Migrating Windows OS to Qubes Qube

I am wondering if there are any tools (or just built in that I haven’t seen) features to migrate my windows 11 operating system into qubes. I want to keep this backup just in case I need to retrieve anything from it, but I want it to be safe in its own qube inside of qubes.

If there aren’t any tools, I would greatly appreciate any advice on how to go through with this. I have ample space to make a backup, and I have a 512GB SSD + a 4TB HDD. I just need to backup the files from the SSD (has everything windows on it)

Thanks for any and all help.

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What I’d do is to clone Windows 11 to the spare disk, then install Qubes onto internal one, then created clean Windows 11 qube, and then mounted spare Win11 disk into Win11 qube.
That way I’d keep Windows 11 bootable, when needed, but if you need only files (“to retrieve something” - what if not files?), then I’d just copy those files into Qubes Win11 clean qube.

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So i’d only be able to use qubes on the SSD? I want to be able to use both the SSD and the HDD for qubes, not just leave the HDD for windows.

Exactly. That’s why I said “spare disk”, not 4TB HDD. I’d invest in external SSD just as a bit bigger as your Win 11 installation is, would use Macrium Reflect to clone it there, and install Qubes.
But, it’s just me. Maybe someone else would recommend creating some bootable iso then trying to boot it into standalone qube… But what would you do when Win qube fails? Where you will find original install? If you have it, I wouldn’t dual boot anything after installing Qubes…

And my way - if clean installed Win qube fails, your Win 11 is safe. Just create another clean Win qube and attach Win 11 to it…

So if I get this right, I should use an external SSD, use macrium reflect to copy all of my files there, and then install qubes onto the primary SSD.

Then, I can use windows 11 by mounting the external SSD to a qube? Or how would that work?


Moved to User Support, since this is not a guide

If I understand this correctly, it looks like there’s a way to take an existing dedicated Windows 7 installation…i.e., the ssd from a windows 7 machine…and wrap a qube around it and boot it in QubesOS.

I wish this WERE a guide!

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That is wildly misleading,and not what you suggested.(SteveC has
already been misled by this.)

Your suggestion was to clone the Windows install so that the data would be
available to a newly created Windows qube, and there would be a fallback
archive of the Windows installation. That’s a reasonable suggestion,but
somewhat unwieldy.

You can do the “boot a qube from an image” thing with many Linux and BSD
installs. It almost never works with Windows in my experience.

I never presume to speak for the Qubes team. When I comment in the Forum or in the mailing lists I speak for myself.
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What do you suggest then?

He didn’t say he wanted to use his old Windows 11 in a qube in this sentence, but only Windows 11, and I meant on that., while accessing files on old Windows 11 mounted in clean Windows 11 qube.
I couldn’t be more straight forward than that.

I think Steve misread the topic and unintentionally brought confusing conclusion

You could - “Exactly” was an unclear answer. It gave rise to confusion.
I’m asking you to be as clear and straight forward in your answers as
you expect people to be in their questions.

I never presume to speak for the Qubes team. When I comment in the Forum or in the mailing lists I speak for myself.

There is no tool that will allow you to convert your Windows installation
in to a qube.

What you do will depend on whether you want to keep a full archive of
your Windows install, as well as a backup of your User data, how much free
space you have, and what your intentions are. I don’t know any of this.

If you want a full archive, you can use the Backup and Restore feature to
create a full system image, or you can use any disk imaging software to
take an image of the Windows installation. (I’d recommend you do this.)

You’ll have to create (and license) a Windows qube. Make sure that you
have all the licensing and source information from your old install before
you replace it with Qubes. Get all this information and store it in
a safe place.
It’s then a question of transferring User data from one Windows machine to
another - MS recommends using One Drive for this, but you can as easily
take a backup to some partition on the HDD,and then attach that
partition to the new Windows qube to access the data.

If you had enough free space on the SSD,you could dual boot until you
are sure you want to move to Qubes,using a shared partition on the HDD
as a staging post between the Windows install and the Windows qube. Not
ideal,but it might best fit your situation.

On the other hand, it may be that you are committed to Qubes and just want
to have the data available from your Windows install. (I think
it’s possible to interpret your original question in that way.)
If that’s the case, then create a new partition on the HDD and copy the
data there. Install Qubes on the SDD, and start to allocate the data
between the qubes you create. It can be a difficult time moving from a
monolithic system to qubes compartmentalisation,and you are bound to
make mistakes and take false steps on the way.
(If you do this then I would create a library qube, attach the HDD
partition permanently to that qube,and use it as a entry point to the
other qubes you are using,qvm-copying the data across.)

I hope this has given you some ideas on what you could do.

I never presume to speak for the Qubes team.
When I comment in the Forum or in the mailing lists I speak for myself.


I will repeat: my answer was straight forward to a question asked the way it was. We still don’t know if the question was clear enough and how @Stubbed9123 understood my answer.

The only other concern is that I heard gaming is terrible on qubes, and I still want that to be an option. What are my options to do this securely?