systemd-detect-virt (1) - Linux Manuals

systemd-detect-virt: Detect execution in a virtualized environment


systemd-detect-virt - Detect execution in a virtualized environment


systemd-detect-virt [OPTIONS...]



detects execution in a virtualized environment. It identifies the virtualization technology and can distinguish full machine virtualization from container virtualization. systemd-detect-virt exits with a return value of 0 (success) if a virtualization technology is detected, and non-zero (error) otherwise. By default, any type of virtualization is detected, and the options --container and --vm can be used to limit what types of virtualization are detected.

When executed without --quiet will print a short identifier for the detected virtualization technology. The following technologies are currently identified:

Table 1. Known virtualization technologies (both VM, i.e. full hardware virtualization, and container, i.e. shared kernel virtualization)

Type ID Product
VM qemu QEMU software virtualization, without KVM
kvm Linux KVM kernel virtual machine, in combination with QEMU. Not used for other virtualizers using the KVM interfaces, such as Oracle VirtualBox or Amazon EC2 Nitro, see below.
amazon Amazon EC2 Nitro using Linux KVM
zvm s390 z/VM
vmware VMware Workstation or Server, and related products
microsoft Hyper-V, also known as Viridian or Windows Server Virtualization
oracle Oracle VM VirtualBox (historically marketed by innotek and Sun Microsystems), for legacy and KVM hypervisor
powervm IBM PowerVM hypervisor --- comes as firmware with some IBM POWER servers
xen Xen hypervisor (only domU, not dom0)
bochs Bochs Emulator
uml User-mode Linux
parallels Parallels Desktop, Parallels Server
bhyve bhyve, FreeBSD hypervisor
qnx QNX hypervisor
acrn m[blue]ACRN hypervisorm[][1]  
Container openvz OpenVZ/Virtuozzo
lxc Linux container implementation by LXC
lxc-libvirt Linux container implementation by libvirt
systemd-nspawn systemd's minimal container implementation, see systemd-nspawn(1)
docker Docker container manager
podman m[blue]Podmanm[][2] container manager
rkt rkt app container runtime
wsl m[blue]Windows Subsystem for Linuxm[][3]
proot m[blue]prootm[][4] userspace chroot/bind mount emulation
pouch m[blue]Pouchm[][5] Container Engine

If multiple virtualization solutions are used, only the "innermost" is detected and identified. That means if both machine and container virtualization are used in conjunction, only the latter will be identified (unless --vm is passed).

Windows Subsystem for Linux is not a Linux container, but an environment for running Linux userspace applications on top of the Windows kernel using a Linux-compatible interface. WSL is categorized as a container for practical purposes. Multiple WSL environments share the same kernel and services should generally behave like when being run in a container.


The following options are understood:

-c, --container

Only detects container virtualization (i.e. shared kernel virtualization).

-v, --vm

Only detects hardware virtualization.

-r, --chroot

Detect whether invoked in a chroot(2) environment. In this mode, no output is written, but the return value indicates whether the process was invoked in a chroot() environment or not.


Detect whether invoked in a user namespace. In this mode, no output is written, but the return value indicates whether the process was invoked inside of a user namespace or not. See user_namespaces(7) for more information.

-q, --quiet

Suppress output of the virtualization technology identifier.


Output all currently known and detectable container and VM environments.

-h, --help

Print a short help text and exit.


Print a short version string and exit.


If a virtualization technology is detected, 0 is returned, a non-zero code otherwise.


ACRN hypervisor
Windows Subsystem for Linux


systemd(1), systemd-nspawn(1), chroot(2), namespaces(7)