Installing Whonix to a partition?

(N.B. The following post has been edited, based on Patrick’s suggestion.)


I wish to try out Whonix after reading about it on some forum on the internet.

However my hard disk drive already has Debian Stretch 9 installed on the first partition. During installation, I have configured the partition to be a primary one. I have only one hard disk drive.

Can I install Whonix to the second primary partition on my HDD? That is to say, is Whonix able to co-exist with operating systems installed to other partitions? Or the whole of my HDD must be dedicated to Whonix only?

Thanks for your help.

Non-Whonix specific question.

As per Free Support for Whonix ™ and
I suggest to rephrase this question:

“Is it possible to install a Qubes Template and/or Qubes VM on a
different partition?” or something like and I suggest to ask the Qubes
support since they are more qualified to answer this Qubes specific

(I don’t know. Quite possibly it can be done. No idea.)

Hi Patrick,

Per your suggestion, I have edited my original post to be more relevant to this forum.

I’d appreciate it if you or someone on this forum could answer my questions.


Sounds like you want to install Whonix as a separate operating system on your hard disk not as a virtual OS on a host OS. This can be done but useless. Whonix workstation and gateway must be running together and you should make workstation to use “Whonix Gateway” as its default gateway. This necessitates using of virtualization mechanism. So there must be a host to moderate both workstation and gateway while they run simultaneously. But suppose that you installed whonix workstation on a partition along with your Debian 9 on another partition. Then you power on your computer and login to whonix workstation. Then what? How do you connect it to another instance of Whonix which acts as gateway? There is one possibility that you want to install Whonix Gateway on another physical (not virtual) machine and connect these through a LAN cable or other physical communication means. The problem with this scenario is that if the workstation is compromised the attacker has access to your real hard disk; subverting the isolation aspect of Whonix security policy. Another possibility is that you want to install workstation and another OS (Debian stretch for example) on a single virtual machine. This can also be done but again I don’t see any profit with doing this. You can simply use different virtual machines for each instance of your desired operating system.
Therefore it may be better if you clarify what you exactly want to do.

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You could install another operating system on your 2nd partition. This is called dual booting. . Then you could install the Whonix VMs on the newly installed host. As dual booting is not Whonix specific, using your search engine or asking for help on some of the forums listed on the support page may be helpful.

I’m not sure if you are aware of the fact that Whonix runs as a virtual guest on the host OS. This means you would install KVM or VirtualBox on your Debian 9 host, then you install the Whonix virtual machines. That is how Whonix was designed. As stated it would be useless for you to install Whonix on a 2nd partition as it is not necessary or practical.

I would recommend you read through the documentation. That should clarify how Whonix is install and configured.

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I just read your original unedited post and it looks like you want to install Qubes OS on your 2nd partition on your HDD. As I mentioned in my previous post what you want to do is called dual booting.

If you wish to just “try out” Qubes Whonix I would suggest installing Qubes on a USB drive. The Qubes OS installation guide will show you how to do this.

Please also note the Qubes system requirements and hardware compatibility list. It will save you a lot of headaches if you read through them before installing Qubes.

If you run into any Qubes specific problems during installation or after I would seek help on the Qubes mailing list. You can ask questions on the mailing list but before you do make sure you search through Google Groups Qubes users forum ( this is the Qubes mailing list forum) to see if anyone else has had the same problem/question you have and already found a solution.

Good luck!!

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my request for help.

No, I was unaware that Whonix needed to be run as a virtual guest on the host OS.

Your explanation above really answered my post.

Now I am quite confused.

All I wanted to do is first install Whonix and then Qubes OS to it. That is my understanding of Whonix-Qubes…

I had surfed to Qubes’ website and it appeared that it did not have Whonix. I had the understanding that I first had to install Whonix and then Qubes on top of it. Is my understanding correct?

Thanks for your advice.

Thanks for pointing it out to me and the various scenarios that you brought up.

User 0brand had clarified my erroneous understanding of Whonix. I first have to install a host OS such as Debian, followed by an installation of either KVM or VirtualBox. Only then can I install Whonix workstation and gateway.

I’m very sorry if I confused you. Your first post made mention that you wanted to install Qubes OS on a different partition on your HDD. I did not see that initially. I saw your edited post and it made no mention of Qubes. Just disregard that part and I will try to answer your questions for you.

Its the other way around. You first install Qubes OS (the host). Then you would install your Whonix VMs (the guest).

You can find the Whonix page in the Qubes documentation here. If you use the current stable release which is Qubes 3.2 , you don’t have to worry about downloading Whonix. It comes installed by default :grinning:

To recap, you install Qubes OS ( the host ) first. If for some reason Qubes did not have Whonix installed by default you would then install your Whonix VMs.(your guest VMs)

I would recommend you read through the Qubes documentation. A good starting out point is The Qubes OS intro. After you have read that go to the Qubes video tours. It was made for Qubes 3.1 but the information still applies and the narrator does a great job of explaining about all things Qubes.

After you have finished with that go over the rest of the documentation just to familiarize yourself with the OS. If you have any more Qubes related questions sign up to the Qubes mailing list. I posted the link in my previous post.

Since you only have one HDD I would install Qubes on a USB drive at first just to make sure you don’t have any major hardware compatibility issues. If you do end up having any problems the mailing list is a good place to start searching for answers. Just so there is no confusion the Google Groups Qubes users forum link (from my last post) is actually were all the questions and answers from the Qubes mailing list go. If you do end up having problems there is a good chance someone else has previously had the same issue and has found a solution. Once again make sure you look for your answer here on Google Groups before you post a question on the mailing list.

Thanks for the details, buddy.

Can I install Qubes OS to the second primary partition of my HDD? The first primary partition has been taken up by Debian Stretch.

Yes you can. There is a page in the docs called multibooting Qubes. I believe this is what you are looking for.

Before you do anything make backups of of your current Debian 9 OS. This way if you make a mistake or things don’t go as planned with you installation you can restore from your backups.

There is also an upstream bug in the Qubes installer you should read about here in the installation docs.

Also keep in mind there are security implications with multibooting (dual booting).

Technically it possible to run VMs from LVM partitions with KVM but its a shitty idea because it weakens the isolation between the virtual environment and the host. For example, files deleted in VMs with LVM storage were recoverable in supposedly “clean” sessions. This is not the case when using a virtual HDD/image because the hypervisor controls the storage at the lowest level.

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