virt-install Man page

VIRT-INSTALL(1) Virtual Machine Manager VIRT-INSTALL(1)


virt-install – provision new virtual machines


virt-install [OPTION]…


virt-install is a command line tool for creating new KVM, Xen, or Linux
container guests using the “libvirt” hypervisor management library.
See the EXAMPLES section at the end of this document to quickly get

virt-install tool supports graphical installations using (for example)
VNC or SPICE, as well as text mode installs over serial console. The
guest can be configured to use one or more virtual disks, network
interfaces, audio devices, physical USB or PCI devices, among others.

The installation media can be held locally or remotely on NFS, HTTP,
FTP servers. In the latter case “virt-install” will fetch the minimal
files necessary to kick off the installation process, allowing the
guest to fetch the rest of the OS distribution as needed. PXE booting,
and importing an existing disk image (thus skipping the install phase)
are also supported.

Given suitable command line arguments, “virt-install” is capable of
running completely unattended, with the guest ‘kickstarting’ itself
too. This allows for easy automation of guest installs.

Many arguments have sub options, specified like opt1=foo,opt2=bar, etc.
Try –option=? to see a complete list of sub options associated with
that argument, example: virt-install –disk=?

Most options are not required. Minimum requirements are –name,
–memory, guest storage (–disk or –filesystem), and an install

-c URI
–connect URI
Connect to a non-default hypervisor. If this isn’t specified,
libvirt will try and choose the most suitable default.

Some valid options here are:

For creating KVM and QEMU guests to be run by the system
libvirtd instance. This is the default mode that virt-manager
uses, and what most KVM users want.

For creating KVM and QEMU guests for libvirtd running as the
regular user.

For connecting to Xen.

For creating linux containers



General configuration parameters that apply to all types of guest





Name of the new guest virtual machine instance. This must be unique
amongst all guests known to the hypervisor on the connection,
including those not currently active. To re-define an existing
guest, use the virsh tool to shut it down (‘virsh shutdown’) &
delete (‘virsh undefine’) it prior to running “virt-install”.



Memory to allocate for the guest, in MiB. Sub options are
available, like ‘maxmemory’ and ‘hugepages’. This deprecates the
-r/–ram option.

Use –memory=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at



This option will influence how virtual memory pages are backed by
host pages.

Use –memorybacking=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

–arch ARCH
Request a non-native CPU architecture for the guest virtual
machine. If omitted, the host CPU architecture will be used in the

–machine MACHINE
The machine type to emulate. This will typically not need to be
specified for Xen or KVM, but is useful for choosing machine types
of more exotic architectures.

–metadata OPT=VAL,[…] Specify metadata values for the guest. Possible options include
name, uuid, title, and description. This option deprecates
-u/–uuid and –description.

Use –metadata=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

–events OPT=VAL,[…] Specify events values for the guest. Possible options include
on_poweroff, on_reboot, and on_crash.

Use –events=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at

–resource OPT=VAL,[…] Specify resource partitioning for the guest.

Use –resource=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at



Number of virtual cpus to configure for the guest. If ‘maxvcpus’ is
specified, the guest will be able to hotplug up to MAX vcpus while
the guest is running, but will startup with VCPUS.

CPU topology can additionally be specified with sockets, cores, and
threads. If values are omitted, the rest will be autofilled
preferring sockets over cores over threads.

‘cpuset’ sets which physical cpus the guest can use. “CPUSET” is a
comma separated list of numbers, which can also be specified in
ranges or cpus to exclude. Example:

0,2,3,5 : Use processors 0,2,3 and 5
1-5,^3,8 : Use processors 1,2,4,5 and 8

If the value ‘auto’ is passed, virt-install attempts to
automatically determine an optimal cpu pinning using NUMA data, if

Use –vcpus=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at



Tune NUMA policy for the domain process. Example invocations

–numatune 1,2,3,4-7
–numatune 1-3,5,mode=preferred

Specifies the numa nodes to allocate memory from. This has the same
syntax as “–cpuset” option. mode can be one of ‘interleave’,
‘preferred’, or ‘strict’ (the default). See ‘man 8 numactl’ for
information about each mode.

Use –numatune=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at



Tune memory policy for the domain process. Example invocations

–memtune 1000
–memtune hard_limit=100,soft_limit=60,swap_hard_limit=150,min_guarantee=80

Use –memtune=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at



Tune blkio policy for the domain process. Example invocations

–blkiotune 100
–blkiotune weight=100,device_path=/dev/sdc,device_weight=200

Use –blkiotune=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

–cpu MODEL[,+feature][,-feature][,match=MATCH][,vendor=VENDOR] Configure the CPU model and CPU features exposed to the guest. The
only required value is MODEL, which is a valid CPU model as known
to libvirt.

