Windows 10 on Qubes (freeRDP)

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3n7r...@gmail.com

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Nov 9, 2017, 5:25:16 PM11/9/17
to qubes-users
I noticed several folks looking for a way to use Windows 10 on Qubes. Since there is currently no ETA for Windows 10 support via `qubes-windows-tools`[1], I thought I'd share an alternative method. I don't have time for a full writeup at the moment but importantly, nothing in this post is really Qubes-specific, meaning you can find plenty of relevant resources elsewhere.

Windows 10 / Server 2016 installs and runs without any issues as an HVM on Qubes 3.2 (4.0 not tested). Inter-VM functionality can be achieved using any remote desktop protocol, including X11, VNC and RDP. This post is about using the freeRDP client with Windows' built-in RDP server functionality.

The RDP protocol enables the following major features: seamless windows, shared clipboard, shared folders, and audio & usb redirection. GPU-accelerated VMs are possible if they are hosted on a separate Hyper-V machine. Keep in mind that all of these features are provided by the RDP protocol over standard networking interfaces. This is in contrast to `qubes-windows-tools` which provides similar functionality using Qubes' back-end. Determine if that risk is appropriate for you. QWT also provides access to qrexec and persistent profiles (that enable immutable root filesystems and simplified offline HVMs).

1. Install Windows 10 as a Standalone HVM or HVM Template (if you have the appropriate licenses). The template will have limited usage unless you can offload data you want to persist onto a separate volume (or you can use as a disposable vm). Also, make sure you setup a password. Enable Remote Desktop in Settings > System. Leave NLA enabled.

2. InterVM Communication: This will be the hardest step for those of you new to this. You'll need to allow one of your LinuxVMs (freeRDP client) to communicate with one of your Windows VMs (RDP server). Create or use a proxyVM to act as a router.

Example of basic setup:

win10
|
|
sys-net --- sys-firewall
|
|
workVM

Instructions are here: https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/firewall/#enabling-networking-between-two-qubes
Don't proceed until you succeed with this step.

3. Install `freerdp` in workVM. Fedora-25 has v2.0.0 as does Debian stretch-backports.

4. Test with `xfreerdp /v:<server IP>:3389`. If server responds and you can log in, then you can pile on the options.

5. There are MANY options. See `man xfreerdp` and docs[2]. I haven't used a GUI but some exist, like Remmina. You may want to add the following:
```
/v:<serverIP>:3389
/u:[domain\]<user>
/p:<password>
/w:<pixel width>
/h:<pixel height>
/network:lan # network speed
/drive:myShare,/home/user/myShare # share name, location
/rfx # remote-fx works will all vm's; only hyperv for gpu
/rfx-mode:<video|image>
/multimedia # for sync'd audio/video, see docs
/sound # sound redirection
/sound:latency:<in ms>
/microphone
/usb:id,dev # usb redirection, see docs
/clipboard
/fonts # cleartype
/app:"C:\Windows\explorer.exe" # remote-apps (see below)
```

** Remote Apps **

For seamless windows, in RDP host > Group Policy:
`Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Remote Desktop Services/Remote Desktop Session Host/Connections/Allow remote start of unlisted programs`: Set to "Enabled"
Easiest way to use is to launch File Explorer (C:\Windows\explorer.exe) or Console (C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe). Set up shortcuts and launch from these programs - then applications will open in their own seamless windows.


** Offline Windows **

The best feature of `qubes-windows-tools` is that you can use Windows offline with networking completely disabled. Without QWT, the best you can do is have strict firewalls everywhere but especially on your proxyVM.

The only traffic that is necessary for this setup (in proxyVM):
iptables -A FORWARD -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
iptables -A FORWARD -i vif+ -s <workVM IP> -o vif+ -d <win10 IP> \
-p tcp --dport 3389 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT

Drop all other windows outbound traffic entering proxyVM:
iptables -A FORWARD -i vif+ -s <win10 IP> -j DROP
iptables -A INPUT -i vif+ -s <win10 IP> -j DROP

Some other ports that you may require:
WSUS: tcp 8530-8531
KMS: tcp 1688
Samba is a mess: tighten with -s and -d


** Torrified Windows **

Of questionable benefit since win10 is a leaky sieve, but for fun you can route traffic through `sys-whonix`.

