VirtualBox on Windows 7 64 bit causes Blue screen

Hi,

This is related to a recent question that I asked earlier ...
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Virtualization/Q_25441639.html

Problem Description:

On a personal laptop, I am running Window 7 64-bit Ultimate on my Dell Inspiron 1721 AMD Turion x64. You should be able view my hardware/driver set-up using ...
http://support.euro.dell.com/support/downloads/driverslist.aspx?c=uk&cs=ukbsdt1&l=en&s=gen&catid=&impid=&os=WLH&osl=en&ServiceTag=GM8YF3J&SystemID=INS_PNT_PM_1721

I did decide to go with VirtualBox as a virtualization solution because it uses some hardware acceleration and I don't want a solution that installs underneath Windows 7 (i.e. XenServer, VMware ESXi) at this stage because I want to have wipe my whole disk.

"VirtualBox 3.1.6 for Windows hosts x86/amd64" (http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/3.1.6/VirtualBox-3.1.6-59338-Win.exe) did install successfully.  I created a "Ubuntu Linux 64 bit" virtual machine using the wizard defaults, started the virtual machine with an official Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition DVD in my drive, I get to select the language but shortly after that I get the blue screen of death:

--------------------------------------
A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer.

A clock interrupt was not received on a secondary processor within the allocated time interval.

? Disable BIOS memory options such as caching or shadowing.

Technical information:
*** STOP: 0x00000101 (0x0000000061, 0x00000000000, 0xFFFFF880009E8180, 0x00000000001)
--------------------------------------

Ideally, I am looking for a solution that either fixes my VirtualBox problem OR ...  

I briefly tried VMware server using "bridged" networking but  that didn't work because the Ubuntu install couldn't find the DHCP server associated with my mobile broadband (maybe the mobile brand operator didn't allow this) or the DHCP with my next door neighbour's WiFi ;-).  Should I have been using NAT?

In the meantime I'm going to try Microsoft's Virtual PC with an Ubuntu guest, no holding out much hope though.

Thanks in advance for your help,

John
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johnwardeAsked:
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Can you upload minidump files here?
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johnwardeAuthor Commented:
Hi noxcho,

My minidump files are attached in a zip file:

032910-35849-01.dmp - first bluescreen with VirtualBox and no other virtualization solution installed
032910-33150-01.dmp - second bluescreen with VirtualBox
040110-37393-01.dmp - I think this is with VMware server
040710-31075-01.dmp  - happened when trying Windows Virtual PC

Thanks,

John
minidumps.zip
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johnwardeAuthor Commented:
Also, I have run the following utilities with positive results:

AMD Virtualization™ Technology and Microsoft® Hyper-V™ System Compatibility Check Utility:
http://support.amd.com/us/Pages/dynamicDetails.aspx?ListID=c5cd2c08-1432-4756-aafa-4d9dc646342f&ItemID=177&lang=us

Microsoft® Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=0ee2a17f-8538-4619-8d1c-05d27e11adb2&displaylang=en

John
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
You got hal.dll and ntoskrnl.exe BSODs that mean problems to Windows kernel. Sounds for me like this machine is not supported by your laptop. Did you try to install Windows in VirtualBox? Does it produce the same problem?
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johnwardeAuthor Commented:
Hi noxcho,

I installed VirtualBox again and this time I set up an Windows 7 64 bit virtual machine and popped in my Windows 7 DVD and my whole machine froze (mouse, everything) when it started to load Windows (I'm guessing at device load stage).  This also happened the first time I booted the Ubuntu VM and I betting on a blue screen when I power up the Windows 7 VM again in a minute.

Your quote:"You got hal.dll and ntoskrnl.exe BSODs that mean problems to Windows kernel. Sounds for me like this machine is not supported by your laptop."  - don't know what you mean by this, what are BSODs? Are hal.dll and ntoskrnl.exe not installed by Windows 7? If not what do they do and where did they come from?

Just thinking out loud ... I did not get my "Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit install DVD" from DELL, I got it directly from Microsoft at a developer conference the day before the official launch of Windows 7 ... would this have any significance to your above statement?