Libvirt’s feature policy values force, require, optional, disable,
or forbid, or with the shorthand ‘+feature’ and ‘-feature’, which
equal ‘force=feature’ and ‘disable=feature’ respectively

Some examples:

–cpu core2duo,+x2apic,disable=vmx
Expose the core2duo CPU model, force enable x2apic, but do not
expose vmx

–cpu host
Expose the host CPUs configuration to the guest. This enables
the guest to take advantage of many of the host CPUs features
(better performance), but may cause issues if migrating the
guest to a host without an identical CPU.

–cpu host-model-only
Expose the nearest host CPU model configuration to the guest.
It is the best CPU which can be used for a guest on any of the

Use –cpu=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at

–security type=TYPE[,label=LABEL][,relabel=yes|no] Configure domain security driver settings. Type can be either
‘static’ or ‘dynamic’. ‘static’ configuration requires a security
LABEL. Specifying LABEL without TYPE implies static configuration.

To have libvirt automatically apply your static label, you must
specify relabel=yes. Otherwise disk images must be manually labeled
by the admin, including images that virt-install is asked to

Use –security=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

–features FEAT=on|off,…
Set elements in the guests XML on or off. Examples
include acpi, apic, eoi, privnet, and hyperv features. Some

–features eoi=on

–features hyperv_vapic=on,hyperv_spinlocks=off
Enable hypver VAPIC, but disable spinlocks

–features kvm_hidden=on
Allow the KVM hypervisor signature to be hidden from the guest

–features pvspinlock=on
Notify the guest that the host supports paravirtual spinlocks
for example by exposing the pvticketlocks mechanism.

Use –features=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

–clock offset=OFFSET,TIMER_OPT=VAL,…
Configure the guest’s XML. Some supported options:

–clock offset=OFFSET
Set the clock offset, ex. ‘utc’ or ‘localtime’

–clock TIMER_present=no
Disable a boolean timer. TIMER here might be hpet, kvmclock,

–clock TIMER_tickpolicy=VAL
Set a timer’s tickpolicy value. TIMER here might be rtc, pit,
etc. VAL might be catchup, delay, etc. Refer to the libvirt
docs for all values.

Use –clock=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at



Configure guest power management features. Example suboptions
include suspend_to_mem=on|off and suspend_to_disk=on|off

Use –pm=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at





File or device used as a virtual CD-ROM device. It can be path to
an ISO image, or to a CDROM device. It can also be a URL from which
to fetch/access a minimal boot ISO image. The URLs take the same
format as described for the “–location” argument. If a cdrom has
been specified via the “–disk” option, and neither “–cdrom” nor
any other install option is specified, the “–disk” cdrom is used
as the install media.



Distribution tree installation source. virt-install can recognize
certain distribution trees and fetches a bootable kernel/initrd
pair to launch the install.

With libvirt 0.9.4 or later, network URL installs work for remote
connections. virt-install will download kernel/initrd to the local
machine, and then upload the media to the remote host. This option
requires the URL to be accessible by both the local and remote

–location allows things like –extra-args for kernel arguments,
and using –initrd-inject. If you want to use those options with
CDROM media, you have a few options:

* Run virt-install as root and do –location ISO

* Mount the ISO at a local directory, and do –location DIRECTORY

* Mount the ISO at a local directory, export that directory over
local http, and do –location http://localhost/DIRECTORY

The “LOCATION” can take one of the following forms:

An HTTP server location containing an installable distribution

An FTP server location containing an installable distribution

nfs:host:/path or nfs://host/path
An NFS server location containing an installable distribution
image. This requires running virt-install as root.

Path to a local directory containing an installable
distribution image. Note that the directory will not be
accessible by the guest after initial boot, so the OS installer
will need another way to access the rest of the install media.

ISO Mount the ISO and probe the directory. This requires running
virt-install as root, and has the same VM access caveat as

Some distro specific url samples:

Fedora/Red Hat Based






Use the PXE boot protocol to load the initial ramdisk and kernel
for starting the guest installation process.

Skip the OS installation process, and build a guest around an
existing disk image. The device used for booting is the first
device specified via “–disk” or “–filesystem”.

Specify that the installation media is a live CD and thus the guest
needs to be configured to boot off the CDROM device permanently. It
may be desirable to also use the “–disk none” flag in combination.



