Whonix for VirtualBox with XFCE

< VirtualBox

1. Download for Windows, Mac and Linux


Anonymous Download
Possible [1]
Download Security
without Verification
Download Security
with Verification
Https long.png
Download (v3 Onion) Download (v3 Onion) Yes [1] Medium High [2]
Button sig.png OpenPGP Signature

(v3 Onion) ( sha512 , sig )

OpenPGP Signature (v3 Onion)

( sha512 , sig )

Yes [1] - -
Crypto key.png Verify VirtualBox images using this Signing Key Yes [1] - -
Crypto key.png Verify KVM images using this Signing Key Yes [1] - -

Verify the Whonix Images

It is important to check the integrity of the downloaded virtual machine images to ensure that neither a man-in-the-middle attack or file corruption occurred (see Download Security).

Whonix virtual machine images are cryptographically signed by Whonix developer Patrick Schleizer using OpenPGP. [3]

If you know how to use an OpenPGP key, download the Whonix Signing Key and the Whonix signatures straight away.

Otherwise, use the following instructions:

Note: You need to download both Gateway and Workstation virtual machine images.

2. Install VirtualBox Virtualbox logo.png

  • Linux Tux.png: please press expand on the right side.

hosts using something other than Debian:

Install VirtualBox using the usual mechanisms of your Linux distribution.

Debian hosts:

Note: this applies to Whonix Later Whonix versions may use a codename different to stretch.

Package virtualbox should be installed from Debian backports. [4] [5] [6]

1. On the host.

Open a terminal.

2. Add the current Debian stable backports codename stretch-backports to Debian apt sources.


sudo su -c "echo -e 'deb stretch-backports main contrib' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list"
3. Update the package lists.

sudo apt-get update

4. Install the selected software.

sudo apt-get install virtualbox/stretch-backports linux-headers-$(uname -r)

The procedure is now complete.

5. Undo.

On occasion it is necessary to undo this configuration, for example when upgrading from Debian stretch to buster. [8] To proceed, run.

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list

3. Import Whonix Whonix old logo.png into VirtualBox Virtualbox logo.png

For Whonix VirtualBox import instructions, please press on expand on the right.

Start VirtualBox
Open The virtualbox1.png

Click on Filethen choose Import Appliance...
Select Import Applience2.png

Navigate and select Whonix image and press next
Select whonix image and press next3.png

Do NOT change anything! Just click on Import
Press import4.png

Then press Agree
Press agree5.png

Wait until Whonix-Gateway.ova has been imported
Wait for importing6.png

Repeat the import step also for Whonix-Workstation.ova
Do the same for whonix workstation7.png

Now start both Whonix-Gateway and Whonix-Workstation
Start both of them8.png


There are also Video Tutorials.

If you still need help, please check the Support page.

4. Start Whonix

Starting Whonix is simple.

Start VirtualBox -> Double click on the Whonix-Gateway and Whonix-Workstation.

5. VirtualBox Screen Resolution Bug


If the display presents like the image on the right-hand side, then you are affected by a screen resolution bug which only occurs in the XFCE version of Whonix in VirtualBox. To correct the resolution, apply the following workaround.

1. Maximize the window.

2. VirtualBox VM Windows -> View -> Virtual Screen 1 -> choose any, resize to some other resolution

3. VirtualBox VM Windows -> View -> Auto-resize Guest Display


First time user?

See Also

  • For more please press on expand on the right.

VirtualBox is a popular virtualizer that can run on top of Windows, Linux and Mac.

A supported platform that can run Whonix. There are also others.

Help Wanted


Please press on expand on the right.

Experimental spectre/meltdown defenses

VirtualBox Stable Version | VirtualBox Testers Only Version

Testers only! For more please press on expand on the right.

Experimental spectre/meltdown defenses. Related to Firmware Security and Updates. Possibly not worth it due to huge performance penalty and unclear security benefits. Despite:

  • host microcode upgrade
  • host kernel upgrade
  • VM kernel upgrade
  • spectre-meltdown-checker on the host showing "not vulnerable"
  • latest VirtualBox version [9]
  • all spectre/meltdown related VirtualBox settings tuned for better security as documented below

VirtualBox is likely still vulnerable to spectre/meltdown. For reference see VirtualBox bug report / forum discussion. [10] Users can only wait for VirtualBox developers to fix this.

