Installation Guide

Hardware Requirements

Please see the system requirements and Hardware Compatibility List pages for more information on required and recommended hardware.

Note: We don’t recommend installing Qubes in a virtual machine! It will likely not work. Please don’t send emails asking about it. You can, however, install it on an external USB hard drive and run from it, at least for testing. (Bear in mind, however, that such disks are typically orders of magnitude slower than even the slowest internal hard drives). We also have a live USB option (currently in alpha).

Downloading the ISO

See the downloads page for ISO downloads. Remember, we have absolutely no control over those servers, so you should be assuming that they might be compromised, or just be serving compromised ISOs because their operators decided so, for whatever reason. Always verify the digital signature on the downloaded ISO. Make sure to read our guide on verifying signatures for more info about how to download and verify our PGP keys and verify the downloaded ISO.

Copying the ISO onto the installation medium

Once you verify this is an authentic ISO, you should copy it onto the installation medium of your choice, such as a DVD or a USB drive. (Please note that there are important security considerations to keep in mind when choosing an installation medium.)

If you prefer to use a USB drive, then you just need to copy the ISO onto the USB device, e.g. using dd:

dd if=Qubes-R3-x86_64.iso of=/dev/sdX

Change Qubes-R3-x86_64.iso to the filename of the version you’re installing, and change /dev/sdX to the correct target device (e.g., /dev/sda). Warning: Choosing the wrong device could result in data loss. Make sure to write to the entire device (e.g., /dev/sda) rather than just a single partition (e.g., /dev/sda1).

On Windows, you can use the Rufus tool. Be sure to select “DD image” mode (you need to do that after selecting the Qubes ISO):

Before proceeding with the installation, you are encouraged to first read all the information on this page. When you’re ready, boot your system from the installation source and follow the on-screen instructions. The installer is very simple and asks very few questions. (It’s actually easier to install Qubes right now than most other Linux distributions!)

The installer loads Xen right at the beginning, so chances are high that if you can see the installer’s graphical screen, Qubes will work on your system. :)

Installing to a USB drive

Installing an operating system onto a USB drive can be a convenient and secure method of ensuring that your data is protected. Be advised that a minimum storage of 32 GB is required on the USB drive. This installation process may take longer than an installation on a standard hard disk. The installation process is identical to using a hard disk in conjunction with two exceptions:

  • Select the USB as the storage location for the OS.

  • Leave the option checked to “Automatically configure my Qubes installation to the disk(s) I selected and return me to the main menu”.

Upgrading

For instructions in upgrading an existing installation, please see the Release Notes of the version to which you want to upgrade. All of these release notes are available from the main downloads page.

Getting Help

  • We work very hard on making the documentation accurate, comprehensive, and useful. We urge you to read it! It may very well contain the answers to your questions. (Since the documentation is a community effort, we’d also greatly appreciate your help in improving it!)

  • If you don’t find your answer in the documentation, it may be time to consult the mailing lists, as well as the many other available sources of help.

  • Please do not email individual developers (Marek, Joanna, etc.) with questions about installation or other problems. Please send all such questions to the appropriate mailing list.