Additional kernel command line arguments to pass to the installer
when performing a guest install from “–location”. One common usage
is specifying an anaconda kickstart file for automated installs,
such as –extra-args “ks=http://myserver/my.ks”

–initrd-inject PATH
Add PATH to the root of the initrd fetched with “–location”. This
can be used to run an automated install without requiring a network
hosted kickstart file:

–initrd-inject=/path/to/my.ks –extra-args “ks=file:/my.ks”

–os-variant OS_VARIANT
Optimize the guest configuration for a specific operating system
(ex. ‘fedora18’, ‘rhel7’, ‘winxp’). While not requires, specifying
this options is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as it can greatly increase
performance by specifying virtio among other guest tweaks.

By default, virt-install will attempt to auto detect this value
from the install media (currently only supported for URL installs).
Autodetection can be disabled with the special value ‘none’.
Autodetection can be forced with the special value ‘auto’.

Use the command “osinfo-query os” to get the list of the accepted
OS variants.

Optionally specify the post-install VM boot configuration. This
option allows specifying a boot device order, permanently booting
off kernel/initrd with option kernel arguments, and enabling a BIOS
boot menu (requires libvirt 0.8.3 or later)

–boot can be specified in addition to other install options (such
as –location, –cdrom, etc.) or can be specified on its own. In
the latter case, behavior is similar to the –import install
option: there is no ‘install’ phase, the guest is just created and
launched as specified.

Some examples:

–boot cdrom,fd,hd,network,menu=on
Set the boot device priority as first cdrom, first floppy,
first harddisk, network PXE boot. Additionally enable BIOS boot
menu prompt.

–boot kernel=KERNEL,initrd=INITRD,kernel_args=”console=/dev/ttyS0″
Have guest permanently boot off a local kernel/initrd pair,
with the specified kernel options.

–boot kernel=KERNEL,initrd=INITRD,dtb=DTB
Have guest permanently boot off a local kernel/initrd pair with
an external device tree binary. DTB can be required for some
non-x86 configurations like ARM or PPC

–boot loader=BIOSPATH
Use BIOSPATH as the virtual machine BIOS.

–boot menu=on,useserial=on
Enable the bios boot menu, and enable sending bios text output
over serial console.

–boot init=INITPATH
Path to a binary that the container guest will init. If a root
“–filesystem” has been specified, virt-install will default to
/sbin/init, otherwise will default to /bin/sh.

–boot uefi
Configure the VM to boot from UEFI. In order for virt-install
to know the correct UEFI parameters, libvirt needs to be
advertising known UEFI binaries via domcapabilities XML, so
this will likely only work if using properly configured distro

Specify that the virtual machine use the custom OVMF binary as
boot firmware, mapped as a virtual flash chip. In addition,
request that libvirt instantiate the VM-specific UEFI varstore
from the custom “/…/OVMF_VARS.fd” varstore template. This is
the recommended UEFI setup, and should be used if –boot uefi
doesn’t know about your UEFI binaries.

Use –boot=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at



If the guest configuration declares a UID or GID mapping, the
‘user’ namespace will be enabled to apply these. A suitably
configured UID/GID mapping is a pre-requisite to make containers
secure, in the absence of sVirt confinement.

–idmap can be specified to enable user namespace for LXC


Use –idmap=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at





Specifies media to use as storage for the guest, with various
options. The general format of a disk string is

–disk opt1=val1,opt2=val2,…

The simplest invocation to create a new 10G disk image and
associated disk device:

–disk size=10

virt-install will generate a path name, and place it in the default
image location for the hypervisor. To specify media, the command
can either be:

–disk /some/storage/path[,opt1=val1]…

or explicitly specify one of the following arguments:

A path to some storage media to use, existing or not. Existing
media can be a file or block device.

Specifying a non-existent path implies attempting to create the
new storage, and will require specifying a ‘size’ value. Even
for remote hosts, virt-install will try to use libvirt storage
APIs to automatically create the given path.

If the hypervisor supports it, path can also be a network URL,
like . For network paths, they
hypervisor will directly access the storage, nothing is
downloaded locally.

An existing libvirt storage pool name to create new storage on.
Requires specifying a ‘size’ value.

vol An existing libvirt storage volume to use. This is specified as

Other available options:

Disk device type. Value can be ‘cdrom’, ‘disk’, ‘lun’ or
‘floppy’. Default is ‘disk’. If a ‘cdrom’ is specified, and no
install method is chosen, the cdrom is used as the install

Guest installation with multiple disks will need this parameter
to boot correctly after being installed. A boot_order parameter
will take values 1,2,3,… Devices with lower value has higher

bus Disk bus type. Value can be ‘ide’, ‘sata’, ‘scsi’, ‘usb’,
‘virtio’ or ‘xen’. The default is hypervisor dependent since
not all hypervisors support all bus types.

