Windows Virtual Machine with Vagrant

Microsoft provides free Windows Vircual Machines (which expire after 90 days) on Among the available VM are Vagrant machines. Here are instructions to setup a Windows VM through Vagrant using Libvirt and QEmu-KVM as backend.

Create a Libvirt box

  • Download a ZIP from, like

  • Extract the box from the ZIP (it is named for example MSEdge -

  • Import the VirtualBox-Vagrant box and mutate it to use provider libvirt:

    vagrant plugin install vagrant-mutate
    vagrant box add windows/win10-edge 'MSEdge -'
    vagrant mutate windows/win10-edge libvirt
    vagrant box remove --provider virtualbox windows/win10-edge

    The mutate command will use qemu-img convert -p -S 16k -o compat=1.1 -O qcow2 ... to convert the virtual box disk to a QEmu-compatible one.

  • Initialize a new Vagrant box in the current directory:

    vagrant init windows/win10-edge
  • Configure the box by adding the following lines to Vagrantfile before the final end:

    # Configure remote access
    config.ssh.username = "IEUser"
    config.ssh.password = "Passw0rd!"
    # Use 2 CPU and 4GB of RAM
    config.vm.provider :libvirt do |v|
      v.cpus = 2
      v.memory = 4096
  • Start the new box:

    vagrant up --provider libvirt --no-destroy-on-error

This command will fail and the console on the virtual machine will display:

Booting from Hard disk...
No bootable device.

This is because the virtual machine needs to boot in UEFI mode and the network drivers are missing. For the network issue, the next section provides a way to fix the issue. For UEFI boot, Libvirt needs to be configured to support this boot mode. For Arch Linux, this is documented in Here are some instructions:

  • Install package ovmf.

  • Add the following statements to /etc/libvirt/qemu.conf:

    nvram = [
  • Restart libvirtd (for example with systemctl restart libvirtd).

  • Run virsh edit windows_default (replacing windows_default with the name of the domain) and insert a <loader> tag into the <os> one. It should looks like:

      <type arch='x86_64' machine='pc-i440fx-3.0'>hvm</type>
      <loader readonly='yes' secure='no' type='rom'>/usr/share/ovmf/x64/OVMF_CODE.fd</loader>
      <boot dev='hd'/>

First configuration

By default the virtual machine won’t be able to use the virtual network card as it lacks the VirtIO network drivers. The suitable drivers are provided by Redhat in a virtio-win package:

  • Download the floppy disk of the drivers,

  • Power the virtual machine off and add the floppy drive to the VM with virt-manager (GUI) or virsh edit windows_default (CLI):

    <disk type='file' device='floppy'>
      <driver name='qemu' type='raw'/>
      <source file='/path/to/virtio-win_amd64.vfd'/>
      <target dev='fda'/>
      <address type='drive' controller='0' bus='0' target='0' unit='0'/>
  • Then power the machine on (through Libvirt), open the Explorer (Win + E), go to directory A:\amd64\Win10\ and install all .inf files. There are 3 drivers:

    • netkvm.inf for the VirtIO Ethernet Adapter,

    • vioscsi.inf for the VirtIO SCSI pass-through controller,

    • viostor.inf for the VirtIO SCSI controller.

These commands install a French keyboard layout:

PowerShell Set-WinUserLanguageList fr-FR,en-US
PowerShell Get-WinUserLanguageList

Remote access

RDP connection

In order to use the graphical interface, Vagrant supports using RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol), using freerdp (rdesktop can also be used if CredSSP is disabled on the Windows virtual machine). Before being able to connect, the RDP server needs to be started and the firewall opened:

PS C:\> Set-ItemProperty -Path "HKLM:\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server" -Name "fDenyTSConnections" -Value 0
PS C:\> Enable-NetFirewallRule -DisplayGroup "Remote Desktop"

Then, one of these command should work (from a shell on the host):

vagrant rdp
xfreerdp /u:IEUser '/p:Passw0rd!' "/v:$(vagrant ssh-config | sed -n 's/ *HostName *//p'):3389" \
    /w:1600 /h:900 /cert:ignore

Using WinRM

In order to use WinRM to connect to the machine, add the following information to the Vagrantfile:

# Use Windows Remote Management protocol (WinRM)
config.vm.communicator = "winrm"
config.winrm.username = "IEUser"
config.winrm.password = "Passw0rd!"

In a command-line prompt (eg. in vagrant ssh), run:

powershell -Command Enable-PSRemoting

If this commands fails with:

WinRM is already set up to receive requests on this computer.
Set-WSManQuickConfig : <f:WSManFault xmlns:f=""
Code="2150859113" Machine="localhost"><f:Message><f:ProviderFault provider="Config provider"
xmlns:f="" Code="2150859113"
Machine="MSEDGEWIN10"><f:Message>WinRM firewall exception will not work since one of the network
connection types on this machine is set to Public. Change the network connection type to either
Domain or Private and try again. </f:Message></f:WSManFault></f:ProviderFault></f:Message>
At line:116 char:17
+                 Set-WSManQuickConfig -force
+                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidOperation: (:) [Set-WSManQuickConfig], InvalidOperationException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : WsManError,Microsoft.WSMan.Management.SetWSManQuickConfigCommand

You need to change the network to a Private network. Here are some PowerShell commands to perform this (cf.

