Deprecated features

In general features are intended to be supported indefinitely once introduced into QEMU. In the event that a feature needs to be removed, it will be listed in this section. The feature will remain functional for the release in which it was deprecated and one further release. After these two releases, the feature is liable to be removed. Deprecated features may also generate warnings on the console when QEMU starts up, or if activated via a monitor command, however, this is not a mandatory requirement.

Prior to the 2.10.0 release there was no official policy on how long features would be deprecated prior to their removal, nor any documented list of which features were deprecated. Thus any features deprecated prior to 2.10.0 will be treated as if they were first deprecated in the 2.10.0 release.

What follows is a list of all features currently marked as deprecated.

System emulator command line arguments

QEMU_AUDIO_ environment variables and -audio-help (since 4.0)

The -audiodev argument is now the preferred way to specify audio backend settings instead of environment variables. To ease migration to the new format, the -audiodev-help option can be used to convert the current values of the environment variables to -audiodev options.

Creating sound card devices and vnc without audiodev= property (since 4.2)

When not using the deprecated legacy audio config, each sound card should specify an audiodev= property. Additionally, when using vnc, you should specify an audiodev= property if you plan to transmit audio through the VNC protocol.

Creating sound card devices using -soundhw (since 5.1)

Sound card devices should be created using -device instead. The names are the same for most devices. The exceptions are hda which needs two devices (-device intel-hda -device hda-duplex) and pcspk which can be activated using -machine pcspk-audiodev=<name>.

-chardev backend aliases tty and parport (since 6.0)

tty and parport are aliases that will be removed. Instead, the actual backend names serial and parallel should be used.

Short-form boolean options (since 6.0)

Boolean options such as share=on/share=off could be written in short form as share and noshare. This is now deprecated and will cause a warning.

delay option for socket character devices (since 6.0)

The replacement for the nodelay short-form boolean option is nodelay=on rather than delay=off.

--enable-fips (since 6.0)

This option restricts usage of certain cryptographic algorithms when the host is operating in FIPS mode.

If FIPS compliance is required, QEMU should be built with the libgcrypt library enabled as a cryptography provider.

Neither the nettle library, or the built-in cryptography provider are supported on FIPS enabled hosts.

-writeconfig (since 6.0)

The -writeconfig option is not able to serialize the entire contents of the QEMU command line. It is thus considered a failed experiment and deprecated, with no current replacement.

Userspace local APIC with KVM (x86, since 6.0)

Using -M kernel-irqchip=off with x86 machine types that include a local APIC is deprecated. The split setting is supported, as is using -M kernel-irqchip=off with the ISA PC machine type.

hexadecimal sizes with scaling multipliers (since 6.0)

Input parameters that take a size value should only use a size suffix (such as ‘k’ or ‘M’) when the base is written in decimal, and not when the value is hexadecimal. That is, ‘0x20M’ is deprecated, and should be written either as ‘32M’ or as ‘0x2000000’.

-spice password=string (since 6.0)

This option is insecure because the SPICE password remains visible in the process listing. This is replaced by the new password-secret option which lets the password be securely provided on the command line using a secret object instance.

opened property of rng-* objects (since 6.0.0)

The only effect of specifying opened=on in the command line or QMP object-add is that the device is opened immediately, possibly before all other options have been processed. This will either have no effect (if opened was the last option) or cause errors. The property is therefore useless and should not be specified.

loaded property of secret and secret_keyring objects (since 6.0.0)

The only effect of specifying loaded=on in the command line or QMP object-add is that the secret is loaded immediately, possibly before all other options have been processed. This will either have no effect (if loaded was the last option) or cause options to be effectively ignored as if they were not given. The property is therefore useless and should not be specified.

-display sdl,window_close=... (since 6.1)

Use -display sdl,window-close=... instead (i.e. with a minus instead of an underscore between “window” and “close”).

-no-quit (since 6.1)

The -no-quit is a synonym for -display ...,window-close=off which should be used instead.

QEMU Machine Protocol (QMP) commands

blockdev-open-tray, blockdev-close-tray argument device (since 2.8.0)

Use argument id instead.

eject argument device (since 2.8.0)

Use argument id instead.

blockdev-change-medium argument device (since 2.8.0)

Use argument id instead.

block_set_io_throttle argument device (since 2.8.0)

Use argument id instead.

blockdev-add empty string argument backing (since 2.10.0)

Use argument value null instead.

block-commit arguments base and top (since 3.1.0)

Use arguments base-node and top-node instead.

nbd-server-add and nbd-server-remove (since 5.2)

Use the more generic commands block-export-add and block-export-del instead. As part of this deprecation, where nbd-server-add used a single bitmap, the new block-export-add uses a list of bitmaps.

