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I have a frustrating problem with VMware and Ubuntu.

I have a desktop running Windows XP 64 and VMware workstation 6.5.4.

I really don't do anything directly on the host except run VMware. I have one guest running Windows XP 32 and one running Ubuntu 9.0.4.

I'm developing a Drupal web site. This is running with LAMP on the Linux VM. I live in the Windows VM. Samba is running on Linux so I have a Windows drive mapped to my Drupal files.

Both VMs are set for bridged network. i.e, they are effectively connected directly on my physical network.

This has been working just fine for the last month or so. Today something has happened so that every ten minutes or so the Linux VM just stops responding for about a minute when I'm accessing it from Windows with any protocol. If the pause lasts long enough, putty will time out and disconnect. It doesn't respond to pings during that time. It usually, but not always, comes back after a minute or so.

The only change is that yesterday I let Microsoft Update do its thing and load a ton of overdue updates. My Office 2003 was also upgraded to 2007 (completely irrelevant, I'm sure).

But that's still not the whole story. A few times when it disappears, I've quickly switched to my physical host and sometimes it's still pingable from there but sometimes not which adds to the confusion.

A few times it has been seemingly permanently dead from both the Windows VM and the physical host. But ... if I go directly to the Linux console and ping another host then that works and it seems to get things working again in terms of Linux accepting connections.

But wait ... there's more :) When I set this up a month or so ago, I first installed the latest Ubuntu 10. I had this same problem. Then I realized that VMware 6.5.4 doesn't officially support Ubuntu 10. I don't think VMware tools were running. So I blew that away and installed Ubuntu 9.0.4 (server version, no GUI) which is supported by VMware 6.5.4. That fixed the problem and it's been working perfectly since then until now when then same problem seems to have appeared with Ubuntu 9.0.4. VMware tools are running although restarting VMware tools seems to be another way of restarting it when it's "stuck".

The problem seems to be a timed thing. It doesn't seem to be related to how much activity is happening on Linux.

I'm not Linux expert but I'm know my way around enough to be dangerous.

Thanks for any ideas.

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migrated from serverfault.com Jan 8 '12 at 16:58

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2 Answers 2

Did you update to a different service pack with all those updates? If so check and see if its compatible with your VM Workstation version. You might have to update VM Workstation to be compatible with your version of XP.

You could also try using VMWare Server. It is free and easy to use, plus there are a ton of appliances that are easy to download, install, and use. No installing needed with appliances. You could go that route and transfer files.

Have you tried backing up files and rebuilding the VM?

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I would look at the host machine... as well as the guest machine. During this "blackout period" ... what is the CPU running at? and how much physical memory is in use? Disk IO? The virtual network interface can run into problems if the CPU is kept at 100%... and having insufficient physical RAM may cause some swapping to disk.... which is never good.

On a side note... I recall that Microsoft issued an update for LSI-logic-based disk controllers... and I believe that VMWare actually uses that as one of the SCSI disk options. That update may conflict with the VMWare disk emulation...

You might even try an alternative to VMWare like VirtualBox that can use the same vhd format.

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Thanks. No, nothing unusual observed in CPU or memory use on the host. Disk light isn't flashing at all. It's got 8 GB ram. 4 GB is allocated to the Windows guest, 1 GB to the Linux. I'm probably going to take the cowards way out and ... give up :-) I will build a Linux development machine external to my desktop. That will be better for several reasons. The Windows guest works absolutely fine. I do a lot of development with Visual Studio on it and have a few other Windows guests for various uses. –  tetranz Sep 17 '10 at 20:02

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