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We are having a strange issue with vboxdrv module in my workplace.

Most of the host machines are Debian Wheezy, and we run some Windows virtual machines, built in VirtualBox, to access Windows-only programs.

However, these machines are now crashing with kernel panic errors. The kernel is tainted due to vboxdrv module. I managed to solve this issue by updating VirtualBox to last version, but one of those still panics when running Java with the module loaded. I couldn't find anything on the web about this weird problem.

Has anyone already faced this issue? Any hint to how can I solve?

UPDATE: I just realized it always crashes showing a kernel taint flag which may not show up when cat'ing /proc/sys/kernel/tainted. Also, sometimes it seems to lack refreshing of kernel loaded modules, even after reboot, needing a second reboot to work properly.

share|improve this question
The kernel taint flag may only mean that your kernel has a device driver that is not open source (what are the taint flags?). You could try dmesg | grep -i taint to find out which driver and post the results. Does the problem VM have different driver(s) from the others? – harrymc Sep 12 '13 at 19:02
The taint flag is always G. I found weird the fact that in kernel panic log the taint flag is shown, but is not shown via /proc/sys/kernel/tainted. About the VM, all virtualbox versions seem to cause the problem in this specific machine. – Mauren Sep 12 '13 at 19:55
G=GPL violation, so is not important. Please search taint in dmesg. Also, I meant device driver installed in Debian, not VirtualBox. – harrymc Sep 12 '13 at 20:33
Nothing different from the other machines I have up and running. Please note that Debian is the host, not the guest OS. – Mauren Sep 12 '13 at 20:38
Are the hosts the same manufacturer and hardware? (or does the odd one have a different CPU, etc) – GregHNZ Sep 12 '13 at 22:43
up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are many causes for such problems. Here is what I found from a scan on bug-reports on the VirtualBox forums.

Some causes for such problems :

  • 64 bits guests on 32 bits host
  • host memory or other resource exhausted
  • vitualization disabled in host bios
  • A real hardware issue or kernel corruption on the host

Some possible fixes for such problems :

  • disable 3D acceleration
  • disable host I/O caching for the storage controller
share|improve this answer
I'm gonna scan this machine for hardware problems. Thanks! – Mauren Sep 16 '13 at 18:31

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