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I am struggling to use virtual box with debian stable (jessie) as guest OS under windows 8.1 as host OS.

The installation of debian was simple, but logging into the guest OS is causing lots of trouble. After many attempts of adjusting various parameters I succeeded in being able to login to the debian jessie with following parameters:

  • video memory: 128 MB
  • Enable 3D acceleration: true
  • Enable PAE/NX: true
  • Enable I/O APIC: true
  • Use Host I/O Cache: true
  • Solid-state Drive: true

and a virtual disk drive of 16 GB and 2048 MB memory for the virtual machine.

I did many attempts at adjusting parameters, because in most of the cases the debian guest OS would boot up and show a black screen instead of login screen, show login screen for some seconds and then freeze, show login screen and freeze after 5-10 keyboard inputs, or not render login screen correctly. Some of the configurations would randomly end up in any of the above mentioned states when rebooting with the same parameters.

Finally, after randomly adjusting the parameters and rebooting the guest OS many many times, I managed log into the guest OS with the lxde window manager.

However, after closing down virtual box and opening it again and trying to run the guest OS, I ended up with black or broken login screens again.

After a couple of attempts on rebooting the guest and host OS, I managed to get the guest OS running again... (without any parameter adjustment)

Why this random behavior?, what am I doing wrong? is there something I need to install in the host OS or guest OS, or is there some parameters that can cause random behavior? Are there any more reliable virtual machines out there?

The host machine is a lenovo x250 with intel i3, 16 GB memory, 256 GB SSD and windows 8.1 64bit. VirtualBox is version 4.3.28.

  • What version of VirtualBox are you running? Have you loaded the VirtualBox Extension Pack? – Emacs User Jun 26 '15 at 23:29
  • virtualbox is version 4.3.28. I don't know about 'VirtualBox Extension Pack', so I guess I have not loaded it :) – Michelrandahl Jun 26 '15 at 23:35
  • Try booting with PAE/NX disabled: this is required for Ubuntu, not necessarily for Debian. Can you boot? – MariusMatutiae Jun 27 '15 at 5:37
  • I seem to be able to boot no matter how I configure the parameters. The problem always starts at the login screen.. sometimes I get black screen instead of login screen, sometimes I get the correct login screen for some seconds and then it freezes, sometimes it renders the login screen incorrect and finally on very rare occasions I am able to login.. There seem to be no correlation between the crashes and the parameters – Michelrandahl Jun 27 '15 at 5:56
  • Apparently there are lots of errors with Windows 8.1 as host. Some of these can be fixed with loading extension pack, which will fix screen going blank. But the real problems might be more clearly deciphered from the log files on your computer. Since you are not sure about this installation, you may want to pursue those log files. VirtualBox.org website has several community forums dedicated solving errors on Windows hosts. You may also first want to narrow down your search to known incompatibilities. – Emacs User Jun 27 '15 at 6:14
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I found a feature in my BIOS settings under "security" which supposedly protects the computer from memory overflow errors..

However, I tried to disable this feature and now I don't seem to get any strange errors anymore and furthermore does the virtual machine run much much much faster..

In my attempts to solve the problem, I also tried upgrading VirtualBox to version 5.0, but that didn't seem to make any difference

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