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QEMU running Windows 2000 on Red Hat Linux.

QEMU (Quick Emulator) is a free, open-source hypervisor and emulator that runs on several operating systems, including many major Linux distros, Mac OS, Microsoft Windows, and BSD, and a few others.

It is capable of running pretty much all major x86 operating systems, including Windows, Linux, MS-DOS and BSD (and much more), and in addition is also capable of emulating other architectures, including ARM, MIPS, SPARC, PowerPC and MicroBlaze, there are also many forks of QEMU that add emulation of other systems like the Xbox, Z80 and Macintosh 128K.

QEMU is the only emulator supported in CollabVM 1.2. CollabVM 2.0 will have a wider selection of virtualizors and emulators.

Operating modes[edit]

System emulation[edit]

System emulation mode emulates an entire computer system, including peripherals. As mentioned above, it is capable of booting nearly all major x86 operating systems. System emulation mode is very slow (although faster than Bochs, at a cost of accuracy) - it should only be used if:

  • The host server is running an OpenVZ variant of Linux.
  • You do not have root permissions on the OS.
  • The host operating system does not run well with KVM (e.g. Windows 98 should not be ran with KVM)


QEMU can run operating systems at near native speeds with KVM. QEMU still emulates the hardware, but the execution of the guest is done by KVM as requested by QEMU. You can enable KVM by adding -enable-kvm to the startup arguments.

Table of contents[edit]