Which VM for a Windows guest in 2022?

It’s been a while since I’ve used VMs on linux so I’m pretty out of date on the current VM landscape. I haven’t done any research on this yet (I’m not even sure of the available options or the relationships between things like libvirt & Gnome Boxes) so would appreciate a couple of starting points.

My use for a Windows VM is for testing & creating release packages for cross-platform software I’m writing. I don’t need high performance, fast graphics, or hardware access, and have plenty of RAM available. I mainly want quick replicable setup, and a minimum of likely issues during use (ie. I don’t want to spend a ton of time on this aspect of my process).

Additionally, on the software side, I seem to remember Microsoft having Windows 10 eval install images available. Is this still the case and is it how people mostly set up Windows VMs on Linux these days? Or are there any installed images available for any of the Linux VM platforms (I guess not because of licensing, but it would be nice as the Windows installer is such a mess).

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The Windows VM I use was a manual install of Win 10 I did a long time ago. Once installed, I copied the virtual machine (virtual hard drive) to my backup from which I can recover a vanilla Win10 with a few clicks should things go sideways. In addition, I make a backup of the VM from time to time to capture a “latest” state. (The vanilla Win10 would probably take 10+ consecutive days for updates)

As for the virtualization solution, I use VirtualBox, for historical reasons.

If you want to automate iso download and configuration, and use KVM/libvirt (which I would prefer), have a look at GitHub - quickemu-project/quickemu: Quickly create and run optimised Windows, macOS and Linux desktop virtual machines. by Martin Wimpress. Not sure it can run out of the box on Fedora, but you should be able to satisfy all dependencies.


Thanks, that looks great. I’ll give it a try.

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Quickemu turns out to be really nice - it was very simple to set up, and the VM seems great. Haven’t used it in anger yet, but so far so good.


Just out of curiosity, was is straightforward to satisfy all dependencies?

It was. I only needed qemu and spice-gtk-tools. I’m not sure which of the other dependencies came by default with Fedora 36 and which I had installed myself for other purposes, other than clang which I had added.

I didn’t actually go through the dependency list systematically - just eyeballed it and assumed something would blow up if I missed anything critical.

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I recomment libvirtd and virt-manager. They’re included as part of standard Fedora, and part of the larger ovirt project should you someday have grander intentions in virtualization.

But I also recommend you TRY the windows application in wine first. Perhaps try using the PlayOnLinux project, which repackages wine and allows easy compartmentalization of each windows app, so if one works best in Win2k and another best in Win10 every app can be in its most ideal environment.

VMs work. But if you use Wine, you don’t have to deal with the rest of the windows and VM “baggage” (updates, and your apps being stuck inside VM windows, copy and paste, and different filesystems)

Cheers, but a VM is more appropriate than Wine for testing software I’m working on: