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VMware Workstation 3.2 Troubleshooting
  [an error occurred while processing this directive]Troubleshooting

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How to Troubleshoot VMware Workstation

How to Troubleshoot VMware Workstation

This section contains advice and a list of questions designed to help you isolate a problem by starting simply and progressing in a logical sequence through the layers of software and hardware involved with using VMware Workstation - from a virtual machine to the VMware Workstation software to the host machine.

Keep in mind the following:

  • The physical host machine and the virtual machine are both real machines. They both perform the real operations of a computer. Both machines start as a "blank" computer with a processor, memory, hard drive, video card, and other devices of a typical computer. Both machines need an operating system installed by the user in order to be fully functional.
  • The difference between the two computers is that the physical host machine contains an operating system that directly manipulates its devices in the physical world, whereas the virtual machine contains its own separate operating system (called a guest operating system) that manipulates its virtual devices in the virtual world.
  • Virtual machine devices access the physical devices on the host machine through a virtualization layer between the virtual machine and the host machine.

To improve performance, the virtual machine has direct access to the processor and memory of the host machine. In some cases, there is also direct access to the video display. However, when troubleshooting a problem, you can typically think of the virtual machine as a completely separate computer with its own devices and resources in the virtual world.

Three Layers of Troubleshooting

Three Layers of Troubleshooting

There are three layers of troubleshooting to think about.

  • The virtual machine, its virtual devices and guest operating system.
  • The specific VMware product (in this case, VMware Workstation).
  • The physical host machine, its devices and operating system.
Installing VMware Workstation and a Guest Operating System

Installing VMware Workstation and a Guest Operating System

The instructions that follow assume

  • You have already installed VMware Workstation on your host system.
  • You have created at least one virtual machine.
  • You have installed a guest operating system in a virtual machine.

For help with installing VMware Workstation, creating a virtual machine and installing a guest operating system, go to www.vmware.com/support/ws3/doc/install_ws.html.

First Steps in Diagnosing Problems with a Virtual Machine

First Steps in Diagnosing Problems with a Virtual Machine

When you start troubleshooting a virtual machine, ignore the host machine and assume that you are diagnosing a problem with a single computer, the virtual machine. Examine your virtual machine in the same way you would examine a physical computer, using all the basic rules of troubleshooting.

It is often helpful to put the virtual machine in full screen mode so that it is the only thing you see on your monitor and you are free of other distractions.

The first steps in diagnosing problems with a virtual machine are to answer the following questions:

  1. Does the virtual machine BIOS have the appropriate devices and boot options?

  2. Is the guest operating system installed with all of the necessary devices and options? Use the documentation provided by your operating system manufacturer to verify your installation.

  3. If there is a problem with a particular device, is the device driver properly installed in the guest operating system? Is this device operating properly within the guest operating system or are there errors? Are there any resource conflicts? Can you resolve them by uninstalling and reinstalling the device? Do you need an updated driver from the operating system manufacturer? Are the errors caused by something happening in the virtual machine's operating system, the virtual machine itself or third party software installed on the guest?

    Each virtual machine provides a platform that consists of the following set of virtual devices:

    • Virtual DVD/CD-ROM
    • Virtual IDE and SCSI hard disk drives
    • Standard PCI graphics adapter
    • Standard floppy disk drive
    • Intel 82371 PCI Bus Master IDE controller (includes primary and secondary IDE controllers)
    • BusLogic BT-958 compatible SCSI host adapter
    • Standard 101/102-key keyboard
    • PS/2-compatible mouse
    • AMD PCnet-PCI II compatible Ethernet adapter
    • Serial ports (COM1-COM4)
    • Parallel ports (LPT1-LPT2)
    • Two-port USB 1.1 controller
    • Creative Sound Blaster 16-compatible sound card
  4. If the device does not report any errors and it still does not work as expected, did you configure it properly for use in this environment? For example, if the virtual network card is fully functional within the virtual machine, perhaps the TCP/IP protocol is not properly installed, the IP address is configured incorrectly, the network card was placed on a subnet that has no DHCP server or the proper networking options weren't installed in the guest operating system (for example, you may have forgotten to install Client for Microsoft Networks).

  5. Is there a third-party software package installed on the guest operating system that has special needs that cannot be met by the virtual machine or that are conflicting with some other hardware or software installed in the virtual machine? For example, if you are running a virtual machine from a raw disk on a dual-boot host computer, is the software on this disk attempting to load drivers that are not compatible with the virtual hardware in the virtual machine?

  6. Did you set up networking properly, including assigning a proper IP number, setting up a share point and giving proper security to this share point? Consult the documentation provided by your operating system manufacturer for instructions on setting up networking (Windows networking or SAMBA, for example.)

  7. What was the last change you made to the virtual machine before a problem occurred?

If you cannot solve the problem by answering the questions above, examine the next layer of the problem, in this case VMware Workstation.

Steps to Diagnosing Problems in the Next Layer - VMware Workstation

Steps to Diagnosing Problems in the Next Layer - VMware Workstation

The next steps in diagnosing problems with a virtual machine are to answer these questions:

  1. Is the version of VMware Workstation you installed compatible with your host operating system, service patches or kernel? Refer to the system requirements listed at www.vmware.com/support/ws3/doc/intro_sysreqs_ws.html.

  2. Have you successfully installed VMware Workstation on the host operating system with the options you want? If you have a Windows host computer, did you turn off CD autorun on the host operating system?

  3. If you recompiled or installed a new kernel on a Linux host, did you remember to rerun vmware-config.pl?

  4. If you have made major changes on the host operating system, such as adding a service pack, have you tried reinstalling VMware Workstation?

  5. Are the bridged networking and DHCP services working properly on the host operating system? If not, can you stop and start them manually?

  6. Check the Configuration Editor (Settings > Configuration editor) to verify the following:

    • Does your setting for guest operating system match the operating system you installed in the virtual machine?
    • Have you chosen the virtualized hardware and options you want in the virtual machine? Examples: Are you using a virtual disk or a raw disk?
    • If you are using a raw disk, have you read the documentation on raw disks? For details, see www.vmware.com/support/ws3/doc/disks_ws.html.
    • If you are using your virtual machine on a laptop computer that does not have a floppy drive connected, did you uncheck the Start Connected checkbox for the floppy drive?
    • Is your network adapter set for NAT, bridged or host-only networking? Do you understand the difference between NAT, bridged and host-only networking and how the virtual machine should function using each of these? For details, see www.vmware.com/support/ws3/doc/network_ws.html.
    • Did you install and configure the appropriate serial ports, parallel ports or sound card in the virtual machine?
    • Did you allow enough memory and disk space for the virtual machine? If you are trying to use more than one virtual machine simultaneously, try reducing the amount of memory used by this virtual machine so the others can run concurrently.
    • Have you checked other options in the Configuration Editor to be sure they are set as you want them to be?
  7. Are the input preferences set as you expect - in the Preferences dialog box on a Windows host (Settings > Preferences > Input) or the Settings > Input Preferences menu on a Linux host?

    If you are having problems taking control of the virtual machine, be sure the virtual machine is set to grab and release control when you expect it to.

  8. Is this virtual machine using more than the recommended reserved memory, potentially causing problems on both the host and virtual machines? On a Windows host, look at Settings > Preferences > Memory. On a Linux host, look at Settings > Reserved Memory.

  9. If you see a black border around the virtual machine's screen display, have you made sure View > Autofit is chosen?

If, at this point, you have not solved the problem, you should examine the bottom layer, the host machine.

Steps to Diagnosing Problems in the Bottom Layer - the Host Machine

Steps to Diagnosing Problems in the Bottom Layer - the Host Machine

Answer the following questions to help diagnose problems with the host machine that may be affecting your virtual machine:

  1. Does the host meet the minimum requirements to run VMware Workstation? For example, is your processor (CPU) fast enough? Do you have enough memory (RAM)? Do you have enough free disk space? For a complete list of system requirements for the host computer, see www.vmware.com/support/ws3/doc/intro_sysreqs_ws.html.

