How to run OVMF

Brian Richardson edited this page Apr 16, 2018 · 4 revisions
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How to run OVMF with QEMU or KVM.


In order to run OVMF with QEMU, you must have QEMU version 0.9.1 or newer installed on your system.

To install on Debian/Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install qemu

Get a build of OVMF.fd

You can build OVMF based on the latest version of EDK II.

Pre-built images are available at

  • These images are automatically built and track the latest OVMF code in the EDK II tree.
  • Some of these builds include a seabios CSM and can boot non-UEFI “legacy” operating systems. Note: seabios is GPLv3 licensed)
  • If your OS doesn’t work with RPM repositories, then you can manually download and decompress the RPM files under jenkins/edk2

Choose the correct processor architecture

Be sure to align the processor architecture for OVMF with the proper processor archtecture of QEMU.

For the IA32 build of OVMF, there is a little more choice, since the X64 processor is also compatible with IA32. Therefore, with the IA32 build of OVMF, you can use the following commands: qemu, qemu-system-i386 or qemu-system-x86_64.

For the X64 build of OVMF, however, you can only use the qemu-system-x86_64 command.

Setup a BIOS directory for OVMF QEMU

To use OVMF with QEMU, we utilize the -L QEMU command line parameter. This paramter takes a directory path, and QEMU will load the bios.bin from this directory.

Create a directory, and cd to the directory

For example:

bash$ mkdir ~/run-ovmf
bash$ cd ~/run-ovmf

Next, copy the OVMF.fd file into this directory, but rename OVMF.fd to bios.bin:

bash$ cp /path/to/ovmf/OVMF.fd bios.bin

Next, create a directory to use as a hard disk image for QEMU

(QEMU can turn the contents of a directory into a disk image 'on-the-fly'):

bash$ mkdir hda-contents

Run QEMU using OVMF

Here is a sample command:

bash$ qemu-system-x86_64 -L . -hda fat:hda-contents

If everything goes well, you should see a graphic logo, and the UEFI shell should start.

Note: iPXE is enabled on recent builds of QEMU, and may try to network boot if a valid network adapter is detected. To disable iPXE, add -net none to the command line.

Optional: Point directly to UEFI firmware in edk2/Build directory

The path to the OVMF.fd image can be directly provided on the command line, rather than copying to another directory. Example for debug image built using GCC5, with iPXE disabled:

qemu-system-x86_64 -L . --bios ~/src/edk2/Build/OvmfX64/DEBUG_GCC5/FV/OVMF.fd -net none

QEMU with -pflash

qemu-system-x86_64 -pflash bios.bin -hda fat:hda-contents -net none

Optional: QEMU with Read/Write Fat file system using a host directory

(Beware that QEMU makes the virtual FAT table once and host could get out of sync and QEMU might get confused)

qemu-system-x86_64 -pflash bios.bin -hda fat:rw:hda-contents -net none

Potential issues


Although the latest versions of OVMF should now support the latest versions of KVM, there is still a chance that you might encounter issues when using KVM. If OVMF fails to boot on QEMU (with KVM), try disabling KVM.