Thanks,

John

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johnwardeAuthor Commented:
Yes, it did blue screen on the second launch of the Windows 7 64 bit virtual machine with install DVD in the drive.  I have attached the minidump file again.

Hopefully this info helps?

John

MiniDumpWithWindows7x64VM.zip
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
what are BSODs? - Blue Screen Of Death.
Are hal.dll and ntoskrnl.exe not installed by Windows7? - Hardware Abstract Layer and NT OS Kernel. The first one is responsible for hardware and second one is the kernel of Windows 7 itself. Sure they are installed. These two files had problems because of something. Not sure what did cause the issues.

would this have any significance to your above statement? - as far as you install updates - No.


Hopefully this info helps? - Yes. This is something new.
Now the problem causing software is your ATI video controller driver and directX kernel:

atikmdag.sys
dxgkrnl.sys

Solution you can try is to uninstall ATI driver completely. Then go to http://www.amd.com/us/Pages/AMDHomePage.aspx and select your graphics driver. Download and install it.

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johnwardeAuthor Commented:
Hi,

I completely removed the ATI driver & software using the "ATI Install Manager" (in "Programs and Features") and I also uninstalled the "ATI Radeon X1200" driver that was still there after the uninstall procedure,

Just as a test, tried to start a "Window7x64 VM" before installing the ATI drivers again and same result - freeze on loading windows from install DVD.

I downloaded both of the drivers from here:
http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/windows/Legacy/Pages/radeonaiw_vista64.aspx?type=2.4.1&product=2.4.1.3.13&lang=English
Note: I did choose "Windows 7 64-bit" and still brought me to Vista drivers.

I tried them separately, with the Window7x64 VM and same result.

I also tried removing ATI again and then choosing "Upgrade driver software" on the "Standard VGA Graphics Adapter" left in "Display adapters" in the Device manager.

I've included minidumps again but I'm not sure which is which at this stage, I don;t think there is a minidump/bluescreen (screen just froze) for when there was no display adapter installed.

John

MiniDumpWithATIreinstalledAndWin.zip
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Again issue with Windows kernel. Reading through forums I noticed that most blamed:
CPU and RAM. How old your laptop is?
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johnwardeAuthor Commented:
I purchased my laptop in August of 2008. Anything inside the laptop is factory installed including the 4GB RAM that I ordered.

John
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johnwardeAuthor Commented:
Sorry, I made a mistake on the date above ... purchased laptop Jan 2008.
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techhealthCommented:
What version of VirtualBox are you using?  Make sure you have the latest version. The VBox development is very active, so things change fast.  A lot of the annoying things when I started 6 months ago have since been fixed on the newer releases.
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techhealthCommented:
Another thing is, allocating memory frugally with VMs.  VBox is aggressive with using memory, so if your VM is competing for memory with your host, all hell breaks loose.  I used to have 4 GB memory (host OS is Ubuntu x64), and if I ran 2 VMs with 1.5 GB each, the system would grind to a halt in a minute.  Once I expanded the memory to 8 GB, things become completely problem free.  So make sure you leave 1.5 GB memory or more for your host.  For instance, if you have 4 GB physical memory, make sure the total mem usage for the running VMs never even get close to 2.5 GB.

As for using VMWare Server, you definitely need NAT if your Internet connection is mobile broadband.  There's no way bridged networking will work with wireless or dial-up access.
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johnwardeAuthor Commented:
Hi techhealth,

I am using the latest VirtualBox installer as detailed in my first post!

I have been allocating 1 GB or 800 MB to VMs, I have only ever started up one VM at a time (I'm still trying to get past OS installation in the VM).  I am getting blue screen or system freeze at the same point on either installation of Ubuntu or Windows 7, do you think my memory size is an issue at this point?

I have 4GB memory on my laptop, so I have been in line with all your memory suggestions above.

I will try VMware Server with NAT.

John

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techhealthCommented:
The memory number should be fine.  It's way below the danger threshold.  
You didn't enable nested paging in VBox, did you?
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johnwardeAuthor Commented:
Hi techhealth,

Yes I had been using VMs with the "nested paging" enabled, check box was checked by default.  