Sets the removable flag (/sys/block/$dev/removable on Linux).
Only used with QEMU and bus=usb. Value can be ‘on’ or ‘off’.

Set drive as readonly (takes ‘on’ or ‘off’)

Set drive as shareable (takes ‘on’ or ‘off’)

size (in GiB) to use if creating new storage

whether to skip fully allocating newly created storage. Value
is ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Default is ‘yes’ (do not fully allocate)
unless it isn’t supported by the underlying storage type.

The initial time taken to fully-allocate the guest virtual disk
(sparse=no) will be usually balanced by faster install times
inside the guest. Thus use of this option is recommended to
ensure consistently high performance and to avoid I/O errors in
the guest should the host filesystem fill up.

Path to a disk to use as the backing store for the newly
created image.

The cache mode to be used. The host pagecache provides cache
memory. The cache value can be ‘none’, ‘writethrough’,
‘directsync’, ‘unsafe’ or ‘writeback’. ‘writethrough’ provides
read caching. ‘writeback’ provides read and write caching.
‘directsync’ bypasses the host page cache. ‘unsafe’ may cache
all content and ignore flush requests from the guest.

Whether discard (also known as “trim” or “unmap”) requests are
ignored or passed to the filesystem. The value can be either
“unmap” (allow the discard request to be passed) or “ignore”
(ignore the discard request). Since 1.0.6 (QEMU and KVM only)

Disk image format. For file volumes, this can be ‘raw’,
‘qcow2’, ‘vmdk’, etc. See format types in
for possible values. This is
often mapped to the driver_type value as well.

If not specified when creating file images, this will default
to ‘qcow2’.

If creating storage, this will be the format of the new image.
If using an existing image, this overrides libvirt’s format

Driver name the hypervisor should use when accessing the
specified storage. Typically does not need to be set by the

Driver format/type the hypervisor should use when accessing the
specified storage. Typically does not need to be set by the

io Disk IO backend. Can be either “threads” or “native”.

How guest should react if a write error is encountered. Can be
one of “stop”, “ignore”, or “enospace”

Serial number of the emulated disk device. This is used in
linux guests to set /dev/disk/by-id symlinks. An example serial
number might be: WD-WMAP9A966149

It defines what to do with the disk if the source file is not
accessible. See possible values in

See the examples section for some uses. This option deprecates
-f/–file, -s/–file-size, –nonsparse, and –nodisks.

Use –disk=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at

Specifies a directory on the host to export to the guest. The most
simple invocation is:

–filesystem /source/on/host,/target/point/in/guest

Which will work for recent QEMU and linux guest OS or LXC
containers. For QEMU, the target point is just a mounting hint in
sysfs, so will not be automatically mounted.

The following explicit options can be specified:

The type or the source directory. Valid values are ‘mount’ (the
default) or ‘template’ for OpenVZ templates.

The access mode for the source directory from the guest OS.
Only used with QEMU and type=mount. Valid modes are
‘passthrough’ (the default), ‘mapped’, or ‘squash’. See libvirt
domain XML documentation for more info.

The directory on the host to share.

The mount location to use in the guest.

Use –filesystem=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at







Connect the guest to the host network. The value for “NETWORK” can
take one of 4 formats:

Connect to a bridge device in the host called “BRIDGE”. Use
this option if the host has static networking config & the
guest requires full outbound and inbound connectivity to/from
the LAN. Also use this if live migration will be used with this



Connect to a virtual network in the host called “NAME”. Virtual
networks can be listed, created, deleted using the “virsh”
command line tool. In an unmodified install of “libvirt” there
is usually a virtual network with a name of “default”. Use a
virtual network if the host has dynamic networking (eg
NetworkManager), or using wireless. The guest will be NATed to
the LAN by whichever connection is active.

type=direct,source=IFACE[,source_mode=MODE] Direct connect to host interface IFACE using macvtap.

Connect to the LAN using SLIRP. Only use this if running a QEMU
guest as an unprivileged user. This provides a very limited
form of NAT.

Tell virt-install not to add any default network interface.

If this option is omitted a single NIC will be created in the
guest. If there is a bridge device in the host with a physical
interface enslaved, that will be used for connectivity. Failing
that, the virtual network called “default” will be used. This
option can be specified multiple times to setup more than one NIC.

