Qemu is open-source software for virtualization on Windows 10/8/7, Linux, and macOS but with a command-line interface, lightweight, and low hardware requirements.
QEMU stands for “Quick Emulator” and is the standard tool for virtualization and CPU emulation under Linux, Windows, and macOS. On Linux systems, QEMU uses the functions of the Linux kernel for virtualization (KVM- Kernel Virtual Machine), which are not available under Windows.
Thus, the binaries of Qemu’s ported version for Windows by Stefan Weil couldn’t provide the performance as it gives on Linux OS with KVM. Thus VirtualBox or Vmware player will be the best alternative options; still, if you want to try then here in this Qemu tutorial, we will let know the way to download, install and use Qemu on Windows 10 or 7 using its GUI VM manager Qtemu, an open-source software.
Qemu installation on Windows 10 with Qtemu GUI
Step 1: Download Qemu for Windows
From the official website of the Qemu, we can download it easily even the source code. Visit it and click on the Windows tab, it will take you to another page https://qemu.weilnetz.de to download 32 bit or 64 bit of this virtualization platform. Here we are getting the 64 bit.
Step 2: Install Qemu
Now, like any other Windows 10/7 software, just double click on the downloaded setup of Qemu and follow the installation wizard.
- Accept the suggested language setting, by default it will be English. Select the “OK” button.
- Press the NEXT button.
- Confirm the usual license terms (GNU General Public License) with “Accept“.
- All modules required for QEMU have already been selected in the “Select components” dialogue. Confirm with “Next”.
- Check the suggested destination folder and go to “Install“.
- Click on “Finish” to complete the setup of QEMU.
Step 3: Install GUI for QEMU on Windows 10
As we know the QEMU uses the command line to create virtual machines by default. But it would be not feasible for standard computer users using CLI to manage virtual machines, thus we install another open-source application to provide a Graphical user interface (GUI) to QEMU. This program is known as Qtemu which is a fork of a dead project available at https://qtemu.org.
Here are the links to download an active Qtemu project for Windows 10/8/7 available on Gitlab.
If you don’t want to install it, go for the portable version.
Gitlab Page Link of the project.
Step 4: Setup QEMU manager Qtemu GUI
After the installation of Qtemu run it from the Windows Start menu.
- In the first column “QEMU binaries path” copy-paste this: C:\Program Files\qemu\ Or enter the path where you have installed the QEMU.
- For the second column enter the path of the Qemu-img file that is: C:\Program Files\qemu\qemu-img.exe
- Now create a folder anywhere on your computer where you want to save the virtual machines created by QEMU. And click on the folder icon given in the front of the third column to select that particular folder.
Note: You can change this configuration any time from the Qtemu Settings.
After that click on the Finish button.
Step 5: Create a Virtual machine
Now, from Qemu GUI manager Qtemu, simply click on Machine and select New Machine.
Leave the Machine which is meant to select some particular motherboard chipset.
Configure the Virtual Machine hardware, select the CPU type such as Core 2 Duo, Base, or any CPU that Qemu would be able to emulate on your system whereas setting the CPU count, cores, Thread as shown below screenshot.
By Default, the HAXM- Hardware Accelerated Execution will be selected in the Qtemu but in case the HAXM is not supported by your system or not available, thus uncheck it and check TCG- Tiny Code Generator.
Set the amount of RAM you want to assign to your VM.
Step 6: Set bootable medium CD/DVD
Now, everything is ready, we have created a Virtual machine, its time to set a bootable medium to CD; so that our ISO file could be used while booting the QEMU VM.
For that right-click on the created VM on the QTEMU interface and select Machine Settings.
There select the Boot options from the right-side panel and after that check the “Enable boot menu” and then the CD ROM option following the Save button.
Step 7: Insert ISO file in QEMU via Qtemu GUI
Under the Machine settings, go to the Media menu and click on the CD icon. This will open the Windows file explorer, navigate to the ISO file of the OS with which you want to boot in QEMU, and click on the Save button.
Step 8: Boot Qemu Virtual Machine via GUI
Now, on the main interface of the Qtemu GUI, select the created VM and click on the start button. This will open the boot screen.
Wait for a few minutes depending upon the OS distribution you are using, it will show the LIVE screen of the same. However, I tried to boot and install Windows 10 on Qemu using the GUI but it was quite sluggish and slow.
Although the CLI can be used to create and manage a Virtual machine on Windows 10 using the QEMU, with the Qtemu GUI tool it becomes quite easy, however, in my case it worked well with Lightweight Linux Distros but for Windows guest VMs quite slow and low performance. I recommend using VirtualBox instead. Yet, if someone wants to experience Qemu on Windows 10 this is the easiest possible way. Still, be cautious with Qtemu hardware configuration because slight here and there will not let you boot the VM.