I have just tried a "Windows7x64" VM with "Enable nested paging" unchecked in the "Acceleration" tab and same result - system freeze this time.  Also, I did upgrade the BIOS from A05 to A07 just before I did this.

I'm just going to list the other options that I have been using so far:

"Enable IO APIC" - checked
"Enable EFI (special OSes only)" - unchecked
"Enable PAE/NX" - checked
"Enable VT-x/AMD-V" - checked
"Enable 3D Acceleration" - unchecked
"Enable 3D Acceleration" - unchecked  & disabled
"Enable USB Controller" - checked
    "Enable USB 2.0 (EHCI) Controller" checked

Should I change any of these?

John
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techhealthCommented:
The options seem fine.  I do like you to try without VT/AMD-V enabled though.  The option is not necessary for VBox to work, and some report the performance gain with it is insignificant anyways.  If that change makes a difference, then we'll have a better idea on what is the culprit.
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johnwardeAuthor Commented:
Hi,

Sorry for the slow reply, needed a break from the BSODs!

I could not disable "VT/AMD-V" on a Windows 64 bit virtual machine, got the following message:
 "you have selected a 64-bit guest OS for this VM. As such guests require hardware virtualization (VT-x/AMD-V), this feature will be enabled automatically."

So, I created a "Windows 7 32 bit" with "VT-x/AMD-V" & "Nested Paging" disabled, I also disabled USB and it seems to be working so far - currently going through the Windows 7 installation now.

When the Windows 7 32 bit installation is finished, I will try to enable these option one by one to see when I get the BSOD/system freeze again.

Any thoughts on this so far (now that I've got a working VM)? Ideally I would like to get 64 bit working.

Thanks,

John


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johnwardeAuthor Commented:
Hi,

Another update ...

From the last working 32-bit VM (see previous comment), made the following changes one by one.

Enabled USB support - worked (without using any USB devices)

Enabled "VT-x/AMD-V" & disabled "Nested Paging" - computer did a full reboot, no screen freeze or BSOD

Disabled "VT-x/AMD-V" & enabled "Nested Paging" - computer did a full reboot, no screen freeze or BSOD

I have just set-up and installed a "Ubuntu Desktop 32-bit" VM with "VT-x/AMD-V" and "Nested Paging" disabled and it works.

So to recap ...

When I try to create 64-bit guest VM (Windows or Linux) Virtual Box forces me to enable "VT-x/AMD-V" which causes my laptop to either BSOD, freeze or instant full reboot at the very early stages of installing Windows 7 or Ubuntu.

I can create a working 32-bit guest VM (Windows or Linux) HOWEVER when I enable "VT-x/AMD-V" and/or "Nested Paging" it causes a BSOD, freeze or instant full reboot at the very early stages of starting the 32-bit VM.

Any ideas on how to fix this "VT-x/AMD-V" problem on my host machine (Dell Inspiron 1721 AMD Turion x64, Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate host OS)

Thanks,

John

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techhealthCommented:
Well, your results confirmed my suspicion: AMD-V just doesn't work correctly here, probably because Dell's BIOS.  See this VirtualBox bug track
http://www.virtualbox.org/ticket/4988http://www.virtualbox.org/ticket/4988

I don't think VMWare Server uses AMD-V at all, which is why it has no problem.  
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johnwardeAuthor Commented:
Hi techhealth,

I found this link within the VirtualBox Issue link that you provided above:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprovirt/thread/85d3ca80-7729-43b5-82f1-c29f6f05f0a1

... very interesting especially the dialog with DELL/Microsoft.  It seems DELL have fixed the VT-x/AMD-V problem but have not yet provided an official/public update of the BIOS, at least for my laptop anyway.  There is a link to an updated BIOS on the ab but I don't chance it since its not an official release.

So, from my point of view ... DELL have sold me a laptop where the  VT-x/AMD-V technology has not worked correctly ... so I am going to back to them with that fact and see how I get on.

Thanks for your help,

John
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