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Cannot install Windows 7 HVM unless "cirrus" driver is used #2488

lorenzog opened this Issue Dec 5, 2016 · 15 comments


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lorenzog commented Dec 5, 2016

Qubes OS version (e.g., R3.2): 3.2

Affected TemplateVMs (e.g., fedora-23, if applicable): N/A

Expected behavior: Installing a Windows HVM should at least show the install screen

Actual behavior: The HVM is stuck at the "glowing logo"

Steps to reproduce the behavior:

  1. Install a windows HVM following the documentation
  2. Watch the glowing logo glow

To fix:

  1. Create a new Windows HVM with qvm-create --hvm --label green win7

  2. Start it with an install ISO as described in the documentation

  3. The VM will be stuck at the glowing logo: kill it with qubes VM manager

  4. Copy the configuration file: cp /var/lib/qubes/appvms/win7/win7.conf /tmp

  5. Edit the file, substituting the video driver from 'xen' to 'cirrus':

  6. Start the VM using the modified config file: qvm-start win7 --custom-config=/tmp/win7.conf

  7. Install windows note Windows will reboot a few times: make sure to start the VM with the --custom-config argument every time

  8. When windows is successfully installed, disable driver signing with bcedit (see install docs)

  9. Start the VM, but use the Qubes Tools option: qvm-start win7 --install-windows-tools

  10. The VM will get stuck at the glowing logo: kill it with Qubes VM manager

  11. Copy the config file: cp /var/lib/qubes/appvms/win7/win7.conf /tmp

  12. Edit the file, replacing 'xen' with 'cirrus' like at step 5 (note: this file will not have the windows ISO as cdrom but the Qubes Tools ISO instead)

  13. Start the VM using the modified config file: qvm-start win7 --custom-config=/tmp/win7.conf

  14. Install Qubes tools, making sure to reboot with the --custom-config

  15. When the Qubes tools are installed, try booting the VM with its own config file: qvm-start win7

  16. The VM should now be running with the Xen driver.

General notes:

Related issues:


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mfc commented Dec 7, 2016


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MegaTraveller commented Dec 28, 2016

Working, only thing is, that you have to run
sudo qubes-dom0-update --enablerepo=qubes-dom0-current-testing qubes-windows-tools
otherwise thewindows-tools are not downloaded, because of an issue with the repo.


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BlueOrigin commented Jan 6, 2017

The very first line of this procedure results in this output:

Wrong label name, supported values are the following:

  • blue
  • gray
  • green
  • yellow
  • orange
  • black
  • purple
  • red

I think the syntax is wrong...


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lorenzog commented Jan 6, 2017

@BlueOrigin --label L was intended to mean "give it a color you want". I've put "green" now.


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mfc commented Apr 23, 2017

this needs to be captured in the documentation at minimum.

also this seems like something that could be easily fixed to reduce major user headaches related to a major feature (Windows 7 integration).

@andrewdavidwong andrewdavidwong added this to the Release 3.2 updates milestone Apr 23, 2017


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bogdanstoica35 commented Jun 2, 2017

Thanks for sharing the fix. It worked just fine in my case.


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vemrun commented Jun 30, 2017

Qubes OS version : R3.2
General notes:

I have problem with install Windows on QubeOS with HVM.
When i runing vm with windows system my vm stop and loading file /windows/system32/drivers/CLASSPBP.SYS and i have glowning logo but i fix this with this solution:
I change "xen" to "cirrus" in vga but,
i finish in steps 5 because
when i run vm with custom config:

  <domain type='xen'>
  <memory unit='MiB'>10000</memory>
  <currentMemory unit='MiB'>10000</currentMemory>
  <vcpu placement='static'>2</vcpu>
    <type arch='x86_64' machine='xenfv'>hvm</type>
    <boot dev='cdrom'/>
    <boot dev='hd'/>
  <clock offset='variable' adjustment='0' basis='localtime'/>
    <!--<emulator type='stubdom'/>-->
    <emulator type='stubdom' cmdline='-net lwip,client_ip=,server_ip=,dns=,gw=,netmask='/>
    <disk type='block' device='disk'>
      <driver name='phy'/>
      <source dev='/var/lib/qubes/appvms/win/root.img'/>
      <target dev='xvda' bus='xen'/>

