How to Set up Virtual machines with QEMU GUI on Windows 10

Qemu is an 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.
Qemu install & setup on windows

Qemu install & setup on windows

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 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.

Windows x86_64 installer

If you don’t want to install it, go for the portable version.

Windows x86_64 portable

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.

  1. In the first column “QEMU binaries path” copy-paste this: C:\Program Files\qemu\ Or enter the path where you have installed the QEMU.
  2. For the second column enter the path of Qemu-img file that is: C:\Program Files\qemu\qemu-img.exe
  3. 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.

QTEMU GUI for QEMU on Windows 10 configuration

QTEMU GUI for QEMU on Windows 10 configuration

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.

Create New Virtual machine

Create New Virtual machine

Leave the Machine which is meant to select some particular motherboard chipset.

QTEMU Machine page

QTEMU Machine page

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 set the CPU count, cores, Thread as shown in below screenshot.

Set CPU in QTemu

Set CPU in QTemu


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.

Accelerator Tiny code generator

Accelerator Tiny code generator

Set the amount of RAM you want to assign to your VM.

Set Qemu GUI RAM Memory

Set Qemu GUI RAM Memory

Create new hard disk on Qemu

Create new hard disk on Qemu

Set Qemu hard disk

Set Qemu hard disk

Machine Summary

Machine Summary

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.

VM machine Settings

VM machine Settings

There select the Boot options from the right-side panel and after that check the “Enable boot menu” and then CD ROM option following the Save button.

Set bootable medium in Qtemu

Set bootable medium in Qtemu


Step 7: Insert ISO file in QEMU via Qtemu GUI

Under the Machine settings, go to Media menu and click on the CD icon. This will open the Windows file explorer, navigate to ISO file of the OS which you want to boot with-in QEMU and click on the Save button.

Select ISO file as bootable medium

Select ISO file as a bootable medium

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.

Boot QEMU virtual machine

Boot QEMU virtual machine

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.

Qemu installation on Windows 10 with Qtemu GUI

Qemu installation on Windows 10 with Qtemu GUI

Verdict:

Although the CLI can be used to create and manage Virtual machine on Windows 10 using the QEMU, with 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.


 

One Response

  1. Miles Buckton July 24, 2020

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