Other available options are:

Network device model as seen by the guest. Value can be any nic
model supported by the hypervisor, e.g.: ‘e1000’, ‘rtl8139’,
‘virtio’, …

mac Fixed MAC address for the guest; If this parameter is omitted,
or the value “RANDOM” is specified a suitable address will be
randomly generated. For Xen virtual machines it is required
that the first 3 pairs in the MAC address be the sequence
’00:16:3e’, while for QEMU or KVM virtual machines it must be

Controlling firewall and network filtering in libvirt. Value
can be any nwfilter defined by the “virsh” ‘nwfilter’
subcommands. Available filters can be listed by running ‘virsh
nwfilter-list’, e.g.: ‘clean-traffic’, ‘no-mac-spoofing’, …

The type of virtual port profile, one the following values

The following additional parameters are accepted

The VSI Manager ID identifies the database containing
the VSI type and instance definitions. This is an
integer value and the value 0 is reserved.

The VSI Type ID identifies a VSI type characterizing
the network access. VSI types are typically managed by
network administrator. This is an integer value.

The VSI Type Version allows multiple versions of a VSI
Type. This is an integer value.

The VSI Instance ID Identifier is generated when a VSI
instance (i.e. a virtual interface of a virtual
machine) is created. This is a globally unique

The following additional parameters are accepted

The profile ID contains the name of the port profile
that is to be applied to this interface. This name is
resolved by the port profile database into the network
parameters from the port profile, and those network
parameters will be applied to this interface.

The following additional parameters are accepted

The OpenVSwitch port profile for the interface

A UUID to uniquely identify the interface. If omitted
one will be generated automatically

The following additional parameters are accepted

A UUID identifying the port in the network to which the
interface will be bound

Use –network=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

This option deprecates -m/–mac, -b/–bridge, and –nonetworks



If no graphics option is specified, “virt-install” will try to select
the appropriate graphics if the DISPLAY environment variable is set,
otherwise ‘–graphics none’ is used.

–graphics TYPE,opt1=arg1,opt2=arg2,…
Specifies the graphical display configuration. This does not
configure any virtual hardware, just how the guest’s graphical
display can be accessed. Typically the user does not need to
specify this option, virt-install will try and choose a useful
default, and launch a suitable connection.

General format of a graphical string is

–graphics TYPE,opt1=arg1,opt2=arg2,…

For example:

–graphics vnc,password=foobar

The supported options are:

The display type. This is one of:


Setup a virtual console in the guest and export it as a VNC
server in the host. Unless the “port” parameter is also
provided, the VNC server will run on the first free port number
at 5900 or above. The actual VNC display allocated can be
obtained using the “vncdisplay” command to “virsh” (or
virt-viewer can be used which handles this detail for the


Export the guest’s console using the Spice protocol. Spice
allows advanced features like audio and USB device streaming,
as well as improved graphical performance.

Using spice graphic type will work as if those arguments were

–video qxl –channel spicevmc


No graphical console will be allocated for the guest. Guests
will likely need to have a text console configured on the first
serial port in the guest (this can be done via the –extra-args
option). The command ‘virsh console NAME’ can be used to
connect to the serial device.

Request a permanent, statically assigned port number for the
guest console. This is used by ‘vnc’ and ‘spice’

Specify the spice tlsport.

Address to listen on for VNC/Spice connections. Default is
typically (localhost only), but some hypervisors
allow changing this globally (for example, the qemu driver
default can be changed in /etc/libvirt/qemu.conf). Use
to allow access from other machines. This is use by ‘vnc’ and

Request that the virtual VNC console be configured to run with
a specific keyboard layout. If the special value ‘local’ is
specified, virt-install will attempt to configure to use the
same keymap as the local system. A value of ‘none’ specifically
defers to the hypervisor. Default behavior is hypervisor
specific, but typically is the same as ‘local’. This is used by

Request a VNC password, required at connection time. Beware,
this info may end up in virt-install log files, so don’t use an
important password. This is used by ‘vnc’ and ‘spice’

Use –graphics=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

This deprecates the following options: –vnc, –vncport,
–vnclisten, -k/–keymap, –sdl, –nographics

Don’t automatically try to connect to the guest console. The
default behaviour is to launch virt-viewer to display the
graphical console, or to run the “virsh” “console” command to
display the text console. Use of this parameter will disable this



Options to override the default virtualization type choices.

Request the use of full virtualization, if both para & full
virtualization are available on the host. This parameter may not be
available if connecting to a Xen hypervisor on a machine without
hardware virtualization support. This parameter is implied if
connecting to a QEMU based hypervisor.

This guest should be a paravirtualized guest. If the host supports
both para & full virtualization, and neither this parameter nor the
“–hvm” are specified, this will be assumed.

This guest should be a container type guest. This option is only
required if the hypervisor supports other guest types as well (so
for example this option is the default behavior for LXC and OpenVZ,
but is provided for completeness).

