Multiple Qubes-Whonix TemplateVMs

From Whonix

About this Multiple Qubes-Whonix TemplateVMs Page
Support Status stable
Difficulty easy
Maintainer 0brand [archive]
Support Support


Multiple Qubes-Whonix ™ TemplateVMs provides much greater flexibility over a single template when choosing software packages. The additional cloned templates can be customized with software to meet specific requirements; something impossible to achieve with a single TemplateVM. [1]


  • Packages from a later release: Installing packages from a later release could end up breaking the system. For example, mixing packages from Debian Stable [archive] with those of a later release like Debian Testing [archive] can lead to an unstable system because of associated software dependencies required for full functionality. [2] [3] Prior to installing Debian packages from a later release, first read Install from Debian testing.
  • Custom software: Additional cloned templates makes it easy to install custom software used for a specific application. For example, users could Tunnel UDP over Tor by configuring whonix-ws-15 to route all applications through a VPN tunnel. However, this method also increases the risk of identity correlation. To mitigate this risk, the AppVM based on this template should only be used for the particular application that must be routed through the tunnel-link. Before installing custom software it is recommended to first read Install Software General Advice.
  • Untrusted packages: It is unwise to install untrusted packages in a template used for sensitive activities. With multiple cloned TemplateVMs, a single template can be designated as a less trusted domain for that purpose. [4] Read Notes on trusting your TemplateVM(s) [archive] prior to installing untrusted packages.

Cloning TemplateVMs[edit]

Info Note: Each TemplatesVM's root filesystem runs independently from all other TemplateVMs. [5] Therefore, each individual TemplateVM must be updated separately.

Qube Manager[edit]

Cloning templates in Qubes-Whonix ™ is easily accomplished via Qube Manager. Be careful with naming conventions for both TemplateVMs and AppVMs (based on those templates) so they are not confused with each other. This will minimize the chance of basing an AppVM on the wrong template.

When creating AppVMs based on cloned TemplateVMs, a purpose-based naming convention is sensible so there is no ambiguity regarding the intended function of an AppVM. For example, if an AppVM is created to tunnel UDP over Tor, appending tunnel-udp (the purpose) to the end of anon-whonix would lead to the name anon-whonix-tunnel-udp.

To clone Qubes-Whonix ™ TemplateVMs, follow the steps below in Qube Manager:

Qube ManagerVM to be ClonedClone qubeEnter name for Qube clone

Figure: Cloning Whonix ™ qubes

When prompted, give the newly cloned VM a name that is not easily confused with other VMs. This minimizes the chances of basing an AppVM on the wrong template; there could be serious security concerns if a "trusted" AppVM was based on the wrong TemplateVM with untrusted packages.

Figure: Clone Re-naming
Screenshot Qubes-clone-vm add-name.png

Additional Settings[edit]

Info Reminder: In Qubes R4 and above the NetVM setting of TemplateVMs should be set to None. [6]

Whonix ™ first time users warning A cloned Whonix ™ TemplateVM will by default be upgraded through sys-whonix. [7] This is a known Qubes usability issue. [8]

If you would like to change the UpdatesProxy setting for any TemplateVM, apply the following steps.

In dom0. Open /etc/qubes-rpc/policy/qubes.UpdatesProxy with root rights.

sudo nano /etc/qubes-rpc/policy/qubes.UpdatesProxy

TODO: the following steps require testing.

Add at the very top of that file.


name-of-template-vm $default allow,target=name-of-proxy-vm

For example:

whonix-ws-15-clone-1 $default allow,target=sys-whonix-cloned


<Ctrl-X> --> press Y --> <Enter>

The procedure is now complete.


  1. Optionally, the default template can be cloned and used as the default template for AppVMs. Having a “known-good” backup template available at all times is best practice.
  2. Using packages from different repositories can lead to Dependency Hell.
  3. This problem can be avoided by cloning additional Whonix ™ templates and preferring packages from a single repository in each TemplateVM.
  4. It is strongly encouraged to only install signed packages from a trusted source.
  5. This applies to all TemplateVMs, even if they were cloned.
  6. Since TemplateVMs in Qubes R4 and above are supposed to be upgraded through qrexec based Qubes updates proxy.
  7. Because /etc/qubes-rpc/policy/qubes.UpdatesProxy [archive] contains:
    $tag:whonix-updatevm $default allow,target=sys-whonix

    Note that policy parsing stops at the first match, [...]

Follow: Twitter.png Facebook.png 1280px-Gab text logo.svg.png Rss.png Matrix logo.svg.png 1024px-Telegram 2019 Logo.svg.png Discourse logo.svg

Donate: Donate Bank Wire Paypal Bitcoin accepted here Monero accepted here Contriute

Whonix donate bitcoin.png Monero donate whonix.png

Share: Twitter | Facebook

Please help in testing new features and bug fixes in Whonix ™.

https link onion link

This is a wiki. Want to improve this page? Help is welcome and volunteer contributions are happily considered! Read, understand and agree to Conditions for Contributions to Whonix ™, then Edit! Edits are held for moderation.

Copyright (C) 2012 - 2019 ENCRYPTED SUPPORT LP. Whonix ™ is a trademark. Whonix ™ is a licensee [archive] of the Open Invention Network [archive]. Unless otherwise noted, the content of this page is copyrighted and licensed under the same Freedom Software license as Whonix ™ itself. (Why?)

Whonix ™ is a derivative of and not affiliated with Debian [archive]. Debian is a registered trademark [archive] owned by Software in the Public Interest, Inc [archive].

Whonix ™ is produced independently from the Tor® [archive] anonymity software and carries no guarantee from The Tor Project [archive] about quality, suitability or anything else.

By using our website, you acknowledge that you have read, understood and agreed to our Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy, Terms of Service, and E-Sign Consent. Whonix ™ is provided by ENCRYPTED SUPPORT LP. See Imprint.