May I install Qubes in my laptop?

Hi everybody!
I’m a Linux user since years, and I’m very interested in Qubes.
The question is whether is it possible to install Qubes in my new laptop?
I just bought it and these are the characteristics:

  • Model Clevo PD70PNT
  • Processor: i7 12700H (2.3 to 4.7 GHz, 6P cores/8E cores 20 Threads
  • Graphic: Nvidia GeForce RTX-3060 6Gb DDR6
  • Memory: 32 Gb DDR4 @3200 MHz CL22
  • OS drive: 500 Gb M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD

The laptop supplier told me that it was not possible to install Qubes since it doesn’t support the processor, but I would like to cross check this, and if it is correct, I would like to understand if there is a plan to further develop Qubes at the point it will be possible to install it in my computer.

Thank you in advance for your help
Best regards
Vittorio

Hi @Vik19,

Welcome to the forum!

I say, that’s some mighty fine hardware you have there. Qubes OS will run very nicely on that.

“No, this laptop unfortunately can only run Windows with our OEM spyware installed. There is no other way…”

We’ve all been fed that line at some point :roll_eyes:

Well, there is at least entry in the HCL (Hardware Compatability List) with that exact CPU, so I think it’s safe to say that the laptop supplier is gravely ill-informed…

The CPU isn’t a problem (any more). There is a small chance the nVIDIA GPU could give you a bit of grief, though.

There’s some instructions here to make it work, though:

After you do your install, it would be awesome if you could do an HCL report and upload it here. It would be good to know what works and what doesn’t (if anything), and it’ll help anyone developing Qubes OS keep your machine in mind in future.

Instructions are here:


But definitely no reason why Qubes OS can’t work. If you encounter any issues, post them here, and we’ll do our best to help get Qubes OS fully functional on your glorious powerhouse :drooling_face:

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Hi Alzer89,
thank you very much for your answer!
No way I would allow to have my brand new laptop contaminated by Windows! I got it with Ubuntu LTS installed.
Thank you for the instruction. My plan is to download Qubes and try and install it alongside to my Ubuntu. Honestly I don’t feel comfortable to wipe the disk and install only Qubes from scratch: I would prefer to make some safe try before…
Would you suggest me to try and install as is, and if I have problems to apply modifications suggested in the attachment, or it is useless to try the system as is because it is known already that there will be problems?
Please excuse me if I make too many stupid questions, but I’m not an expert and this is my first touch with Qubes!
Thanks a lot
Vittorio

Security issues aside, that can be problematic unless you are confident with your drive partitioning and GRUB configuration.

If you’re prepared to do that, then go for it.

Qubes isn’t a “distro”, at least not in the same sense. It’s a hypervisor.

Basically you boot your computer using the tiniest OS possible (Xen & gutted Fedora 32, and then stack VMs on top of it. All your hardware goes into those VMs. (You could also have your Ubuntu LTS as a VM stacked on top of Qubes too!)

Because of this, things like separate /home or /var or /etc as partitions won’t really work. They would go into dom0, which would be a little problematic at best, and a massive security vulnerability at worst.

(You’ll understand what this means once you start using Qubes :stuck_out_tongue: )

Yes, definitely give the installer a go. You may not even have any problems if you use a recent enough ISO, because the workarounds may have actually been merged into the installer!

…but be prepared to “get your hands a little dirty”. Nothing scary, I promise. We will help you through it :slight_smile:

A question is only a stupid one if it is asked a second time, when you already got a valid answer the first time :sunglasses:

And none of your questions were stupid.

Well maybe not yet, but all in good time :wink:

No, as far as I understood about Qubes, dom0 must be preserved as clean as it is possible: nothing into it, only in separated qubes.
As I said my intention would be to try the Qubes installation, learn what I need to do to have it working on my hardware without risking some fatal error, and then make a full installation of Qubes as the primary OS in my machine.
What if I do the other way around? I mean I already created several VM in Ubuntu: for example I have one with Manjaro and one with Mint.
If I create a VM using Qubes ISO, do you think it might be useful to test the installation process and verify whether and how I need to get my hands dirty?
Thanks!!

