qvm-prefs – List/set various per-VM properties


qvm-prefs qvm-prefs [-h] [–verbose] [–quiet] [–force-root] [–help-properties] VMNAME [PROPERTY [VALUE | –default ]]


--help, -h

Show help message and exit.


List available properties with short descriptions and exit.


Do not show properties that are set to the default value.

--verbose, -v

Increase verbosity.

--quiet, -q

Decrease verbosity.

--default, -D

Reset property to its default value.

--get, -g

Ignored; for compatibility with older scripts.

--set, -s

Ignored; for compatibility with older scripts.

Property values

Some properties may have strict type, here is description of available values.


Accepted values for true: True, true, on, 1 Accepted values for false: False, false, off, 0

For example to enable debug mode, use: qvm-prefs vmname debug on


Reference to a VM can be either a VM name, or empty string for no VM (remember to quote it, empty string is not the same as lack of argument!).

For example to change netvm to sys-whonix, use: qvm-prefs vmname netvm sys-whonix. Or to make VM offline, use: qvm-prefs vmname netvm "".

Common properties

This list is non-exhaustive. For authoritative listing, see --help-properties and documentation of the source code.


Property type: bool

Start the VM during system startup. The default netvm is autostarted regardless of this setting.


Property type: bool

Enables debug mode for VM. This can be used to turn on/off verbose logging in many Qubes components at once (gui virtualization, VM kernel, some other services). Also, for HVM, this will show VGA output, regardless of GUI agent being installed or not.


Property type: VM

Which Disposable VMs should be userd when requested by this VM, by default. VM may request different DispVM, if qrexec policy allows that.


Accepted values: username

Default user used by qvm-run(1). Note that it make sense only on non-standard template, as the standard one always have “user” account.

TemplateBasedVM uses its template’s value as a default.


Property type: bool

Allow to use this VM as a base AppVM for Disposable VM. I.e. start this AppVM as Disposable VM.


Property type: bool

Control whenever this VM will be included in backups by default (for now works only in qubes-manager). You can always manually select or deselect any VM for backup.


Accepted values: valid IPv4 address

IP address of this VM, used for inter-vm communication.


Accepted values: kernel version, empty

Kernel version to use. Setting to empty value will use bootloader installed in root volume (of VM’s template) - available only for HVM.

TemplateBasedVM uses its template’s value as a default.


Accepted values: string

VM kernel parameters (available only for PV VMs). This can be used to workaround some hardware specific problems (eg for NetVM). For VM without PCI devices default means inherit this value from the VM template (if any). Some helpful options (for debugging purposes): earlyprintk=xen, init=/bin/bash

TemplateBasedVM uses its template’s value as a default.


Accepted values: red, orange, yellow, green, gray, blue, purple, black

Color of VM label (icon, appmenus, windows border). If VM is running, change will be applied at first VM restart.


Accepted values: MAC address, auto

Can be used to force specific of virtual ethernet card in the VM. Setting to auto will use automatic-generated MAC - based on VM id. Especially useful when licensing requires a static MAC address. For template-based HVM auto mode means to clone template MAC.


Accepted values: memory size in MB

Maximum memory size available for this VM. Dynamic memory management (aka qmemman) will not be able to balloon over this limit. For VMs with qmemman disabled, this will be overridden by memory property (at VM startup).

TemplateBasedVM uses its template’s value as a default.


Accepted values: memory size in MB

Initial memory size for VM. This should be large enough to allow VM startup - before qmemman starts managing memory for this VM. For VM with qmemman disabled, this is static memory size.

TemplateBasedVM uses its template’s value as a default.


Accepted values: alphanumerical name

Name of the VM. Cannot be changed.


Property type: VM

To which NetVM connect. Default value (–default option) will follow system-global default NetVM (managed by qubes-prefs). Setting to empty name will disable networking in this VM.


Property type: bool

Should this VM provide network to other VMs. Setting this property to True will allow to set this VM as netvm to other VMs.


Accepted values: timeout in seconds

How long to wait for VM boot and qrexec agent connection. After this timeout, if qrexec agent is still not connected, VM is forcefully shut down. Ignored if qrexec not installed at all (qrexec feature not set, see qvm-features(1)).

TemplateBasedVM uses its template’s value as a default.


Accepted values: memory in MB

Amount of memory to allocate to stubdomain. By default let Xen choose sensible value. This property is mostly for debugging early stubdomain implementations and may be removed in the future, without notice.


Property type: VM

TemplateVM on which VM is based. It can be changed only when VM isn’t running.


Accepted values: no of CPUs

Number of CPU (cores) available to VM. Some VM types (eg DispVM) will not work properly with more than one CPU.

TemplateBasedVM uses its template’s value as a default.


Accepted values: hvm, pvh, pv

Virtualisation mode in which VM should be started. hvm allows installation of operating system without Xen-specific integration.

TemplateBasedVM uses its template’s value as a default.


Joanna Rutkowska <joanna at invisiblethingslab dot com>
Rafal Wojtczuk <rafal at invisiblethingslab dot com>
Marek Marczykowski <marmarek at invisiblethingslab dot com>
Wojtek Porczyk <woju at invisiblethingslab dot com>