu:

    1. Identify the device and connect to it on any bus and address it is attached to on the host, the generic syntax is:
      -device usb-host,bus=''controller_id''.0,vendorid=0x''vendor_id'',productid=0x''product_id''
      Applied to the device used in the example above, it becomes:One can also add the setting to the previous option to specify in which physical port of the virtual controller the device should be attached, useful in the case one wants to add multiple usb devices to the VM. Another option is to use the new property of which is available since QEMU 5.1.0, the syntax is:
    2. Attach whatever is connected to a given USB bus and address, the syntax is:
      -device usb-host,bus=''controller_id''.0,hostbus=''host_bus'',host_addr=''host_addr''
      Applied to the bus and the address in the example above, it becomes:

    See QEMU/USB emulation for more information.

    USB redirection with SPICE

    When using #SPICE it is possible to redirect USB devices from the client to the virtual machine without needing to specify them in the QEMU command. It is possible to configure the number of USB slots available for redirected devices (the number of slots will determine the maximum number of devices which can be redirected simultaneously). The main advantages of using SPICE for redirection compared to the previously-mentioned method is the possibility of hot-swapping USB devices after the virtual machine has started, without needing to halt it in order to remove USB devices from the redirection or adding new ones. This method of USB redirection also allows us to redirect USB devices over the network, from the client to the server. In summary, it is the most flexible method of using USB devices in a QEMU virtual machine.

    We need to add one EHCI/UHCI controller per available USB redirection slot desired as well as one SPICE redirection channel per slot. For example, adding the following arguments to the QEMU command you use for starting the virtual machine in SPICE mode will start the virtual machine with three available USB slots for redirection:

    See SPICE/usbredir for more information.

    Both from (Input > Select USB Devices for redirection) and remote-viewer from virt-viewer (File > USB device selection) support this feature. Please make sure that you have installed the necessary SPICE Guest Tools on the virtual machine for this functionality to work as expected (see the #SPICE section for more information).

    Automatic USB forwarding with udev

    Normally, forwarded devices must be available at VM boot time to be forwarded. If that device is disconnected, it will not be forwarded anymore.

    You can use udev rules to automatically attach a device when it comes online. Create a entry somewhere on disk. chown it to root to prevent other users modifying it.

    Then create a udev rule which will attach/detach the device:

    Source and further reading.

    Enabling KSM

    Kernel Samepage Merging (KSM) is a feature of the Linux kernel that allows for an application to register with the kernel to have its pages merged with other processes that also register to have their pages merged. The KSM mechanism allows for guest virtual machines to share pages with each other. In an environment where many of the guest operating systems are similar, this can result in significant memory savings.

    Note: Although KSM may reduce memory usage, it may increase CPU usage. Also note some security issues may occur, see Wikipedia:Kernel same-page merging.

    To enable KSM:

    # echo 1 > /sys/kernel/mm/ksm/run

    To make it permanent, use systemd's temporary files:

    If KSM is running, and there are pages to be merged (i.e. at least two similar VMs are running), then should be non-zero. See https://docs.kernel.org/admin-guide/mm/ksm.html for more information.

    Multi-monitor support

    The Linux QXL driver supports four heads (virtual screens) by default. This can be changed via the kernel parameter.

    The default VGA memory size for QXL devices is 16M (VRAM size is 64M). This is not sufficient if you would like to enable two 1920x1200 monitors since that requires 2 × 1920 × 4 (color depth) × 1200 = 17.6 MiB VGA memory. This can be changed by replacing by . If you ever increase vgamem_mb beyond 64M, then you also have to increase the option.

    Custom display resolution

    A custom display resolution can be set with -device VGA,edid=on,xres=1280,yres=720 (see EDID and display resolution).

    Copy and paste

    One way to share the clipboard between the host and the guest is to enable the SPICE remote desktop protocol and access the client with a SPICE client. One needs to follow the steps described in #SPICE. A guest run this way will support copy paste with the host.

    Windows-specific notes

    QEMU can run any version of Windows from Windows 95 through Windows 11.

    It is possible to run Windows PE in QEMU.

    Fast startup

    For Windows 8 (or later) guests it is better to disable "Turn on fast startup (recommended)" from the Power Options of the Control Panel as explained in the following forum page, as it causes the guest to hang during every other boot.

    Fast Startup may also need to be disabled for changes to the option to be properly applied.

    Remote Desktop Protocol

    If you use a MS Windows guest, you might want to use RDP to connect to your guest VM. If you are using a VLAN or are not in the same network as the guest, use:

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -nographic -nic user,hostfwd=tcp::5555-:3389

    Then connect with either or to the guest. For example:

    $ xfreerdp -g 2048x1152 localhost:5555 -z -x lan

    Clone Linux system installed on physical equipment

    Linux system installed on physical equipment can be cloned for running on QEMU vm. See Clone Linux system from hardware for QEMU virtual machine

    Chrooting into arm/arm64 environment from x86_64

    Sometimes it is easier to work directly on a disk image instead of the real ARM based device. This can be achieved by mounting an SD card/storage containing the root partition and chrooting into it.

