virt-get-kernel - Extract kernel and ramdisk from guests


 virt-get-kernel [--options] -d domname

 virt-get-kernel [--options] -a disk.img


This option extracts the kernel and initramfs from a guest.

The format of the disk image is automatically detected unless you specify it by using the --format option.

In the case where the guest contains multiple kernels, the one with the highest version number is chosen. To extract arbitrary kernels from the disk image, see guestfish(1). To extract the entire /boot directory of a guest, see virt-copy-out(1).



Display help.

-a file
--add file

Add file which should be a disk image from a virtual machine.

The format of the disk image is auto-detected. To override this and force a particular format use the --format option.

-a URI
--add URI

Add a remote disk. The URI format is compatible with guestfish. See "ADDING REMOTE STORAGE" in guestfish(1).


Use ANSI colour sequences to colourize messages. This is the default when the output is a tty. If the output of the program is redirected to a file, ANSI colour sequences are disabled unless you use this option.

-c URI
--connect URI

If using libvirt, connect to the given URI. If omitted, then we connect to the default libvirt hypervisor.

If you specify guest block devices directly (-a), then libvirt is not used at all.

-d guest
--domain guest

Add all the disks from the named libvirt guest. Domain UUIDs can be used instead of names.


When prompting for keys and passphrases, virt-get-kernel normally turns echoing off so you cannot see what you are typing. If you are not worried about Tempest attacks and there is no one else in the room you can specify this flag to see what you are typing.

--format raw|qcow2|..
--format auto

The default for the -a option is to auto-detect the format of the disk image. Using this forces the disk format for the -a option on the command line.

If you have untrusted raw-format guest disk images, you should use this option to specify the disk format. This avoids a possible security problem with malicious guests (CVE-2010-3851).


Read key or passphrase parameters from stdin. The default is to try to read passphrases from the user by opening /dev/tty.


This option is used to make the output more machine friendly when being parsed by other programs. See "MACHINE READABLE OUTPUT" below.

-o directory
--output directory

This option specifies the output directory where kernel and initramfs from the guest are written.

If not specified, the default output is the current directory.

--prefix prefix

This option specifies a prefix for the extracted files.

If a prefix is specified, then there will be a dash (-) after the prefix and before the rest of the file name; for example, a kernel in the guest like vmlinuz-3.19.0-20-generic is saved as mydistro-vmlinuz-3.19.0-20-generic when the prefix is mydistro.

See also --unversioned-names.


Don't print ordinary progress messages.


This option affects the destination file name of extracted files.

If enabled, files will be saved locally just with the base name; for example, kernel and ramdisk in the guest like vmlinuz-3.19.0-20-generic and initrd.img-3.19.0-20-generic are saved respectively as vmlinuz and initrd.img.

See also --prefix.


Enable verbose messages for debugging.


Display version number and exit.


Enable tracing of libguestfs API calls.


The --machine-readable option can be used to make the output more machine friendly, which is useful when calling virt-get-kernel from other programs, GUIs etc.

Use the option on its own to query the capabilities of the virt-get-kernel binary. Typical output looks like this:

 $ virt-get-kernel --machine-readable

A list of features is printed, one per line, and the program exits with status 0.


For other environment variables which affect all libguestfs programs, see "ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES" in guestfs(3).


This program returns 0 if successful, or non-zero if there was an error.


guestfs(3), guestfish(1), guestmount(1), virt-copy-out(1),


Richard W.M. Jones


Copyright (C) 2013-2017 Red Hat Inc.


This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA.


To get a list of bugs against libguestfs, use this link:

To report a new bug against libguestfs, use this link:

When reporting a bug, please supply: