virt-xml Man page

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


virt-xml – Edit libvirt XML using command line options.




virt-xml is a command line tool for editing libvirt XML using explicit
command line options. See the EXAMPLES section at the end of this
document to jump right in.

Each virt-xml invocation requires 3 things: name of an existing domain
to alter (or XML passed on stdin), an action to on the XML, and an XML
change to make. actions are one of:

–add-device: Append a new device definition to the XML
–remove-device: Remove an existing device definition –edit: Edit an
existing XML block –build-xml: Just build the requested XML block and
print it (no domain or input XML are required here).

An XML change is one instance of any of the XML options provided by
virt-xml, for example –disk or –boot.

virt-xml only allows one action and XML pair per invocation. If you
need to make multiple edits, invoke the command multiple times.


-c URI
Connect to a non-default hypervisor. See virt-install for

domain is the name, UUID, or ID of the existing VM. This can be
omitted if using –build-xml, or if XML is passed on stdin.

When a domain is specified, the default output action is –define,
even if the VM is running. To update the running VM configuration,
add the –update option (but not all options/devices support
updating the running VM configuration).

If XML is passed on stdin, the default output is –print-xml.

–edit [EDIT-OPTIONS] Edit the specified XML block. EDIT-OPTIONS tell virt-xml which
block to edit. The type of XML that we are editing is decided by
XML option that is passed to virt-xml. So if –disk is passed,
EDIT-OPTIONS select which block to edit.

Certain XML options only ever map to a single XML block, like
–cpu, –security, –boot, –clock, and a few others. In those
cases, virt-xml will not complain if a corresponding XML block does
not already exist, it will create it for you.

Most XML options support a special value ‘clearxml=yes’. When
combined with –edit, it will completely blank out the XML block
being edited before applying the requested changes. This allows
completely rebuilding an XML block. See EXAMPLES for some usage.

EDIT-OPTIONS examples:

–edit without any options implies ‘edit the first block’. So
‘–edit –disk DISK-OPTIONS’ means ‘edit the first ‘.

For the single XML block options mentioned above, plain
‘–edit’ without any options is what you always want to use.

–edit #
Select the specified XML block number. So ‘–edit 2 –disk
DISK-OPTS’ means ‘edit the second ‘. This option only
really applies for device XML.

–edit all
Modify every XML block of the XML option type. So ‘–edit all
–disk DISK-OPTS’ means ‘edit ever block’. This option
only really applies for device XML.

–edit DEVICE-


Modify every XML block that matches the passed device options.
The device options are in the same format as would be passed to
the XML option.

So ‘–edit path=/tmp/foo –disk DISK-OPTS’ means ‘edit every
with path /tmp/foo’. This option only really applies for
device XML.

Append the specified XML options to the XML list.
Example: ‘–add-device –disk DISK-OPTIONS’ will create a new
block and add it to the XML.

This option will error if specified with a non-device XML option
(see –edit section for a partial list).

Remove the specified device from the XML. The device to remove is
chosen by the XML option, which takes arguments in the same format
as –edit. Examples

–remove-device –disk 2
Remove the second disk device

–remove-device –network all
Remove all network devices

–remove-device –sound pcspk
Remove all sound devices with model=’pcspk’

This option will error if specified with a non-device XML option
(see –edit section for a partial list).

Just build the specified XML, and print it to stdout. No input
domain or input XML is required. Example: ‘–build-xml –disk
DISK-OPTIONS’ will just print the new device.

This option will error if specified with an XML option that does
not map cleanly to a specific XML block, like –vcpus or –memory.



These options decide what action to take after altering the XML. In the
common case these do not need to be specified, as ‘XML actions’ will
imply a default output action, described in detail above. These are
only needed if you want to modify the default output.

If the specified domain is running, attempt to alter the running VM
configuration. If combined with –edit, this is an update
operation. If combined with –add-device, this is a device hotplug.
If combined with –remove-device, this is a device hotunplug.

Keep in mind, most XML properties and devices do not support live
update operations, so don’t expect it to succeed in all cases.

Define the requested XML change. This is typically the default if
no output option is specified, but if a –print option is
specified, –define is required to force the change.

Print the generated XML change in unified diff format. If only this
output option is specified, all other output options are disabled
and no persistent change is made.

Print the generated XML in its entirety. If only this output option
is specified, all other output options are disabled and no
persistent change is made.

Before defining or updating the domain, show the generated XML diff
and interactively request confirmation.



These options alter the XML for a single class of XML elements.
More complete documentation is found in virt-install.

Generally these options map pretty straightforwardly to the libvirt
XML, documented at

Option strings are in the format of: –option opt=val,opt2=val2,…
example: –disk path=/tmp/foo,shareable=on. Properties can be used
with ‘–option opt=,’, so to clear a disks cache setting you could
use ‘–disk cache=,’

For any option, use –option=? to see a list of all available sub
options, example: –disk=? or –boot=?

–help output also lists a few general examples. See the EXAMPLES
section below for some common examples.



Show the help message and exit

Show program’s version number and exit

Avoid verbose output.

Print debugging information

See a list of all suboptions that –disk and –network take

# virt-xml –disk=? –network=?

Change the of domain ‘EXAMPLE’:

# virt-xml EXAMPLE –edit –metadata description=”my new description”

# Enable the boot device menu for domain ‘EXAMPLE’:

# virt-xml EXAMPLE –edit –boot menu=on

Clear the previous definition of domain ‘winxp’, change it to
‘host-model’, but interactively confirm the diff before saving:

# virt-xml winxp –edit –cpu host-model,clearxml=yes –confirm

Change the second sound card to model=ich6 on ‘fedora19’, but only
output the diff:

# virt-xml fedora19 –edit 2 –sound model=ich6 –print-diff

Update the every graphics device password to ‘foo’ of the running VM

# virt-xml rhel6 –edit all –graphics password=foo –update

Remove the disk path from disk device hdc:

# virt-xml rhel6 –edit target=hdc –disk path=

Change all disk devices of type ‘disk’ to use cache=none, using XML
from stdin, printing the new XML to stdout.

# cat | virt-xml –edit device=disk –disk cache=none

Change disk ‘hda’ IO to native and use startup policy as ‘optional’.

# virt-xml fedora20 –edit target=hda \
–disk io=native,startup_policy=optional

Change all host devices to use driver_name=vfio for VM ‘fedora20’ on
the remote connection

# virt-xml –connect qemu+ssh://remotehost/system \
fedora20 –edit all –hostdev driver_name=vfio

Hotplug host USB device 001.003 to running domain ‘fedora19’:

# virt-xml fedora19 –update –add-device –hostdev 001.003

Add a spicevmc channel to the domain ‘winxp’, that will be available
after the next VM shutdown.

# virt-xml winxp –add-device –channel spicevmc

Create a 10G qcow2 disk image and attach it to ‘fedora18’ for the next
VM startup:

# virt-xml fedora18 –add-device \
–disk /var/lib/libvirt/images/newimage.qcow2,format=qcow2,size=10

Hotunplug the disk vdb from the running domain ‘rhel7’:

# virt-xml rhel7 –update –remove-device –disk target=vdb

Remove all graphics devices from the VM ‘rhel7’ after the next

# virt-xml rhel7 –remove-device –graphics all

Generate XML for a virtio console device and print it to stdout:

# virt-xml –build-xml –console pty,target_type=virtio


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.


virt-install, the project website “”

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