    Another use case for an ARM chroot is building ARM packages on an x86_64 machine - can be used for that. Here, the chroot environment can be created from an image tarball from Arch Linux ARM - see for a detailed description of this approach.

    Either way, from the chroot it should be possible to run pacman and install more packages, compile large libraries etc. Since the executables are for the ARM architecture, the translation to x86 needs to be performed by QEMU.

    Install qemu-user-static on the x86_64 machine/host, and to register the qemu binaries to binfmt service.

    qemu-user-static is used to allow the execution of compiled programs from other architectures. This is similar to what is provided by , but the "static" variant is required for chroot. Examples:

    qemu-arm-static path_to_sdcard/usr/bin/ls
    qemu-aarch64-static path_to_sdcard/usr/bin/ls

    These two lines execute the command compiled for 32-bit ARM and 64-bit ARM respectively. Note that this will not work without chrooting, because it will look for libraries not present in the host system.

    qemu-user-static allows automatically prefixing the ARM exectuable with or .

    Make sure that the ARM executable support is active:

    $ ls /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc
    qemu-aarch64  qemu-arm	  qemu-cris  qemu-microblaze  qemu-mipsel  qemu-ppc64	    qemu-riscv64  qemu-sh4    qemu-sparc	qemu-sparc64  status
    qemu-alpha    qemu-armeb  qemu-m68k  qemu-mips	      qemu-ppc	   qemu-ppc64abi32  qemu-s390x	  qemu-sh4eb  qemu-sparc32plus	register

    Each executable must be listed.

    If it is not active, restart .

    Mount the SD card to (the device name may be different).

    # mount --mkdir /dev/mmcblk0p2 /mnt/sdcard

    Mount boot partition if needed (again, use the suitable device name):

    # mount /dev/mmcblk0p1 /mnt/sdcard/boot

    Finally chroot into the SD card root as described in Change root#Using chroot:

    # chroot /mnt/sdcard /bin/bash

    Alternatively, you can use arch-chroot from , as it will provide an easier way to get network support:

    # arch-chroot /mnt/sdcard /bin/bash

    You can also use systemd-nspawn to chroot into the ARM environment:

    # systemd-nspawn -D /mnt/sdcard -M myARMMachine --bind-ro=/etc/resolv.conf

    --bind-ro=/etc/resolv.conf is optional and gives a working network DNS inside the chroot

    Not grabbing mouse input

    Tablet mode has side effect of not grabbing mouse input in QEMU window:

    -usb -device usb-tablet

    It works with several backends one of which is virtio.


    Mouse cursor is jittery or erratic

    If the cursor jumps around the screen uncontrollably, entering this on the terminal before starting QEMU might help:

    $ export SDL_VIDEO_X11_DGAMOUSE=0

    If this helps, you can add this to your file.

    No visible Cursor

    Add to QEMU's options to see a mouse cursor.

    If that still does not work, make sure you have set your display device appropriately, for example: .

    Another option to try is as mentioned in #Mouse integration. This overrides the default PS/2 mouse emulation and synchronizes pointer location between host and guest as an added bonus.

    Two different mouse cursors are visible

    Apply the tip #Mouse integration.

    Keyboard issues when using VNC

    When using VNC, you might experience keyboard problems described (in gory details) here. The solution is not to use the option on QEMU, and to use gvncviewer from . See also this message posted on libvirt's mailing list.

    Keyboard seems broken or the arrow keys do not work

    Should you find that some of your keys do not work or "press" the wrong key (in particular, the arrow keys), you likely need to specify your keyboard layout as an option. The keyboard layouts can be found in .

    $ qemu-system-x86_64 -k keymap disk_image

    Could not read keymap file

    qemu-system-x86_64: -display vnc= could not read keymap file: 'en'

    is caused by an invalid keymap passed to the argument. For example, is invalid, but en-us is valid - see .

    Guest display stretches on window resize

    To restore default window size, press .

    ioctl(KVM_CREATE_VM) failed: 16 Device or resource busy

    If an error message like this is printed when starting QEMU with option:

    ioctl(KVM_CREATE_VM) failed: 16 Device or resource busy
    failed to initialize KVM: Device or resource busy

    that means another hypervisor is currently running. It is not recommended or possible to run several hypervisors in parallel.

    libgfapi error message

    The error message displayed at startup:

    Failed to open module: libgfapi.so.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

    Install or ignore the error message as GlusterFS is a optional dependency.