$networkListManager = [Activator]::CreateInstance([Type]::GetTypeFromCLSID([Guid]"{DCB00C01-570F-4A9B-8D69-199FDBA5723B}"))
$connections = $networkListManager.GetNetworkConnections()

# Set network location to Private for all networks
$connections | % {$_.GetNetwork().SetCategory(1)}

Otherwise the output is:

WinRM is already set up to receive requests on this computer.
WinRM has been updated for remote management.
WinRM firewall exception enabled.
Configured LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy to grant administrative rights remotely to local users.


$ vagrant plugin install vagrant-winrm
$ vagrant winrm -s cmd -c ipconfig

Windows IP Configuration

Ethernet adapter Ethernet 2:

   Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
   Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::40eb:b9c3:babb:31b5%4
   IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . :
   Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
   Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :

Tunnel adapter isatap.{8C624652-4727-4A10-9CC3-DC0C7E0177FB}:

   Media State . . . . . . . . . . . : Media disconnected
   Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :

Tunnel adapter Teredo Tunneling Pseudo-Interface:

   Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . :
   IPv6 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 2001:0:9d38:6ab8:248d:f1e:b27a:31df
   Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::248d:f1e:b27a:31df%3
   Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : ::

The Windows version can be gathered using this PowerShell command:

PS C:\> systeminfo | Select-String "^OS Name","^OS Version"

OS Name:                   Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise Evaluation
OS Version:                10.0.17134 N/A Build 17134

Or with:

PS C:\> [System.Environment]::OSVersion

Platform ServicePack Version      VersionString
-------- ----------- -------      -------------
 Win32NT             10.0.17134.0 Microsoft Windows NT 10.0.17134.0

Install Windows OpenSSH server

Since Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1709 or 10.0.16299), Microsoft provides OpenSSH client (installed by default) and server (installed on demand):

PS C:\> Get-WindowsCapability -Online | ? Name -like 'OpenSSH*'
Name  : OpenSSH.Client~~~~
State : Installed

Name  : OpenSSH.Server~~~~
State : NotPresent

These capabilities are available in the graphical interface in “Settings/Apps/Apps & features/Manage optional features”. In order to install OpenSSH server, the following command can also be used:

PS C:\> Add-WindowsCapability -Online -Name "OpenSSH.Server~~~~"

If the install fails with error code 0x80070002, the issue was likely caused by Windows Update service (e.g. it is not running, there are pending updates, etc.). If this happens, check the state of Windows Update, reboot and try again.

OpenSSH server files are installed in C:\Windows\System32\OpenSSH (the server is sshd.exe and the default configuration sshd_config_default).

In order to use it, the firewall needs to be configured, if it is not already:

PS C:\> Get-NetFirewallRule -DisplayName ssh
Name                  : {4C9D3CE5-D9ED-42F1-95A3-1FEB069DBF34}
DisplayName           : ssh
Description           :
DisplayGroup          :
Group                 :
Enabled               : True
Profile               : Any
Platform              : {}
Direction             : Inbound
Action                : Allow
EdgeTraversalPolicy   : Block
LooseSourceMapping    : False
LocalOnlyMapping      : False
Owner                 :
PrimaryStatus         : OK
Status                : The rule was parsed successfully from the store. (65536)
EnforcementStatus     : NotApplicable
PolicyStoreSource     : PersistentStore
PolicyStoreSourceType : Local

# If the above rule is not returned:
PS C:\> New-NetFirewallRule -Protocol TCP -LocalPort 22 -Direction Inbound -Action Allow -DisplayName ssh

There are some services related to SSH (add | Format-list * to list more properties):

PS C:\> Get-Service | ? Name -like '*ssh*'
Status   Name               DisplayName
------   ----               -----------
Running  OpenSSHd           OpenSSH Server
Stopped  ssh-agent          OpenSSH Authentication Agent
Stopped  sshd               OpenSSH SSH Server

OpenSSHd is the server provided by Cygwin, installed on Vagrant images by Microsoft in C:\Program Files\OpenSSH\usr\sbin\sshd.exe (it comes from In order to switch to the native OpenSSH server (sshd):

PS C:\> Stop-Service -Name OpenSSHd
PS C:\> Start-Service -Name sshd
PS C:\> Set-Service -Name OpenSSHd -StartupType Disabled  # (or Manual)
PS C:\> Set-Service -Name sshd -StartupType Automatic

# Verify with: Get-Service | ? Name -like '*ssh*' | Format-List Status,StartType,Name,DisplayName

After the switch, the SSH prompt given by Vagrant becomes a real cmd.exe:

$ vagrant ssh
IEUser@'s password:
Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.17134.345]
(c) 2018 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

ieuser@MSEDGEWIN10 C:\Users\IEUser>

In order to change the number of columns (ie. the line width):

C:\> mode con cols=80
C:\> mode
Status for device COM1:
    Baud:            1200
    Parity:          None
    Data Bits:       7
    Stop Bits:       1
    Timeout:         OFF
    XON/XOFF:        OFF
    CTS handshaking: OFF
    DSR handshaking: OFF
    DSR sensitivity: OFF
    DTR circuit:     ON
    RTS circuit:     ON

Status for device CON:
    Lines:          9999
    Columns:        80
    Keyboard rate:  31
    Keyboard delay: 1
    Code page:      437

In order to authenticate with an RSA key generated by vagrant, the public key needs to be written to C:\Users\IEUser\.ssh\authorized_keys. This public key can be provisioned with:

$ ssh-keygen -y -f .vagrant/machines/default/libvirt/private_key | \
    ssh IEUser@$VMIP PowerShell "Read-Host > .ssh/authorized_keys"