The hypervisor to install on. Example choices are kvm, qemu, or
xen. Available options are listed via ‘virsh capabilities’ in the

This deprecates the –accelerate option, which is now the default
behavior. To install a plain QEMU guest, use ‘–virt-type qemu’





Attach a controller device to the guest. TYPE is one of: ide, fdc,
scsi, sata, virtio-serial, or usb.

Controller also supports the special values usb2 and usb3 to
specify which version of the USB controller should be used (version
2 or 3).

Controller model. These may vary according to the hypervisor
and its version. Most commonly used models are e.g. auto,
virtio-scsi for the scsi controller, ehci or none for the usb
controller. For full list and further details on
controllers/models, see

Controller address, current PCI of form

A decimal integer describing in which order the bus controller
is encountered, and to reference the controller bus.

Applicable to USB companion controllers, to define the master
bus startport.


–controller usb,model=ich9-ehci1,address=0:0:4.0,index=0
Adds a ICH9 EHCI1 USB controller on PCI address 0:0:4.0

–controller usb,model=ich9-uhci2,address=0:0:4.7,index=0,master=2
Adds a ICH9 UHCI2 USB companion controller for the previous
master controller, ports start from port number 2.

The parameter multifunction=’on’ will be added automatically to
the proper device (if needed). This applies to all PCI

Use –controller=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at



Attach an input device to the guest. Example input device types are
mouse, tablet, or keyboard.

Use –input=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at





Attach a physical host device to the guest. Some example values for

–hostdev pci_0000_00_1b_0
A node device name via libvirt, as shown by ‘virsh

–hostdev 001.003
USB by bus, device (via lsusb).

–hostdev 0x1234:0x5678
USB by vendor, product (via lsusb).

–hostdev 1f.01.02
PCI device (via lspci).

Use –hostdev=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

–sound MODEL
Attach a virtual audio device to the guest. MODEL specifies the
emulated sound card model. Possible values are ich6, ich9, ac97,
es1370, sb16, pcspk, or default. ‘default’ will try to pick the
best model that the specified OS supports.

This deprecates the old –soundhw option.

Use –sound=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at

–watchdog MODEL[,action=ACTION] Attach a virtual hardware watchdog device to the guest. This
requires a daemon and device driver in the guest. The watchdog
fires a signal when the virtual machine appears to hung. ACTION
specifies what libvirt will do when the watchdog fires. Values are

Forcefully reset the guest (the default)

Forcefully power off the guest

Pause the guest

Do nothing

Gracefully shutdown the guest (not recommended, since a hung
guest probably won’t respond to a graceful shutdown)

MODEL is the emulated device model: either i6300esb (the default)
or ib700. Some examples:

Use the recommended settings:

–watchdog default

Use the i6300esb with the ‘poweroff’ action

–watchdog i6300esb,action=poweroff

Use –watchdog=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at





Specifies a serial device to attach to the guest, with various
options. The general format of a serial string is

–serial type,opt1=val1,opt2=val2,…

–serial and –parallel devices share all the same options, unless
otherwise noted. Some of the types of character device redirection

–serial pty
Pseudo TTY. The allocated pty will be listed in the running
guests XML description.

–serial dev,path=HOSTPATH
Host device. For serial devices, this could be /dev/ttyS0. For
parallel devices, this could be /dev/parport0.

–serial file,path=FILE


Write output to FILENAME.

–serial pipe,path=PIPEPATH
Named pipe (see pipe(7))

–serial tcp,host=HOST:PORT,mode=MODE,protocol=PROTOCOL
TCP net console. MODE is either ‘bind’ (wait for connections on
HOST:PORT) or ‘connect’ (send output to HOST:PORT), default is
‘bind’. HOST defaults to ‘’, but PORT is required.
PROTOCOL can be either ‘raw’ or ‘telnet’ (default ‘raw’). If
‘telnet’, the port acts like a telnet server or client. Some

Wait for connections on any address, port 4567:

–serial tcp,host=

Connect to localhost, port 1234:

–serial tcp,host=:1234,mode=connect

Wait for telnet connection on localhost, port 2222. The user
could then connect interactively to this console via ‘telnet
localhost 2222’:

–serial tcp,host=:2222,mode=bind,protocol=telnet

–serial udp,host=CONNECT_HOST:PORT,bind_host=BIND_HOST:BIND_PORT
UDP net console. HOST:PORT is the destination to send output to
(default HOST is ‘’, PORT is required).
BIND_HOST:BIND_PORT is the optional local address to bind to
(default BIND_HOST is, but is only set if BIND_PORT
is specified). Some examples:

Send output to default syslog port (may need to edit
/etc/rsyslog.conf accordingly):

–serial udp,host=:514

Send output to remote host, port 4444 (this
output can be read on the remote host using ‘nc -u -l 4444’):

