virsh create somefile.xml creates my machine just fine but when I shut the machine down the whole thing disappears. Machines I made with the virt-manager GUI are persistent (stick around after shutdown) and the xml file is derived from those virt-manager created machines.

2 Answers 2


Use virsh define somefile.xml and virsh start domain-name, doing this the VM will be persistent. I can't check right now, but I think you can use virsh define on an already started VM and this will make it persistent.

  • 6
    I can confirm this works with a domain started with the 'create' command
    – Pete
    Jul 31, 2013 at 17:05
  • The best tip I read today
    – Chris Reid
    Dec 23, 2020 at 16:49

If you don't have the xml for the running vm (eg. after transient migration), you can do

virsh dumpxml vm_name > vm_name.xml
virsh define vm_name.xml

To check:

virsh list --all --persistent

The VM should now be listed. Or

virsh dominfo vm_name

There should be a line with 'Persistent: yes'.

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