Install Ubuntu Core on a VM

You can try Ubuntu Core without any specific hardware from within a virtual machine using Multipass on Windows, Mac and Linux. Multipass has integrated support for the latest Ubuntu Core images and can launch and run virtual machines from a single command.

If you need to test your own Ubuntu Core images, see Test Ubuntu Core with QEMU. QEMU, is more configurable than Multipass and can boot either a supported image or a custom image, with or without TPM emulation and full disk encryption.

Boot Ubuntu Core with Multipass

If you don’t yet have Multipass installed, see Install Multipass. If it’s installed, the following command will output its current state:

multipass info

List available images

To list which images Multipass currently has available, type multipass find.

The output will include Ubuntu Core images alongside standard Ubuntu images:

Image       Aliases           Version          Description
core20                        20230119         Ubuntu Core 20
core22                        20230717         Ubuntu Core 22
20.04        ocal             20240129.1       Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
22.04        ammy,lts         20240126         Ubuntu 22.04 LTS
daily:24.04  noble,devel      20240129         Ubuntu 24.04 LTS

Ubuntu Core 24: Multipass images for Ubuntu Core 24 are currently being tested. They are available from the edge version of the Multipass snap (snap refresh multipass --edge) and they’ll become available from all stable releases shortly.

Launch an image

To create a new instance and boot your choice of Ubuntu Core image, type:

multipass launch <image-name> -n <instance-name>

For example, the following command will launch and boot core22 with an instance name of mycore22:

multipass launch core22 -n mycore22

The image is downloaded and locally cached when it’s launched for the first time.

Access a running instance

You can connect to a running instance of Ubuntu Core by opening a shell environment on that running instance:

multipass shell mycore22

You are now operating within the Ubuntu Core environment. See First steps with Ubuntu Core for suggestions on what to try.


I see that the “Install Multipass” links point to the “Install” page on the website, not sure if in the context of this guide it would make more sense to link the actual documentation page: How to install Multipass, or if it’s best to keep it light and high-level as in the currently linked page.

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Thank you for the suggestion! I think you’re right - the page you suggest is a better cross-platform fit.