Whonix - Install on KVM

Table of Contents

NOTE: This guide is a simple explanation of the steps for installing Whonix OS on KVM and run it with virt-manager, for your safety, always refer to the Whonix documentation page, there may be updates and/or changes.

You can find the documentation on which I based this guide in the Resources section at the bottom of the page.

Install KVM packages


Update package list:

sudo apt update

Debian (11/bullseye+) on Intel/AMD:

sudo apt install --no-install-recommends qemu-kvm libvirt-daemon-system libvirt-clients virt-manager gir1.2-spiceclientgtk-3.0 dnsmasq qemu-utils

Debian (11/bullseye+) on PowerPC:

sudo apt install --no-install-recommends qemu-system-ppc libvirt-daemon-system libvirt-clients virt-manager gir1.2-spiceclientgtk-3.0 dnsmasq qemu-utils


sudo apt install qemu-kvm libvirt-clients libvirt-daemon-system bridge-utils libguestfs-tools genisoimage virtinst libosinfo-bin virt-manager

Add your user to KVM groups:

sudo adduser "$(whoami)" kvm
sudo adduser "$(whoami)" libvirt

Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S libvirt qemu virt-manager ebtables dnsmasq bridge-utils

Add your user to KVM groups:

sudo usermod -aG kvm "$(whoami)"
sudo usermod -aG libvirt "$(whoami)"

A reboot is required after the installation of qemu, libvirt packages:

sudo reboot

Download the Whonix KVM Image

Download the Whonix libvirt image from here: Whonix wiki - KVM: Download-Whonix

NOTE: Download Whonix images only from the official website and not from other sources! (this is obvious right?)

Download the Whonix KVM Signing Key

1 - Download the “HulaHoop’s OpenPGP key”, see: hulahoop.asc

2 - Check the key fingerprint without import anything:

gpg --keyid-format long --import --import-options show-only --with-fingerprint hulahoop.asc

3 - Verify the output, the key fingerprint must be exactly the same as the following:

Key fingerprint = 04EF 2F66 6D36 C354 058B  9DD4 50C7 8B6F 9FF2 EC85

Original fingerprint: Whonix wiki - KVM: Download the OpenPGP Key

If you see this message:

gpg: key 50C78B6F9FF2EC85: 1 signature not checked due to a missing key

Don’t worry, this is related to The OpenPGP Web of Trust. More information about this here.

NOTE: Do not continue if the fingerprint does not match! This risks using infected or erroneous files! The whole point of verification is to confirm file integrity.

4 - Import the key:

gpg --import hulahoop.asc

gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:               imported: 1

If the Whonix signing key was already imported in the past, the output should include the key is unchanged:

gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:              unchanged: 1

Again, don’t worry if you see this message:

gpg: no ultimately trusted keys found

This message is not relate to the Whonix signing key itself, but instead usually means the user has not created an OpenPGP key yet, which is of no importance when verifying virtual machine images. More information here.

Verify the Whonix KVM Image

1 - Download the (OpenPGP Signature) of the virtual machine image: Whonix wiki - KVM: Download-Whonix

2 - Save the signature in the same folder as the KVM image:

alt text

3 - Open a terminal in this folder and verify the image with gpg:

gpg --verify-options show-notations --verify Whonix*.libvirt.xz.asc Whonix*.libvirt.xz

4 - Verify the output, if the image is correct, the output will inform that the signature is good:

gpg: Good signature from "HulaHoop"

The output might be followed by a warning as follows:

gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature!
gpg:          There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner.

This GPG warning is related to the level of trust placed in the developers signing key and the OpenPGP Web of Trust (see above).

NOTE: Check the GPG signature timestamp. For example, if you previously saw a signature from 2021 and now see a signature from 2020, then there is something wrong.

The first line in the gpg output includes the signature creation timestamp, check this example:

gpg: Signature made Mon 19 Jan 2015 11:45:41 PM CET using RSA key ID 77BB3C48

Also check the file@name value in the gpg output, this value describe the file name. This helps to confirm that the filename has not been tampered with.

gpg: Signature notation: file@name=Whonix-

If the image is not correct, you will see in the output that the signature is bad:

gpg: BAD signature from "HulaHoop"

NOTE: Do not continue if verification fails!

For more information about signature verification see: Verifying Software Signatures

Extract the Whonix KVM Image

1 - Extract the image with tar

tar -xvf Whonix*.libvirt.xz

2 - Read and accept the Whonix ™ binary license agreement:


To accept the license create the following file:


Modify XML configuration

Before importing the virtual machine you can modify the XML file if you want to make your settings:

nano Whonix-Gateway*.xml
nano Whonix-Workstation*.xml

For example I put the KVM images in my home folder, then I changed the related entry in the XML file:

alt text

You can always edit the XML files later, if necessary, see: Editing and Imported Machine’s XML

In any case, be careful what you change, editing configuration defaults is neither recommended nor necessary.

Import Whonix VM Templates

1 - Import Network configuration:

sudo virsh net-define Whonix_external*.xml
sudo virsh net-define Whonix_internal*.xml

2 - Import Whonix Gateway and Workstation images:

sudo virsh define Whonix-Gateway*.xml
sudo virsh define Whonix-Workstation*.xml

Move Whonix Image Files

The XML files are configured to point to the default storage location:


If you need to change this parameter see: Modify XML configuration.

It is recommended to move the image files instead of copying them:

sudo mv Whonix-Gateway*.qcow2 /var/lib/libvirt/images/Whonix-Gateway.qcow2
sudo mv Whonix-Workstation*.qcow2 /var/lib/libvirt/images/Whonix-Workstation.qcow2

If you need to move the images to another folder like one on your home for example:

mv Whonix-Gateway*.qcow2 ~/user/kvm/Whonix-Gateway.qcow2
mv Whonix-Workstation*.qcow2 ~/user/kvm/Whonix-Workstation.qcow2

Remember that the path must match the value in the XML file.

Start Whonix

1 - Start KVM and Whonix Networks:

sudo virsh net-start default
sudo virsh net-start Whonix-External
sudo virsh net-start Whonix-Internal

2 - Start virt-manager

From GUI:

Start Menu → Applications → System → Virtual Machine Manager

Whonix-Gateway → click open → click the play symbol

From terminal:

sudo virsh start Whonix-Gateway
sudo virsh start Whonix-Workstation

You can also modify the parameters from virt-manager, for example I have adjusted the value of the available RAM:

alt text


Whonix ™ for KVM

libvirt - virsh

Whonix wiki - Security:

Computer Security Education

Basic Security Guide

ArchWiki KVM:








Again, many thanks to the Whonix Team and their documentation, and for continuing to develop and maintain this project. Thanks guys.