–serial udp,host=

–serial unix,path=UNIXPATH,mode=MODE
Unix socket, see unix(7). MODE has similar behavior and
defaults as –serial tcp,mode=MODE

Use –serial=? or –parallel=? to see a list of all available sub
options. Complete details at

Specifies a communication channel device to connect the guest and
host machine. This option uses the same options as –serial and
–parallel for specifying the host/source end of the channel. Extra
‘target’ options are used to specify how the guest machine sees the

Some of the types of character device redirection are:

–channel SOURCE,target_type=guestfwd,target_address=HOST:PORT
Communication channel using QEMU usermode networking stack. The
guest can connect to the channel using the specified HOST:PORT

–channel SOURCE,target_type=virtio[,name=NAME] Communication channel using virtio serial (requires 2.6.34 or
later host and guest). Each instance of a virtio –channel line
is exposed in the guest as /dev/vport0p1, /dev/vport0p2, etc.
NAME is optional metadata, and can be any string, such as
org.linux-kvm.virtioport1. If specified, this will be exposed
in the guest at /sys/class/virtio-ports/vport0p1/


–channel spicevmc,target_type=virtio[,name=NAME] Communication channel for QEMU spice agent, using virtio serial
(requires 2.6.34 or later host and guest). NAME is optional
metadata, and can be any string, such as the default
com.redhat.spice.0 that specifies how the guest will see the

Use –channel=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

Connect a text console between the guest and host. Certain guest
and hypervisor combinations can automatically set up a getty in the
guest, so an out of the box text login can be provided
(target_type=xen for xen paravirt guests, and possibly
target_type=virtio in the future).


–console pty,target_type=virtio
Connect a virtio console to the guest, redirected to a PTY on
the host. For supported guests, this exposes /dev/hvc0 in the
guest. See
for more info. virtio console requires libvirt 0.8.3 or later.

Use –console=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at



Specify what video device model will be attached to the guest.
Valid values for VIDEO are hypervisor specific, but some options
for recent kvm are cirrus, vga, qxl, or vmvga (vmware).

Use –video=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at

–smartcard MODE[,OPTIONS] Configure a virtual smartcard device.

Mode is one of host, host-certificates, or passthrough. Additional
options are:

Character device type to connect to on the host. This is only
applicable for passthrough mode.

An example invocation:

–smartcard passthrough,type=spicevmc
Use the smartcard channel of a SPICE graphics device to pass
smartcard info to the guest

Use –smartcard=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

–redirdev BUS[,OPTIONS] Add a redirected device.

The redirection type, currently supported is tcp or spicevmc.

The TCP server connection details, of the form ‘server:port’.

Examples of invocation:

–redirdev usb,type=tcp,server=localhost:4000
Add a USB redirected device provided by the TCP server on
‘localhost’ port 4000.

–redirdev usb,type=spicevmc
Add a USB device redirected via a dedicated Spice channel.

Use –redirdev=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

–memballoon MODEL
Attach a virtual memory balloon device to the guest. If the
memballoon device needs to be explicitly disabled, MODEL=’none’ is

MODEL is the type of memballoon device provided. The value can be
‘virtio’, ‘xen’ or ‘none’. Some examples:

Use the recommended settings:

–memballoon virtio

Do not use memballoon device:

–memballoon none

Use –memballoon=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

–tpm TYPE[,OPTIONS] Configure a virtual TPM device.

Type must be passthrough. Additional options are:

The device model to present to the guest operating system.
Model must be tpm-tis.

An example invocation:

–tpm passthrough,model=tpm-tis
Make the host’s TPM accessible to a single guest.

–tpm /dev/tpm
Convenience option for passing through the hosts TPM.

Use –tpm=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at

–rng TYPE[,OPTIONS] Configure a virtual RNG device.

Type can be random or egd.

If the specified type is random then these values must be

The device to use as a source of entropy.

Whereas, when the type is egd, these values must be provided:

Specify the host of the Entropy Gathering Daemon to connect to.

Specify the port of the Entropy Gathering Daemon to connect to.

Specify the type of the connection: tcp or udp.

Specify the mode of the connection. It is either ‘bind’ (wait
for connections on HOST:PORT) or ‘connect’ (send output to

Specify the remote host to connect to when the specified
backend_type is udp and backend_mode is bind.

Specify the remote service to connect to when the specified
backend_type is udp and backend_mode is bind.

An example invocation:

Connect to localhost to the TCP port 8000 to get entropy data.

–rng /dev/random
Use the /dev/random device to get entropy data, this form
implicitly uses the “random” model.