    <disk type='block' device='disk'>
      <driver name='phy'/>
      <source dev='/var/lib/qubes/appvms/win/private.img'/>
      <target dev='xvdb' bus='xen'/>

    <interface type='ethernet'>
      <mac address='00:16:3E:5E:6C:09'/>
      <ip address=''/>
      <script path='vif-route-qubes'/>
      <backenddomain name='sys-whonix'/>

    <input type='tablet' bus='usb'/>
    <video type='vga'>
      <model type='cirrus' vram='16384'/>

Appears me screen with this error:
Please help me with this error and im sorry for my bad english :D


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jcholsap commented Jul 27, 2017

It sure would be nice to be able to pass a parameter via qvm-start. something like --vga=cirrus. seems to me that this might prove useful for other (less popular) vm's. btw, i remember windows has a history of vga probs at install


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hugoncosta commented Aug 10, 2017

I did everything as instructed, but after installing Qubes' tools, the machine would boot up but not show anything (even though I wasn't on seemless GUI). I tried opening programmes using the qvm-run and nothing happened. I followed a french tutorial and used this command

qvm-prefs -s (win7) qrexec_timeout 300

And it's currently working


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chesheer-smile commented Sep 5, 2017

Thank you! This instruction totally works.
What is strange, though, it's that I actually installed Windows 7 a couple days before just following official documentation with no problems at all. And having my *.img files accidentally corrupted I had to reinstall it.. And then this particular problem with glowing logo appeared. Looks like it's kinda random.


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Jommoner commented Sep 10, 2017

I had the same experience, reinstalling Windows 7 several times (getting a BSOD once installation was complete due to another issue); a few times I needed to use cirrus rather than xen for the video driver, although there seems to be no way to reproduce the behaviour.

Could there be a footnote in the official documentation, describing how to do the 'cirrus' fix - a short entry after the qvm-start --cdrom instruction, saying 'if you get stuck on a glowing Windows 7 logo, then, on some systems, the following workaround may help:' - this would probably save a lot of time for people who need 'cirrus' and experiment and google for a while till they stumble upon it, like I did!


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andrewdavidwong commented Sep 10, 2017

@Jommoner: Thanks for the report. If you're interested in contributing the documentation fix, please see here for how to contribute.

niccokunzmann added a commit to niccokunzmann/qubes-doc that referenced this issue Oct 7, 2017

Add link when getting stuck at glowing logo
This issue explains the behavior and solution.
I add this documentation where I would have liked to find it.

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niccokunzmann commented Oct 7, 2017

When I tried installing the Windows tools with --install-windows-tools, it still used the Windows 7 cdrom image.

The fix was to add the qubes-windows-tools-*.iso to the edited config file:

  1. Edit /tmp/win7.conf and go to the <disk type='block' device='cdrom'> section. In it, do the following:
  2. replace the path of the Windows iso file with /usr/lib/qubes/qubes-windows-tools- (name may change)
  3. set the <backenddomain name='...'> to <backenddomain name='dom0'>

Then, you can start the Windows vm again with qvm-start win7 --custom-config=/tmp/win7.conf. The Windows tools can be found in the cdrom drive and can be installed.


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boistordu commented Oct 15, 2017

@hugoncosta I have the same problem than you and the changing of timeout didn't do the trick. I'm still with a running win7 vm but no GUI, not appearing apps or whatsoever


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boistordu commented Oct 15, 2017

no it's okey... Apparently the reboot went wrong after installation or the installation itself.
So I needed to launch the vm in debug mode, then uninstall the tools, reboot,reinstall them, reboot, making sure that everything was in order. then shutdown. try a qvm start without debug mode this time and it was okey. There are still some bugs. The pid bug is still there I think and starting fro the qubes manager seems to be slightly different than start from the terminal

marmarek added a commit to marmarek/qubes-core-admin that referenced this issue Dec 28, 2017

Allow to choose emulated video model via qvm-features
Add feature named 'video-model' to choose custom video model. It needs
to be supported by libvirt:

Example usage:

    qvm-features vm-name video-model cirrus


marmarek added a commit to marmarek/qubes-core-admin-client that referenced this issue Jan 5, 2018

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