System accelerators

MIPS Trap-and-Emul KVM support (since 6.0)

The MIPS Trap-and-Emul KVM host and guest support has been removed from Linux upstream kernel, declare it deprecated.

System emulator CPUS

Icelake-Client CPU Model (since 5.2.0)

Icelake-Client CPU Models are deprecated. Use Icelake-Server CPU Models instead.

MIPS I7200 CPU Model (since 5.2)

The I7200 guest CPU relies on the nanoMIPS ISA, which is deprecated (the ISA has never been upstreamed to a compiler toolchain). Therefore this CPU is also deprecated.

System emulator machines

Raspberry Pi raspi2 and raspi3 machines (since 5.2)

The Raspberry Pi machines come in various models (A, A+, B, B+). To be able to distinguish which model QEMU is implementing, the raspi2 and raspi3 machines have been renamed raspi2b and raspi3b.

Aspeed swift-bmc machine (since 6.1)

This machine is deprecated because we have enough AST2500 based OpenPOWER machines. It can be easily replaced by the witherspoon-bmc or the romulus-bmc machines.

Backend options

Using non-persistent backing file with pmem=on (since 6.1)

This option is used when memory-backend-file is consumed by emulated NVDIMM device. However enabling memory-backend-file.pmem option, when backing file is (a) not DAX capable or (b) not on a filesystem that support direct mapping of persistent memory, is not safe and may lead to data loss or corruption in case of host crash. Options are:

  • modify VM configuration to set pmem=off to continue using fake NVDIMM (without persistence guaranties) with backing file on non DAX storage
  • move backing file to NVDIMM storage and keep pmem=on (to have NVDIMM with persistence guaranties).

Device options

Emulated device options

-device virtio-blk,scsi=on|off (since 5.0.0)

The virtio-blk SCSI passthrough feature is a legacy VIRTIO feature. VIRTIO 1.0 and later do not support it because the virtio-scsi device was introduced for full SCSI support. Use virtio-scsi instead when SCSI passthrough is required.

Note this also applies to -device virtio-blk-pci,scsi=on|off, which is an alias.

Block device options

"backing": "" (since 2.12.0)

In order to prevent QEMU from automatically opening an image’s backing chain, use "backing": null instead.

rbd keyvalue pair encoded filenames: "" (since 3.1.0)

Options for rbd should be specified according to its runtime options, like other block drivers. Legacy parsing of keyvalue pair encoded filenames is useful to open images with the old format for backing files; These image files should be updated to use the current format.

Example of legacy encoding:

json:{"file.driver":"rbd", "file.filename":"rbd:rbd/name"}

The above, converted to the current supported format:

json:{"file.driver":"rbd", "file.pool":"rbd", "file.image":"name"}

linux-user mode CPUs

ppc64abi32 CPUs (since 5.2.0)

The ppc64abi32 architecture has a number of issues which regularly trip up our CI testing and is suspected to be quite broken. For that reason the maintainers strongly suspect no one actually uses it.

MIPS I7200 CPU (since 5.2)

The I7200 guest CPU relies on the nanoMIPS ISA, which is deprecated (the ISA has never been upstreamed to a compiler toolchain). Therefore this CPU is also deprecated.

Backwards compatibility

Runnability guarantee of CPU models (since 4.1.0)

Previous versions of QEMU never changed existing CPU models in ways that introduced additional host software or hardware requirements to the VM. This allowed management software to safely change the machine type of an existing VM without introducing new requirements (“runnability guarantee”). This prevented CPU models from being updated to include CPU vulnerability mitigations, leaving guests vulnerable in the default configuration.

The CPU model runnability guarantee won’t apply anymore to existing CPU models. Management software that needs runnability guarantees must resolve the CPU model aliases using the alias-of field returned by the query-cpu-definitions QMP command.

While those guarantees are kept, the return value of query-cpu-definitions will have existing CPU model aliases point to a version that doesn’t break runnability guarantees (specifically, version 1 of those CPU models). In future QEMU versions, aliases will point to newer CPU model versions depending on the machine type, so management software must resolve CPU model aliases before starting a virtual machine.

Guest Emulator ISAs


The nanoMIPS ISA has never been upstreamed to any compiler toolchain. As it is hard to generate binaries for it, declare it deprecated.