B.17. Common XML Errors

The libvirt tool uses XML documents to store structured data. A variety of common errors occur with XML documents when they are passed to libvirt through the API. Several common XML errors — including misformatted XML, inappropriate values, and missing elements — are detailed below.

B.17.1. Editing Domain Definition

Although it is not recommended, it is sometimes necessary to edit a guest virtual machine's (or a domain's) XML file manually. To access the guest's XML for editing, use the following command:
# virsh edit name_of_guest.xml
This command opens the file in a text editor with the current definition of the guest virtual machine. After finishing the edits and saving the changes, the XML is reloaded and parsed by libvirt. If the XML is correct, the following message is displayed:
# virsh edit name_of_guest.xml

Domain name_of_guest.xml XML configuration edited.


When using the edit command in virsh to edit an XML document, save all changes before exiting the editor.
After saving the XML file, use the xmllint command to validate that the XML is well-formed, or the virt-xml-validate command to check for usage problems:
# xmllint --noout config.xml
# virt-xml-validate config.xml
If no errors are returned, the XML description is well-formed and matches the libvirt schema. While the schema does not catch all constraints, fixing any reported errors will further troubleshooting.
XML documents stored by libvirt
These documents contain definitions of states and configurations for the guests. These documents are automatically generated and should not be edited manually. Errors in these documents contain the file name of the broken document. The file name is valid only on the host machine defined by the URI, which may refer to the machine the command was run on.
Errors in files created by libvirt are rare. However, one possible source of these errors is a downgrade of libvirt — while newer versions of libvirt can always read XML generated by older versions, older versions of libvirt may be confused by XML elements added in a newer version.