There are several VM managers and in this post I will show you the most popular ones.

Table of Contents

Oracle VirtualBox

One of the most popular VM managers on Linux and Windows. Easy to use.



A command-line VM manager. You need a bit of learning to be able to use it but there are two main commands:

  • Create a disk image:
    qemu-img create disk.img <size>

    Replace <size> with the desired image size, e.g.: 256M. More parameters:

    • -f <raw|qcow2>: specify image type. By default, it’s raw.
  • Start a VM:
    qemu-system-x86_64 disk.img
    • Add -cdrom <iso file> or -fda <img file> to boot from an ISO image or an IMG floppy disk image. You can also start a VM with a physical disk inserted on a CD-ROM drive (-cdrom /dev/cdrom) or a physical USB stick (e.g.: -hda /dev/sdb, run lsblk to list block devices).
    • Another way of specifying a boot image is: -drive file=<filename>. By Using drive parameter, you can specify more drive options (separated with commas), like the image format (format=<raw|qcow2>), the media type (media=<disk|cdrom>) or the interface (if=<ide|floppy|scsi|more...>).
      qemu-system-x86_64 -drive file=windows101.img,format=raw,if=floppy
    • -nographic: text-only output. Inside this mode, type Ctrl + A + H to exit QEMU.
    • -nographic -vnc :0: derive output to a VNC server.
    • -vnc :0 -daemonize: derive output to a VNC server and run in background.
    • -m <number>: specify RAM size (you can add sufixes, like M and G). This is probably the most important VM parameter because, by default, QEMU only assigns a minimum amount of RAM (128MB).
    • -smp <number>: specify number of CPU cores to use.
    • -enable-kvm: enable KVM full virtualization support. Improves perfomance.
    • -monitor stdio: allows to manage QEMU from the terminal. You’ll see a command prompt that starts with (qemu). Inside this monitor, you can do a lot of things, like:
      • Mount a floppy image or change an already mounted one: change floppy0 disk.img.
      • Eject a floppy: eject floppy0.
      • Reset the VM: system_reset.
      • Powerdown: system_powerdown.
      • Close QEMU: quit.



A GUI frontend for QEMU.



Download and run a Linux distro using the same program. More info on my post.



Similar to Boxes, but using the command-line. There is a GUI frontend (Quickgui), more info on this GUI and Quickemu on this post.



A virtual machine manager focused on running old systems and software. Check my post about 86box.



Ubuntu VMs from Canonical. This virtual machine manager allows you to create Ubuntu VMs with just one command:

multipass launch ubuntu

Once VM is initialized, copy its name (look for the previous command output) and type:

multipass shell <vm name>
# multipass shell changeable-turkey

You can also send commands to the VM:

multipass exec <vm name> -- <command>

List launched VMs:

multipass list

Find available images:

multipass find

Stop and delete a VM:

multipass stop <vm name>
multipass delete <vm name>

If you have any suggestion, feel free to contact me via social media or email.