# Redirect DNS to Whonix-Gateway
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i vif+ -s <win10 IP> -d <proxyVM IP> \
-p udp --dport 53 -j DNAT --to-destination <sys-whonix IP>
# Allow TCP from Windows
iptables -A FORWARD -i vif+ -s <win10 IP> -o eth0 -p tcp \
-m multiport --dports 80,443 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT


** Hyper-V GPU Passthrough **

Remote-FX allows Win VMs running on Hyper-V to access GPUs. There is some expected overhead but otherwise works well. Potential option if you need accelerated Photoshop on your Qubes desktop. Or if you need to play 3D games on a reasonably secure OS. ;)


Hope that helps! Let me know if you have better methods...

[1] From https://github.com/QubesOS/qubes-issues/issues/1861
[2] https://github.com/FreeRDP/FreeRDP/wiki

alvaro...@hotmail.com

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Nov 13, 2017, 5:14:44 PM11/13/17
to qubes-users
Hi!

Thanks so much for writing this down.

On step 2, these instructions to establish inter VM networking [1] seem to be aimed at linux vms. It says we should use iptables and and edit the rc.local file on both vms. Any tip on how we could do that on the windows 10 qube?

[1] https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/firewall/#enabling-networking-between-two-qubes

entr0py

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Dec 1, 2017, 6:42:29 PM12/1/17
to alvaro...@hotmail.com, qubes-users
alvaro...@hotmail.com:
In case you haven't gotten past this hurdle yet, the general idea is that the following rules need to be in place:

1. windows vm needs to allow input (port 3389)
2. proxy vm needs to allow forwarding of port 3389 from linux vm to windows vm
3. linux vm needs to allow output (port 3389)

Nearly every OS has the same defaults when it comes to firewalls. Allow output, block input, block forwarding.

That's the reason the documentation you referred to only specifies rules for #1 & #2.

You have several options for allowing port 3389 input on the windows vm:

1. Simply enabling Remote Desktop in the System control panel will usually prompt you with the "Allow program through firewall" dialog

2. Start menu -> Firewall, advanced settings -> create a rule to allow port 3389 input.

3. Start menu -> Firewall. Disable the entire firewall in Windows and let your proxy vm handle it.

(obviously no rc.local on windows. not needed since windows will remember changes to firewall.)

pixel fairy

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Dec 2, 2017, 9:00:46 PM12/2/17
to qubes-users
How well does it work just installing in a standalone hvm? can you pass usb devices? if not the qubes filtered "filesystem only" etc flavor, then raw usb pass through?

alex...@gmail.com

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Oct 24, 2019, 10:25:26 AM10/24/19
to qubes-users

** Offline Windows **

The best feature of `qubes-windows-tools` is that you can use Windows offline with networking completely disabled. Without QWT, the best you can do is have strict firewalls everywhere but especially on your proxyVM.

The only traffic that is necessary for this setup (in proxyVM):
    iptables -A FORWARD -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
    iptables -A FORWARD -i vif+ -s <workVM IP> -o vif+ -d <win10 IP> \
      -p tcp --dport 3389 -m state --state NEW -j ACCEPT
   
Drop all other windows outbound traffic entering proxyVM:
    iptables -A FORWARD -i vif+ -s <win10 IP> -j DROP
    iptables -A INPUT -i vif+ -s <win10 IP> -j DROP

Some other ports that you may require:
    WSUS: tcp 8530-8531
    KMS: tcp 1688 

    Samba is a mess: tighten with -s and -d

I am having an issue trying to get these scripts to work in my cloned-sys-firewall qube.  I have got the two qubes communicating between each other using the scripts here  https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/firewall/#enabling-networking-between-two-qubes but I am not able to get the Offline Windows section to work properly.  I am getting the following error in my WorkVM Terminal "failed to connect to <IP Address>"

I inputed the first three lines in /rw/config/qubes-firewall-user-script and I inputed the 2 last iptables lines in /rw/config/rc.local in my cloned-sys-firewall qube and obviously changing my IP addresses.  Any ideas as to why its not connecting?
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