Google Engineers Get Windows Booting When Kexec'ed Under Linux

Written by Michael Larabel in Google on 6 August 2019 at 07:55 AM EDT. 21 Comments
An interesting summer internship at Google has led to an experimental effort to get Microsoft Windows running via Kexec from Linux. The engineers involved have been implementing enough of the EFI Boot Services to be able to kexec Windows from Linux.

Kexec has traditionally just been used for loading and booting alternative Linux kernels from a running kernel using this system call in order to minimize system downtime. Kexec is also used by the likes of Raptor's POWER9 systems for booting the system from Petitboot.

Up to now we've only heard of Kexec on Linux being used for booting different Linux kernels, but Google engineers with some EFI tinkering has managed to get it booting Windows.

While Windows is "up and running" at the moment it's only accessible via a serial console but there is hope it could be easy getting graphics output working via the UEFI Graphics Protocol. It will be interesting to see where this leads and ultimately allowing Windows to handle the likes of LinuxBoot with the Google folks involved working on their firmware/security efforts.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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