Installation Guide

Qubes 4.0.1 Warning

Immediately after installing Qubes 4.0.1, please upgrade all of your Debian and Whonix TemplateVMs by executing the following commands in a dom0 terminal, as applicable for the templates you chose to install:

$ sudo qubes-dom0-update --action=upgrade qubes-template-debian-9
$ sudo qubes-dom0-update --enablerepo=qubes-templates-community --action=upgrade qubes-template-whonix-gw-14
$ sudo qubes-dom0-update --enablerepo=qubes-templates-community --action=upgrade qubes-template-whonix-ws-14

These upgrades are required in order to be protected from the APT update mechanism vulnerability that was announced and patched in QSB #46, which was after the release of Qubes 4.0.1. This method is simpler than the method recommended in QSB #46, but it is just as safe and effective so long as it is performed immediately after installing Qubes OS.

Hardware Requirements

Qubes OS has very specific system requirements. To ensure compatibility, we strongly recommend using Qubes-certified hardware. Other hardware may require you to perform significant troubleshooting. You may also find it helpful to consult user submissions to the Hardware Compatibility List.

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 (at least 32 GB) 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.

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 a sufficiently large installation medium, such as a USB drive, dual-layer DVD, or Blu-ray disc. (The size of each Qubes ISO is listed on the downloads page.) Note that there are security considerations to keep in mind when choosing an installation medium.

If you’re using 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 bs=1048576 && sync

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/sdc). Warning: Choosing the wrong device could result in data loss. Make sure to write to the entire device (e.g., /dev/sdc) rather than just a single partition (e.g., /dev/sdc1).

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):

Warning: If you do that on Windows 10, you can only install Qubes without MediaTest, which isn’t recommended.

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 and you pass the compatibility check that runs immediately after that, Qubes will work on your system. :)

If you’re an advanced user, and you’d like to customize your installation, please see Custom Installation.

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”.


For instructions in upgrading an existing installation, please see Upgrade Guides.

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, etc.) with questions about installation or other problems. Please send all such questions to the appropriate mailing list.