    Kernel panic on LIVE-environments

    If you start a live-environment (or better: booting a system) you may encounter this:

    [ end Kernel panic - not syncing: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on unknown block(0,0)

    or some other boot hindering process (e.g. cannot unpack initramfs, cant start service foo). Try starting the VM with the switch and an appropriate amount of RAM, if the ram is to low you will probably encounter similar issues as above/without the memory-switch.

    Windows 7 guest suffers low-quality sound

    Using the audio driver for Windows 7 guest may result in low-quality sound. Changing the audio driver to ac97 by passing the arguments to QEMU and installing the AC97 driver from Realtek AC'97 Audio Codecs in the guest may solve the problem. See Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 1176761 for more information.

    Could not access KVM kernel module: Permission denied

    If you encounter the following error:

    libvirtError: internal error: process exited while connecting to monitor: Could not access KVM kernel module: Permission denied failed to initialize KVM: Permission denied

    Systemd 234 assigns a dynamic ID for the group (see FS#54943). To avoid this error, you need edit the file and change the line with to .

    "System Thread Exception Not Handled" when booting a Windows VM

    Windows 8 or Windows 10 guests may raise a generic compatibility exception at boot, namely "System Thread Exception Not Handled", which tends to be caused by legacy drivers acting strangely on real machines. On KVM machines this issue can generally be solved by setting the CPU model to .

    Certain Windows games/applications crashing/causing a bluescreen

    Occasionally, applications running in the VM may crash unexpectedly, whereas they would run normally on a physical machine. If, while running as root, you encounter an error mentioning , the reason for those crashes is that KVM injects a General protection fault (GPF) when the guest tries to access unsupported Model-specific registers (MSRs) - this often results in guest applications/OS crashing. A number of those issues can be solved by passing the ignore_msrs=1 option to the KVM module, which will ignore unimplemented MSRs.

    Cases where adding this option might help:

    • GeForce Experience complaining about an unsupported CPU being present.
    • StarCraft 2 and L.A. Noire reliably blue-screening Windows 10 with . The blue screen information does not identify a driver file in these cases.

    Applications in the VM experience long delays or take a long time to start

    This may be caused by insufficient available entropy in the VM. Consider allowing the guest to access the hosts's entropy pool by adding a VirtIO RNG device to the VM, or by installing an entropy generating daemon such as Haveged.

    Anecdotally, OpenSSH takes a while to start accepting connections under insufficient entropy, without the logs revealing why.

    High interrupt latency and microstuttering

    This problem manifests itself as small pauses (stutters) and is particularly noticeable in graphics-intensive applications, such as games.

    QXL video causes low resolution

    QEMU 4.1.0 introduced a regression where QXL video can fall back to low resolutions, when being displayed through spice. For example, when KMS starts, text resolution may become as low as 4x10 characters. When trying to increase GUI resolution, it may go to the lowest supported resolution.

    As a workaround, create your device in this form:

    -device qxl-vga,max_outputs=1...

    VM does not boot when using a Secure Boot enabled OVMF

    from  is built with SMM support. If S3 support is not disabled in the VM, then the VM might not boot at all.

    Add the -global ICH9-LPC.disable_s3=1 option to the qemu command.

    See and https://github.com/tianocore/edk2/blob/master/OvmfPkg/README for more details and the required options to use Secure Boot in QEMU.

    VM does not boot into Arch ISO

    When trying to boot the VM for the first time from an Arch ISO image, the boot process hangs. Adding to kernel boot options by pressing in the boot menu you will get more boot messages and the following error:

     :: Mounting '/dev/disk/by-label/ARCH_202204' to '/run/archiso/bootmnt'

    Waiting 30 seconds for device /dev/disk/by-label/ARCH_202204 ...
    ERROR: '/dev/disk/by-label/ARCH_202204' device did not show up after 30 seconds...
       Falling back to interactive prompt
       You can try to fix the problem manually, log out when you are finished
    sh: can't access tty; job control turned off

    The error message does not give a good clue as to what the real issue is. The problem is with the default 128MB of RAM that QEMU allocates to the VM. Increasing the limit to 1024MB with solves the issue and lets the system boot. You can continue installing Arch Linux as usual after that. Once the installation is complete, the memory allocation for the VM can be decreased. The need for 1024MB is due to RAM disk requirements and size of the installation media. See this message on the arch-releng mailing list and this forum thread.

    Guest CPU interrupts are not firing

    If you are writing your own operating system by following the OSDev wiki, or are simply getting stepping through the guest architecture assembly code using QEMU's interface using the flag, it is useful to know that many emulators, QEMU included, usually implement some CPU interrupts leaving many hardware interrupts unimplemented. One way to know if your code if firing an interrupt, is by using:

    -d int

    to enable showing interrupts/exceptions on stdout.

    To see what other guest debugging features QEMU has to offer, see:

    qemu-system-x86_64 -d help

    or replace x86_64 for your chosen guest architecture.

    See also

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