How to forcefully shutdown a guest VM using virsh command on Linux KVM

Posted on in Categories , , , , , , last updated February 26, 2017

I used the command ‘virsh shutdown vm1’ to shut down a guest named vm1 using the virsh command. However, it is still running, and my vm1 is not responding to an ssh session. Is there is a way to forcefully stop or kill a guest VM using the virsh command from host server?

You can alway force a guest domain/VM to stop with the virsh command. This command does an immediate ungraceful shutdown of VM. Let us see how to force a guest to stop and risk associated with it on Linux KVM.

How to shut down a guest vm gracefully

The syntax is:
# virsh shutdown domain
# virsh shutdown vm
# virsh shutdown freebsd
# virsh shutdown ubuntu1

How to shut down a guest vm immediately (forceful shutdown)

The syntax is:
# virsh destroy domain
# virsh destroy vm
# virsh destroy freebsd
# virsh destroy ubuntu1

Sample sessin:

Fig.01: Virsh command for forcing a guest to stop
Fig.01: Virsh command for forcing a guest to stop

The above command works but it can also corrupt guest file system but leave its resources intact. Hence I recommend to backup your VM everyday or at least backup important files including database.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

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