  2. Did you properly install the host operating system with all of the devices and options you wanted? Use the documentation provided by your operating system manufacturer to verify this.

  3. Does the hardware on the host machine function properly? For example, do you have the proper memory installed on the motherboard? Do all of the physical devices work? Do the diagnostics for these devices show that they are working properly?

  4. If there is a problem with a particular device, check the following:

    • Is the device driver properly installed in the host operating system? Is this device operating properly within the host operating system, or are there errors? Are there any resource conflicts? Can you resolve these problems by uninstalling and reinstalling the device? Do you need an updated driver from the operating system manufacturer?
    • Are the errors caused by something happening in the host operating system, the host computer itself or third-party software installed on the host?
    • If there are no errors reported by the device and it still does not work as expected, have you configured it properly for use in this environment? For example, if the network adapter is fully functional on the host machine, check to be sure the network cable is connected to the network card. Perhaps the TCP/IP protocol is not properly installed, the IP number is configured incorrectly, the network card was placed on a subnet that has no DHCP server or the proper networking options weren't installed in the host operating system (for example, you may have forgotten to install Client for Microsoft Networks).
  5. Is there a third-party software package installed on the host that is conflicting with some other hardware or software on the host or virtual machines? For example, is your Palm Pilot hot sync application holding the first serial port on the host open so you cannot use it in a virtual machine?

  6. Did you set up networking properly, including assigning a proper IP number, setting up a share point and giving proper security to this share point? Consult the documentation provided by your operating system manufacturer for information on setting up networking (Windows networking or SAMBA, for example).

  7. What was the last change you made to the host machine before a problem occurred?

Where to Find More Information

Where to Find More Information

If you worked through the questions in the preceding sections and could not solve your problem, the next step is to consult the documentation provided by your computer and operating system manufacturers. Information about specific issues and general documentation for all VMware products is available at
www.vmware.com/support/.

This Web page provides links to

  • Information about specific VMware products
  • VMware product documentation
  • Our list of frequently-asked questions (FAQ)
  • Newsgroups
  • A search engine for finding information in our online documentation

The search engine is especially useful. It can lead you to a solution for an immediate problem and also help you find supporting documentation so you can make the best use of your virtual machines.

Requesting Support

Requesting Support

To bring your problem to the attention of our support staff, please submit a support request. Go to Help > VMware on the Web > Request Support. Or, if you cannot run Workstation, go to www.vmware.com/requestsupport.

When you request support, you can help us help you by including what you learned as you worked through the steps above.

If a virtual machine exits abnormally or crashes, please save the log file before you launch another virtual machine. he key log file to save is the VMware log file for the affected virtual machine - on a Windows host, the vmware.log file in the same directory as the configuration file (.vmx ) of the virtual machine that had problems; on a Linux host, the <vmname>.log or vmware.log file in the same directory as the configuration file (.cfg ) of the virtual machine that had problems.

When you fill in the support request form, please do so as accurately as possible and include your VMware log file. VMware log files contain valuable information that may help our technical support engineers solve your problem.

If you are reporting a problem you encountered while installing Workstation on a Windows host, it is also helpful to have your installation log file.

The installation log file is VMInst.log. It is saved in your temp folder. On a Windows NT host, the default location is C:\temp. On a Windows 2000 or Windows XP host, the default location is C:\Documents and Settings\
<username>\Local Settings\Temp
. The Local Settings folder is hidden by default. To see its contents, open My Computer, go to Tools > Folder Options, click the View tab and select Show Hidden Files and Folders.

If the problem resulted in an abort or panic, please send any core files (core or vmware-core) you find in the same directory as the configuration file (.vmx on Windows hosts, .cfg on Linux hosts) for the virtual machine that encountered the error.

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If you're having trouble locating a destination on VMware.com, try visiting the VMware home page or the following sections:

  • My VMware : Manage your licenses, support and services.
  • Products : Browse the VMware product list.
  • Downloads : Download VMware products, drivers and tools.
  • Support : Find VMware support by products.
  • Solutions : Find solutions to address your IT priorities and initiatives.