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System Requirements

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Supported Host Operating Systems[edit]

Any operating system that can run a supported virtualizer can run Whonix ™, including Windows, macOS, BSD, and Linux. Most users get started by installing VirtualBox on their current operating system and importing the Whonix ™ images. Advanced users may wish to boot a host operating system (usually a Unix variant) dedicated solely to running the Whonix ™ virtual machines.

For the best possible security, users can choose to run Whonix ™ virtual machines on the Qubes platform (Qubes-Whonix ™). Qubes is a Xen-based hypervisor (virtualizer) that runs on the bare metal of the hardware instead of within a host operating system. [1]

Supported Platforms[edit]

Non-Qubes-Whonix System Requirements[edit]

Table: Non-Qubes-Whonix System Requirements

Category Description
Minimum
  • 1 GB free RAM - with Whonix-Gateway ™ lowered to 256 MB. [5]
  • 10 GB free hard drive space.
Recommended
  • Additional hard drive space when installing applications into the Whonix-Workstation ™.
  • A CPU with AMD-V [archive] or Intel VT-x [archive].
For Best Performance
  • A solid state drive (SSD).
  • Additional RAM to dedicate to the Whonix-Workstation ™ when multitasking.
Additional Notes
  • Whonix-Workstation ™ can be run with 256 MB RAM when not using a desktop environment. [5]
  • For low memory and console-only configurations, see Ram Adjusted Desktop Starter.
  • Users that experience the PAE or "VERR_SSM_FIELD_NOT_CONSECUTIVE" error or other problems should refer to the VirtualBox Troubleshooting chapter.

Qubes-Whonix ™ System Requirements[edit]

Info

The system requirements on this page are necessary, but not sufficient, for Qubes compatibility at a minimal or recommended level. In other words, just because a computer satisfies these requirements doesn't mean that Qubes will successfully install and run on it. We strongly recommend consulting the Hardware Compatibility List [archive] to verify that Qubes can install and run on your specific model in the ways you need it to. ...

Qubes can be installed on systems which do not meet the recommended requirements. Such systems will still offer significant security improvements over traditional operating systems, since things like GUI isolation and kernel protection do not require special hardware.[6]

Minimum (Qubes 4.X)[edit]

Recommended[edit]

  • A fast SSD - strongly recommended.
  • Intel IGP - strongly preferred.
  • TPM with proper BIOS support - required for Anti Evil Maid [archive].
  • 16 GB+ RAM minimum. 32 GB+ for power users. [9]
  • A non-USB keyboard or multiple USB controllers to enable creation of a USB VM [archive]. [10]
  • Interrupt remapping - this helps resist potential (hypothetical) attacks coming from compromised driver domains like sys-net or sys-usb. [11]

Hardware Purchases[edit]

Before purchasing any hardware specifically for Qubes, consider Qubes Certified Hardware [archive], Qubes Hardware Testing [archive] or at least the hardware compatibility list (HCL) [archive] for suitable models. Without referring to any of these, there is a chance that a computer without the above specifications will be incompatible with Qubes.

Also note the fairly priced Insurgo PrivacyBeast X230 [archive] is the first custom, refurbished laptop to exceed all Qubes hardware certification requirements. [12] For detailed specifications and pricing, see: Insurgo PrivacyBeast X230 Laptop - QubesOS Certified & preinstalled - Single Order [archive].

Footnotes[edit]

  1. This is more secure because an attacker must subvert the hypervisor, which is far more difficult than exploiting a host operating system.
  2. Custom-Workstation: Self-made builds can be run on any real or virtual hardware, so long as they are behind a Whonix-Gateway ™. Tor Browser binaries are only available for a limited number of platforms (Windows, Linux, BSD and MacOS).
  3. Unsupported: QEMU
  4. Unsupported: VMware
  5. 5.0 5.1 The virtual machine can work with as low as 256 MB RAM, but resource intensive operations like kernel package upgrades that rebuild the initrd might leave the virtual machine in a frozen state. It might run with 196 MB RAM or even less. Experimentation with RAM lower than 256 MB is up to the user; please share your results.
  6. https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/system-requirements/ [archive]
  7. Qubes system requirements are directly sourced from https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/system-requirements/ [archive]
  8. This is required for running HVM domains [archive], such as Windows-based AppVMs.
  9. Users report problems in creating DisposableVMs and running multiple VMs in parallel with only 4 GB RAM. 8 GB RAM is nearly exhausted with Qubes-Whonix ™ VMs running in parallel with the sys-net, sys-firewall and sys-usb AppVMs.
  10. To prevent malicious compromise of dom0 via USB mice, keyboards or other USB devices.
  11. https://github.com/QubesOS/qubes-issues/issues/3208 [archive]
  12. This includes:
    • Binary-blob-free Coreboot initialization, including native graphic initialization.
    • Heads provides an Anti-evil Maid (AEM) firmware solution and protects against malicious interdiction.
    • Intel ME is neutered and unnecessary modules involved in main CPU initialization have been deleted.
    • Ships with Qubes OS pre-installed (with full-disk encryption), with the final disk encryption key being regenerated when first powered on by the buyer.


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