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Blank console in VI client?

Posted on 2010-09-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I'm having trouble accessing VM consoles, when I try to view them using the VI client, all I get is a black screen.  I've tried connecting to multiple servers, ESX and ESXi, through VirtualCenter and direct to the host with the same result.

I'm running Windows 7 64-bit.  I uninstalled all of the VI client software and reinstalled the latest version.  I've tried running the VI Client in 'administrator mode" in Windows 7.  I've disabled the Windows firewall.  I'm not using any 3rd party firewall or antivirus software.  My computer is on the same subnet as the VC server and ESX servers, there are no access-lists on the switches between us.  Using Wireshark, I have verified that traffic from the ESX server is getting to my computer when I attempt to open the console.

My coworker is able to connect and the only difference I'm aware of between our systems is that he's running XP Pro.  Everything else in the VI client works fine, the only problem is that I get a blank screen when attempting to bring up the VM consoles.
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Question by:FWeston
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Expert Comment

by:vmwarun - Arun
ID: 33718369
Disable UAC in Windows 7 and try accessing the VM Consoles. FYI, Port 903 needs to be open between the source and the destination, in case you have a firewall between the workstation where vSphere Client is installed and the ESX host or vCenter server.
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by:FWeston
ID: 33718856
UAC is already disabled.  Port 903 is open, there are no firewalls between me and the server.
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Expert Comment

by:lnkevin
ID: 33720707
What version of your ESX/ESXi? What version of your virtual center?

Some version of ESX/ESXi is not compatible with windows 7. Check this list on page 17 to see if your vmware version is compatible or not.

http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vsphere4/r40/vsp_compatibility_matrix.pdf

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by:oztrodamus
ID: 33721701
I had the same problem when I connected to a host running the VI Client via RDP. Everything was fine until I tried to look at a VM using the console. At that point the VM console would go black. The reason was my RDP color pallete was too low. When I increased it to 16-bit evertying was fine. I only bring it up, because your problem could be video driver related.
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by:FWeston
ID: 33724682
Hmm, that's interesting.  My video driver is the one that came with Windows 7 so maybe I'll try updating it.
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Assisted Solution

by:VMwareGuy
VMwareGuy earned 250 total points
ID: 33724736
You sound like you have some level of experience - but just in case you are fairly new to VMware I will add that you first need to click your mouse in the console window, the typically click ctl \ Alt to get visibility within the console, then click back in it again.. this is what I need to do just about everytime I access the remote console.  if this simple operational tweak isn't the issue then reload your VI client. Also, you have windows firewall disabled, are there any other software firewalls on your system that you should disable or open appropriate ports?
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by:FWeston
ID: 33725041
I have a fair amount of experience and am a VCP, so I feel like I should be able to figure this out.  I don't have any additional firewalls on my system.  I installed the VI Client on a VM running on my PC, and it's able to view VM consoles just fine, so I know that it's not a firewall issue.
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Expert Comment

by:lnkevin
ID: 33725490
... I installed the VI Client on a VM running on my PC, and it's able to view VM consoles just fine...

What OS is running on this VM? Windows 7?
what OS is on the VM?

I am curious to see if the solution from the VMwareGuy would work. In the mean time, try this solution to see if it works on your way.

http://www.dabcc.com/article.aspx?id=6826

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by:VMwareGuy
ID: 33725570
My solution is nothing more than a quirk I see when I open a console, it is almost always black at first until I ctl \ alt then click back in it, at least for linux VMs and linux Appliances.  The windows console does typically provide me instant visibility without the black.  a re-install of the client can't hurt and only takes a minute..

One thing is for sure, as much as I love windows 7 I have encountered numerous issues with using it in my current environment - but nothing to do with VMware - just interoperability issues within my w2003 domain.  I think its time for MS and VMware to slow down and provide some stability within the interpoperability of their rapidly changing versions.. its getting ridiculous..  

Are they any errors in the MS or VM logs you can post for us?
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Author Comment

by:FWeston
ID: 33726139
lnkevin: I think the information in that article is out of date, as I didn't run into any problems installing the VI Client, and am only having problems with the console.  That article does mention console problems, but they appear to be related to the Citrix environment and unrelated to the OS.

As for my VM, it's running XP so as best I can tell, this has something to do with a Windows 7 incompatibility.  I can live with using the VM.  It's rare enough that I have to use the console (usually only when setting up a new VM) that it isn't a huge problem for me, and everything else in the VI Client appears to work.
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Accepted Solution

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lnkevin earned 250 total points
ID: 33726448
Yeah, the previous post I gave you a link to check the compatibility between your VC and client OS. Windows 7 will only work with the later VC version 4.0 +. You may have an incompatibility issue. There is nothing we can help to fix it unless VMware comes back with a regression release (chance is not).

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by:FWeston
ID: 33726500
So it would seem the solution is to upgrade to vCenter Server.  That'll get done eventually, in the meantime I can deal with the inconvenience.  Thanks.
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by:FWeston
ID: 33726537
Not sure why it says I tried to close the question...I'm trying to award points
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