PS I found instruction about installing Qubes on a VM (https://www.makeuseof.com/install-qubes-os-on-virtualbox/). I’ll try this and let you know!

You can try Qubes OS by installing it on a USB stick. You will not have a sys-usb in this way, and it could be slow, but if it can work, it will.

Moved to User Support

The speed issue with a USB stick can be mitigated if one has, for example, a Western Digital passport. That was fairly fast. My USB stick, on the other hand, took at least ten minutes to boot.

[I actually had no choice but to do it this way at first as the Qubes installation media simply could not see my SATA drives (neither SSD nor spinning platter). I thought I had solved this by doing the install on another box and moving the drive back to the target machine, but it turned out as soon as the bootloader handed over control to Qubes…it started reading the Passport!]

The passport was fast enough and usable enough to tell me I wanted to do this; unfortunately I had to go buy a new computer to do it! But at least I knew it would be worth doing, thanks to the passport being relatively high speed–it could only get better on faster machine with Mvne drives on it.

Anyhow, with regard to Vik19’s concern, if you (Vik19) are concerned about blowing away your old stuff, you can definitely test drive Qubes on a thumb drive (please make sure it’s USB 3.0–mine was NOT) or a external USB drive. You will likely decide it works well enough you don’t need the old system, but you don’t have to commit to Qubes right away if you do it this way. You can wait until you’re sure. The best of both worlds.

Happy qube-ing!

Pretty much. Think of it as the “control and operations centre” for your computer.

When you say “learn”, what do you think you need to learn?

There isn’t that much of a learning curve to Qubes OS.

  • The standard desktop environment is XFCE
    • You can install KDE and i3, but those packages might not be receiving the same love as XFCE…
  • All your VMs run in the same GUI, so the applications of multiple VMs are stacked on top of each other in the same desktop
    • It’s not like most VMs, where each VM has its own window/screen
    • Although you can do this if you want with an HVM (Hardware Virtual Machine). Currently this is the only way to run Windows 10 & 11 (but they’re working on getting tools to get it to behave like any other Qube)

The only major differences are:

  • Each one of your hardware components get its own VM
    • Your network hardware gets one, your USB bus(es) get one, and you can create a separate VM for any other piece of your hardware that you might not fully trust.
    • These VMs can “pass their hardware through” to the other VMs
    • This is facilitated and approved by dom0, which is why dom0 needs to do absolutely nothing except facilitate that passthrough. dom0 can see everything, which is why if something nasty gets into dom0, it’s referred to here as “Game Over™“
    • These VMs won’t pass anything through unless it’s approved by dom0. That way, if anything nasty gets into one of your VMs, it should be contained inside that single VM, instead of pwning your entire computer.
  • When you plug stuff into your computer, you will have to do one extra step of “attaching” that device to the VM that you want to use it in.

But that’s basically it. Everything else works just the same as your standard XFCE desktop :slight_smile:

If you wanted to, you could take those VMs that you’ve put a lot of time and effort into making, and turn them into Qubes.

Give it a go, but there is a chance that you might not get the “full Qubes OS experience”. Make sure you activate nested virtualisation. There’s also a chance that some things might not behave properly…

Nested virtualisation should be reasonably fast on a beast like your computer.

@fsflover is right. This is also one way for you to “try” Qubes OS.

You can also swap your SSD to try it if you want. You can reasonably get away with 64GB if you just want to “try it out”.

Up to you :slight_smile:

2 Likes

First try: created a VM, downloaded Qubes iso 4.1.1 and launched it in the VM.
I got the installe screen, selected Italian, and went on.
I got the unsopported Hardware Detected error



I was able to enter the BIOS

but I was not able to find out what to change. Does anyone knows this BIOS structure?


thanks!

My experience with virtualbox is that the nested virtualization doesn’t allow you to run Qubes OS.

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Tomorrow I’ll buy a 68 or 128 Gb usb key to try and follow fsflover advice and install Qubes on the key, but my gut feeling is that if I’m not able to understand and solve the unsupported hardware issue, the error will jump out again and will prevent me to install Qubes.
I need to work on this bloody error

1 Like