We've been using KVM for almost a year strictly on CentOS 5.x as the KVM host, with Fedora and Ubuntu workstations accessing the KVM host and its guests using virt-manager, virt-viewer, and ssh.

Is anyone aware of a way to access the KVM host using virt-manager from a Windows workstation? We have one co-worker who would like to access the KVM host, from a Win7 system.


I'm familiar with running a X11 server on windows such as Xming, and remote displaying virt-manager from the KVM host to a windows workstation, but what I'd really like here is to know of any solutions native to windows, i.e. is there a version of virt-manager that'll run on windows.


Still no progress on this myself wrt. a native virt-manager client. I did come across a compiled version of libvirtd for windows along with a discussion on a mailing list about how to get libvirtd working on windows. I'm adding the links to this question in the hopes that someone will figure out how to get virt-manager working.


Finally some progress. Came across this project on github called msys_setup which includes a windows port of virt-manager. It's partially functional, doesn't support qem+ssh:// connection type so it's still not usable for our needs, but it's a start.


Use putty and some X Server software on the Windows side (e.g. Xming) and use X11 tunneling with putty to display the remote virt-manager console.

  • 1
    I am using the same approach currently. But the problem is any special keys (like winkey or other windows-wide keyboard shortcuts that I have configured) are grabbed by host windows, instead of the virt-manager window. – anishsane Dec 3 '12 at 9:34

I would use Cygwin. Then you can install virt-manager and openssh and place a shortcut on the Desktop. It is native.

Cygwin provides the linux tools and facilities around programs so that it feels like a linux environment. For instance, virt-manager can call ssh to make the connection to your KVM Server and would be able to run virsh and send commands to it. It also provides an X-Server. Which is all natively compiled.

Update: Thanks Yaakov's comment: There is now a directly installable package in cygwin for virt-manager. The actions below are not necessary anymore.

If you have the time: You can easily customize the cygwin installation to exactly fit your needs. Just go through the folders, throw everything out you don't need. Write a script that starts the X Server and then virt-manager, zip it up and ey presto! there's your virt-manager for Windows.

  • I've used cygwin in the past and though this would work is a little too heavy handed a solution for what I was looking for. AS I said in the question, I'm looking for a native client for windows to virt-manager. – slm Nov 23 '12 at 14:45
  • 2
    Cygwin now includes a virt-manager package as well. – Yaakov Jun 27 '17 at 5:14

I would simply use ssh (putty) and virsh, and a VNC/Spice client (like virt-viewer for Windows), if I were confined to a Windows workstation

  • I'm not that familiar with Spice. Can you explain what Spice is and is there a Spice client available for windows? I found this link, linux-kvm.org/page/SPICE, which shows how to set it up, but it doesn't really explain the benefits of Spice vs. VNC. – slm Dec 14 '11 at 18:40
  • I also found this link to the Spice Project. Still don't quite entirely grasp exactly where it fits. I think that it provides a native graphics driver for the guests, but that's as far as I've gotten in my understanding. – slm Dec 14 '11 at 18:59
  • Spice performs better and delivers a much better (actually, at the level of a normal, non-3D video card, meaning you can watch movies and youtube flicks, play non-3D games etc.) performance than VNC. Clients are available from several platforms. You have to start the VM with Spice support and install a Spice driver in the VM of course. At the moment, RHEL5 and higher and Fedora 14 and higher both have native support for Spice – dyasny Dec 14 '11 at 20:12
  • Curious, can the Spice driver be used for the KVM host itself or is it limited to KVM guests only? – slm Dec 15 '11 at 5:37
  • Spice is built into qemu, so currently it can only be used with KVM guests – dyasny Dec 15 '11 at 9:36

Yes. There is virt-viewer for Windows



I see you were asking about virt-manager on windows and not virt-viewer.

  • +1 I was trying to use virt-viewer as virt-manager lol, thanks for saving me the time! It isn't clear on the website that its not the manager. – FreeSoftwareServers Feb 7 '18 at 4:37

You could use Bash on Ubuntu on Windows ( https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/commandline/wsl/about ).

Then, you are able to install virt-manager as on Ubuntu:

$ apt-get install virt-manager

Then you'll need a X server. You can install Xming.

You'll need to add DISPLAY=:0.0 to your environment. To do that, add export DISPLAY=':0.0' to ~/.bashrc and restart your terminal.

You may want to enable a ssh agent:

eval `ssh-agent` ; ssh-add

After that, you should be able to run virt-manager as you'll do on Linux. There are some bugs but it works :-).

edit by a z:
d-bus error? Per: https://www.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comments/4rsmzp/bash_on_windows_getting_dbus_and_x_server_working/
Run: sudo sed -i 's$<listen>.*</listen>$<listen>tcp:host=localhost,port=0</listen>$' /etc/dbus-1/session.conf

close/open bash, try again, use virt-manager --debug for more info


Here is a up-to-date instruction set performed by me today and saved here for my future reference:

  1. Install wsl and ubuntu 18.04 LTS
  2. Install XMing
  3. Start Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and run sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
  4. Install dbus-x11 and virt-manager: sudo apt install dbus-x11 virt-manager
  5. (optional) If you need ssh
    1. Install ssh-askpass: sudo apt install ssh-askpass and
    2. Generate a new ssh key, if you have not done so: ssh-keygen
    3. Copy the key to your servers: ssh-copy-id user@server
  6. Start Xming
  7. run virt-manager

The first error is not a problem, just add a new connection and remove the local connection and you are up and running. If your connections are not saved between starts of the virt-manager, you need to perform the dbus session.conf trick:

Edit the configuration file: sudoedit /etc/dbus-1/session.conf and edit the first line or add the line such that the file contains:


Adding a "HowTo" on AndreasT Answer as it is the "best option" IMO ATM. Although using Bash + Windows Subsystem for Linux might be another option, it was unavailable on Windows 10 LTSB and I really hate how I can't backup Windows 10 Store Apps, so it would need to be re-configured/install each time Windows was deployed.

I posted a YouTube Video here >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDEAu3oPcR0

And I wrote up my own blog post, but I know better than to leave out the details in a URL so I will copy the short form here. (https://www.freesoftwareservers.com/wiki/running-virt-manager-inside-windows-10-using-cygwin-with-shortcut-on-desktop-28016650.html)

  • Install Cygwin w/ virt-manager, xinit and openssh.
  • Configure passwordless SSH via RSA Key to KVM Host.
  • Configure XWin to autostart Virt-Manager.

    cat << 'EOF' > ~/.startxwinrc
    export DISPLAY=:0.0
    sleep inf
    chmod +x ~/.startxwinrc

Create shortcut on Desktop: Virt-Manager.cmd
This is the contents of mine:

tskill.exe xwin

C:\cygwin64\bin\run.exe /usr/bin/bash.exe -l -c /usr/bin/startxwin

virt-manager is now available natively on Windows: https://virt-manager.org/download/


Please consider using XMing

here is a snapshot of running SSH with X11 forwarding on Xming and virt-manager working on windows (X11 forwarded)

snapshot of virt-manager with x11 forwarding on xming


  • 3
    This relies on running virt-manager on a remote host, which is not what is wanted here. – Michael Hampton Dec 27 '12 at 4:46
  • hmmm in that case a straight answer to the question OP asks is a no because I have not encountered any solution which would run a virt-manager on a Windows 7 machine other than the X11 forwarding techniques available to us – Registered User Dec 27 '12 at 4:48
  • Read my "EDITS" in the question. I mentioned a couple of leads that looked promising wrt. to running virt-manager on windows. It is working, just not for our scenario as of yet. – slm Dec 27 '12 at 4:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.