Virtual Machine Manager w/UEFI support

If you are a Linux user and want to run different OS’ for testing or what have you, there is no need to look further than Virtual Machine Manager, free and open source.

In this tutorial, we will be going through the steps to get Virtual Machine Manager, also known as “Virt-manager”, installed on an Arch based system. Visit the Virt-manager project page here for more information.

If you are running DeLinuxCo 22.1.2 or higher, to install and configure Virt-Manager, just run one simple command in the terminal:


To install and configure on any Arch based distro, here are the four easy steps;

  1. Install the required software packages from the terminal.
    sudo pacman -S virt-manager qemu-full vde2 dnsmasq bridge-utils edk2-ovmf
    Note, edk2-ovmf must be installed in order to use UEFI!
  2. Add your current user to the group “libvirt”.
    sudo usermod -G libvirt -a $USER
    Note, “$USER” can be changed to which ever user you want to give access, leaving $USER automatically adds the currently logged in user.
  3. Next you need to start & enable the libvirt service.
    sudo systemctl enable libvirtd.service
    sudo systemctl start libvirtd.service
  4. Autostart Networking
    sudo virsh net-start default
    sudo virsh net-autostart default

Now you should have a menu item named Virtual Machine Manager to start the VM.

Please keep in mind that Virt-manager stores all image files in /var/lib, so if you have a small root partition, you will run out storage space quickly. It is best to have the /var folder as a separate drive or partition and on an SSD or nvme drive.

Our little Distribution “DeLinuxCo” is based on Manjaro Cinnamon Desktop and if you have ever tried to test out Linux Mint or any other Cinnamon Desktop on a virtual machine, you are very aware of the “You are running in software mode, check your graphics drivers”. This makes for a poor evaluation or operation of the distribution because it was designed to have 3D enabled. This is why on our downloads page, it is discouraged from evaluating DeLinuxCo in VirtualBox, but with Virt-manager, you can experience native performance in a VM.

The following is going to be how to setup a VM to test out DeLinuxCo, but I encourage you to test out Linux Mint as well as Ubuntu or Fedora, so that you can see how well it works.

To get started, click on the top left icon to create a new VM.

Virtual Machine Manager window
This is your start screen

Select QEMU/KVM and click connect.

Virt-manager Connection

Select “Local install media” and click Forward.

Virt-manager, select local install media
Select Local Media

Select the ISO file you wish to use to boot.

Virt-manager, select ISO image
Select ISO file for boot

When selecting “Browse” you will be presented with this dialog box and it requires a little explanation. On the left pane are your “pools”, you can create as many pools as you wish. Pools are predefined folders of disk and ISO images. For example, you may only see “default”, and these are usually your existing VM drives. On this machine the user has a folder in the Downloads directory called “ISO”. This is where all ISO’s that are downloaded are stored, (notice the location path on the right pane). A new pool was added by clicking the + sign and adding a pool that points to the ../Downloads/ISO directory. This allows grouping of your media. Your ISO’s are always listed, you choose and go! Once you have your pool setup, select DelInuxCo ISO and click on Choose Volume.

Virt-manager pool screen

At the bottom, select the type of OS you are installing, in this case it is Arch based, so type Arch and select.

Virt-manager, select OS type

Next, select your memory, 4096 GB really should be your minimum when using a 64 bit OS. CPU’s 2 at the very minimum

Virt-manager, set memory and CPU

Now create a storage drive, for testing 20GB should be enough.

Virt-manager, set HDD size

****IMPORTANT STEP**** After giving your VM a name, you MUST check “Customize configuration before install” in order to enable UEFI!

Virt-manager, name the VM
Important step!

Upon clicking “Finish” in the above dialog box, you will be greeted with the Details screen! VERY IMPORTANT!!! If you want to boot in UEFI mode, you must select UEFI from the Firmware pull down then click “Apply”. If you skip this step, you will not be able to go back and change it.

Virt-manager, set UEFI

Once UEFI is selected, or not, you could begin the installation by clicking the button on the top left “Begin Installation”. But there is a little idiosyncrasy to this procedure that you must be aware of.
If you Begin Installation now, the VM will boot from the ISO file, but here is the caveat, it will only do this one time. If you have any issues booting, next time you go to reboot it will error out saying no bootable drive.
So, to fix this, click on the left pane under SATA CDROM 1;

Virt-manager, SATA CDROM 1
CDROM image

Now, verify that the image you selected is on the source path, if not select it again., then click Apply.

Then click on “Boot Options” on the left pane and make sure that SATA CDROM 1 is checked and then move it to the beginning or top of the boot order, then click Apply.

Virt-manager, boot menu
Boot menu

Next, we need to change the graphics settings to take advantage of the 3D Desktop. Click on Video QXL on the left pane and it should have defaulted to QXL under Model.

Virt-manager, video QXL
Video QXL

Change it to Virtio and select 3D Acceleration as in the image below, then click Apply.

Virt-manager, Virtio
QXL to Virtio

Next, select “Display Spice” on the left pane, and it should default to the image below.

Virt-manager, Display Spice
Default Display Spice

Set all settings as the image below, with the exception of the Keymap, set that to your appropriate language/country, click Apply

Virt-manager, Spice Server
New Display Spice Settings

One final step before booting, set the VM to auto resize with the window, then click Apply.

Virt-manager, Auto Resize
Set VM to auto resize

From the View menu, select Console, then from Virtual Machine, select Run to start your VM, you should be greeted with the Installer screen. Note, sometimes you may have a blank screen that seems to not be doing anything, just be patient and wait.

Virt-manager, ISO Boot screen

Once the ISO boots to the Desktop, it may look squished like below.

Virt-manager, ISO running

If all is working well, either maximize the window or from the View menu select Fullscreen and the VM should resize and not give warnings about software rendering mode.

Virt-manager, ISO full screen

To learn more about libvirt, visit the Arch Linux Wiki