Jan 6, 2014 - 1 minute read

Running Windows XP using Libvirt inside Ubuntu inside VMWare Fusion

So I’m investigating running Windows XP inside libvirt in Ubuntu on my MacBook for continuous integration testing purposes with Jenkins. I tried for many hours to get it working but Windows would not boot up or it would get stuck on the NTLDR cannot be found issue. As it turns out, I did not enable “Enable hypervisor applications in this virtual machine”. I was under the assumption that I would not need to check that box as I wrongly assumed qemu would handle all the needed machine translation and that an error with bootup is not the fault of lacking the ability to use a CPU feature to emulate something or the disk emulation being borked. With five different ISOs of various pedigrees, I tried installing Windows XP with virt-manager and all of them failed to bootup with various disk image formats like qcow2 or raw. It was only until I checked that checkbox did it then work.

That’s my surprise for today. I really wished I checked that checkbox earlier! It determines if your machine can bootup and only using qemu without kvm will not cut it for booting Windows XP inside libvirt inside Ubuntu inside VMWare Fusion.