On the host. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]

VBoxManage modifyvm "Whonix-Gateway" --ibpb-on-vm-entry on
VBoxManage modifyvm "Whonix-Workstation" --ibpb-on-vm-entry on
VBoxManage modifyvm "Whonix-Gateway" --ibpb-on-vm-exit on
VBoxManage modifyvm "Whonix-Workstation" --ibpb-on-vm-exit on
VBoxManage modifyvm "Whonix-Gateway" --l1d-flush-on-vm-entry on
VBoxManage modifyvm "Whonix-Workstation" --l1d-flush-on-vm-entry on
VBoxManage modifyvm "Whonix-Gateway" --l1d-flush-on-sched on
VBoxManage modifyvm "Whonix-Workstation" --l1d-flush-on-sched on
VBoxManage modifyvm "Whonix-Gateway" --spec-ctrl on
VBoxManage modifyvm "Whonix-Workstation" --spec-ctrl on
VBoxManage modifyvm "Whonix-Gateway" --nestedpaging off
VBoxManage modifyvm "Whonix-Workstation" --nestedpaging off

These steps have to be repeated for every VirtualBox VM (Whonix or non-Whonix) (including multiple and custom VM). Above instructions cover only default VM names Whonix-Gateway and Whonix-Workstation. If you are using Multiple Whonix-Workstations and/or Multiple Whonix-Gateways, you need to repeat these instructions for all custom created VMs as well.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 By using the Tor Browser Bundle (TBB). For an introduction, see Tor Browser. See also Hide Tor and Whonix from your ISP.
  2. It does not matter if the bulk download is done over an insecure channel if OpenPGP verification is used at the end.
  3. OpenPGP is a standard for data encryption that provides cryptographic privacy and authentication through the use of keys owned by its users.
  4. This is required since VirtualBox in unavailable in Debian stretch.
  5. This is non-ideal, see next footnote.
  6. Users should Prefer Packages from Debian Stable Repository, but using backports is better than manual software installation or using third party package managers since this prefers APT. To contain the risk, Non-Qubes-Whonix users might want to consider using Multiple Whonix-Workstations and Qubes-Whonix users might want to consider using Multiple Qubes-Whonix TemplateVMs or Software Installation in a TemplateBasedVM.
  7. Or alternatively use the .onion mirror.
    sudo su -c "echo -e 'deb tor+http://vwakviie2ienjx6t.onion/debian stretch-backports main contrib' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list"
  8. Most often this step applies before attempting major Whonix upgrades; upgrade instructions are also made available at that time (see stay tuned).
  9. VirtualBox version 5.2.18 or above required since only that version comes with spectre / meltdown defenses. See
  10. --ibpb-on-vm-[enter|exit] on|off: Enables flushing of the indirect branch prediction buffers on every VM enter or exit respectively. This could be enabled by users overly worried about possible spectre attacks by the VM. Please note that these options may have sever impact on performance.

    There is a mistake in VirtualBox manual saying enter which does not work. It's entry.


    --l1d-flush-on-vm-enter on|off: Enables flushing of the level 1 data cache on VM enter. See Section 13.4.1, “CVE-2018-3646”.

  12. --l1d-flush-on-sched on|off: Enables flushing of the level 1 data cache on scheduling EMT for guest execution. See Section 13.4.1, “CVE-2018-3646”.


    For users not concerned by this security issue, the default mitigation can be disabled using

    VBoxManage modifyvm name --l1d-flush-on-sched off

    Since we want to enable the security feature we set --l1d-flush-on-sched on.

  14. --spec-ctrl on|off: This setting enables/disables exposing speculation control interfaces to the guest, provided they are available on the host. Depending on the host CPU and workload, enabling speculation control may significantly reduce performance.

  15. According to this VirtualBox ticket --spec-ctrl should be set to on.
  16. --nestedpaging on|off: If hardware virtualization is enabled, this additional setting enables or disables the use of the nested paging feature in the processor of your host system; see Section 10.7, “Nested paging and VPIDs” and Section 13.4.1, “CVE-2018-3646”.

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