Use –rng=? to see a list of all available sub options.
Complete details at

–panic OPTS
Attach a panic notifier device to the guest. For the recommended
settings, use:

–panic default

Use –panic=? to see a list of all available sub options. Complete
details at



Show the help message and exit

Show program’s version number and exit

Set the autostart flag for a domain. This causes the domain to be
started on host boot up.

–print-xml [STEP] Print the generated XML of the guest, instead of defining it. By
default this WILL do storage creation (can be disabled with
–dry-run). This option implies –quiet.

If the VM install has multiple phases, by default this will print
all generated XML. If you want to print a particular step, use
–print-xml 2 (for the second phase XML).

Prevent the domain from automatically rebooting after the install
has completed.

–wait WAIT
Amount of time to wait (in minutes) for a VM to complete its
install. Without this option, virt-install will wait for the
console to close (not necessarily indicating the guest has
shutdown), or in the case of –noautoconsole, simply kick off the
install and exit. Any negative value will make virt-install wait
indefinitely, a value of 0 triggers the same results as
noautoconsole. If the time limit is exceeded, virt-install simply
exits, leaving the virtual machine in its current state.

Proceed through the guest creation process, but do NOT create
storage devices, change host device configuration, or actually
teach libvirt about the guest. virt-install may still fetch
install media, since this is required to properly detect the OS to

Enable or disable some validation checks. Some examples are warning
about using a disk that’s already assigned to another VM (–check
path_in_use=on|off), or warning about potentially running out of
space during disk allocation (–check disk_size=on|off). Most
checks are performed by default.

Only print fatal error messages.

Print debugging information to the terminal when running the
install process. The debugging information is also stored in
“~/.cache/virt-manager/virt-install.log” even if this parameter is

Install a Fedora 20 KVM guest with virtio accelerated disk/network,
creating a new 10GiB qcow2 file, installing from media in the hosts
CDROM drive. This will use Spice graphics by default, and launch
autolaunch a graphical client.

# virt-install \
–connect qemu:///system \
–virt-type kvm \
–name demo \
–memory 500 \
–disk size=10 \
–cdrom /dev/cdrom \
–os-variant fedora13

Install a Fedora 9 plain QEMU guest, using LVM partition, virtual
networking, booting from PXE, using VNC server/viewer, with virtio-scsi

# virt-install \
–connect qemu:///system \
–name demo \
–memory 500 \
–disk path=/dev/HostVG/DemoVM,bus=scsi \
–controller virtio-scsi \
–network network=default \
–virt-type qemu
–graphics vnc \
–os-variant fedora9

Run a Live CD image under Xen fullyvirt, in diskless environment

# virt-install \
–hvm \
–name demo \
–memory 500 \
–disk none \
–livecd \
–graphics vnc \
–cdrom /root/fedora7live.iso

Run /usr/bin/httpd in a linux container guest (LXC). Resource usage is
capped at 512 MiB of ram and 2 host cpus:

# virt-install \
–connect lxc:/// \
–name httpd_guest \
–memory 512 \
–vcpus 2 \
–init /usr/bin/httpd

Start a linux container guest(LXC) with a private root filesystem,
using /bin/sh as init. Container’s root will be under host dir
/home/LXC. The host dir “/home/test” will be mounted at “/mnt” dir
inside container:

# virt-install \
–connect lxc:/// \
–name container \
–memory 128 \
–filesystem /home/LXC,/ \
–filesystem /home/test,/mnt \
–init /bin/sh

Install a paravirtualized Xen guest, 500 MiB of RAM, a 5 GiB of disk,
and Fedora Core 6 from a web server, in text-only mode, with old style
–file options:

# virt-install \
–paravirt \
–name demo \
–memory 500 \
–disk /var/lib/xen/images/demo.img,size=6 \
–graphics none \

Create a guest from an existing disk image ‘mydisk.img’ using defaults
for the rest of the options.

# virt-install \
–name demo \
–memory 512 \
–disk /home/user/VMs/mydisk.img \

Start serial QEMU ARM VM, which requires specifying a manual kernel.

# virt-install \
–name armtest \
–memory 1024 \
–arch armv7l –machine vexpress-a9 \
–disk /home/user/VMs/myarmdisk.img \
–boot kernel=/tmp/my-arm-kernel,initrd=/tmp/my-arm-initrd,dtb=/tmp/my-arm-dtb,kernel_args=”console=ttyAMA0 rw root=/dev/mmcblk0p3″ \
–graphics none


Please see


Copyright (C) Red Hat, Inc, and various contributors. This is free
software. You may redistribute copies of it under the terms of the GNU
General Public License “”. There is
NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


virsh, “virt-clone“, “virt-manager“, the project website

1.3.2 2016-07-20 VIRT-INSTALL(1)