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I am having a problem where virt-install gets stuck in the very early stages and cant be killed (after saying "starting installation", but before the VM is visible in virt-manager).

Ctrl-C does not work to cancel virt-install, and systemctl restart libvirtd just hangs. I have to hard restart the machine. Even kill $libvirtPID just hangs. If I restart, restart hangs with a message of kvm: exiting hardware virtualization, and I have to hard restart.

For the moment, I am not asking for help with the cause of the hang, but rather I want to know whether there is a better/safer way to cancel a frozen virt-install.

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    If it's hung that badly, then there won't be any "cancel a frozen virt-install". You will have to fix the underlying cause of the problem. – Michael Hampton Jul 15 at 18:40
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In my experience if something hangs that hard that plain kill is ignored, there isn't any friendly way to exit the hung applications. Maybe kill -9 will help, but if host reboot also hangs with messages about kvm it could very well be a kernel bug, in which case there's likely not much you can do to recover nicely.

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