Converting Virtualbox VM to VMWare

I am running the latest version of Virtualbox on my Windows 8.1 desktop and I’ve noticed my network has been unavailable after the machine resumed from sleep mode.  I found several people that claim the problem is with Virtualbox so I decided to switch to VMWare Player and see if that solved the problem.  The VM I chose to use for the testing is an ArchLinux install.  My Virtualbox VMs are located in the folder V:Virtualbox and my VMWare VMs are located in the folder V:VMWare.

Before I did anything, I copied the entire ArchLinux folder that contains the test VM in case something went wrong during the conversion — backups are always a good idea!  🙂

The first thing to do was to convert the Virtualbox VDI hard drives to VMWare’s VMDK format.  Virtualbox has a utility that will convert the drive.  I opened a Command Prompt and ran the following commands:

cd VirtualboxArchLinux
"c:Program FilesOracleVirtualboxVBoxManage.exe" clonehd --format VMDK archlinux.vdi archlinux.vmdk
md VMWareArchLinux
move archlinux.vmdk VMWareArchLinux

I then created a new VMWare VM stored in V:VMWareArchLinux and attached the newly-cloned archlinux.vmdk as the drive.  After booting the new VM, I performed the following commands in ArchLinux:

rmmod vboxguest vboxsf vboxvideo
sudo pacman -R virtualbox-guest-modules virtualbox-guest-utils
     (also comment out "/usr/bin/VBoxClient-all" in .xinitrc if necessary)
sudo pacman -S open-vm-tools open-vm-tools-modules
     (add KillSignal=SIGKILL to /usr/lib/systemd/system/vmtoolsd.service to fix a hang during service stop)
cat /proc/version > /etc/arch-release
systemctl start vmtoolsd
systemctl enable vmtoolsd

After performing these steps, ArchLinux is running normally in VMWare Player 5.

Oh, and uninstalling Virtualbox fixed my network problem after resuming from sleep.  🙂

Update: I’m still having a couple of issues with this VM after conversion.  VMWare continually prompts me to install the vmtools (guess it doesn’t recognize the open-vm-tools package) and perhaps as a result the vmtools do not appear to be functioning properly.  The screen is not resized correctly on boot and I am not sure the shared files function is working.  So I still have work to do.  🙂

Virtualbox network problems in Windows 8.1 Preview

I have noticed a problem on my Windows 8.1 Preview desktop; my Realtek network card will not connect to the network after returning from sleep mode.  The only way to fix it is to reboot the machine.

Other people are reporting that the problem is caused by Virtualbox.  I will uninstall it when I get home and try it.  If that is the problem, I’ll switch to VMWare Player until Virtualbox gets updated.

Update: I converted my Virtualbox VM to VMWare Player (vmdk format) and uninstalled Virtualbox.  After rebooting, I put the machine to sleep and after a time woke it up.  I had no problems with the network after resuming.  So I think it’s safe to say the problem was with Virtualbox.

64-bit computing in Virtualbox

Since I’ve recently upgraded to a 64-bit capable processor, I’m considering running the 64-bit version of Windows 7.  I’ll probably wait until the RC becomes available (hopefully soon!) and then test the 64-bit version first.  The 32-bit Beta was incredibly stable; I’m hoping the 64-bit version will be as well.In order to test application compatibility, I decided to install the 64-bit Beta in Virtualbox.  The latest Virtualbox will run 64-bit guests in a 32-bit host (as long as your hardware supports it).  In order to get the 64-bit installed, I had to use the following settings:

  • ACPI: Enabled
  • IO APIC: Enabled
  • VT-x/AMD-V: Enabled
  • PAE/NX: Enabled

I also had to set the OS Type to “Windows 7 (64 bit)”.  At that point, I was able to install Win7 x64 normally!

We’ll see how the testing goes next.   🙂

Virtualbox in Linux, MLB.TV

I’ve installed WinXP on Virtualbox (PUEL) version in ArchLinux and it runs so much better than XP on VirtualPC in Vista. I don’t know if that is due to extra overhead of Vista or if Virtualbox is just that much faster. I don’t see much improvement if XP is installed on Virtualbox in Vista, so I suspect that Virtualbox in Linux is just faster on the same hardware.

The really great thing is that I am able to capture USB devices and use them inside Virtualbox. So I was able to install Rhapsody in my Virtualbox/ArchLinux application and get it to work with my Sansa. So that is a great thing; Rhapsody and my Sansa is one of the biggest reasons I need to be in Windows, and if it works virtualized on Linux, so much the better!

Another piece of good news; MLB.TV also works in ArchLinux, at least for the archived games. I do not know whether live games will work as well. Of course, that isn’t that big of a deal (other than the coolness factor) because I have a second computer running WindowsXP that is attached to my widescreen television, so I’ll watch live games that way.

Man, I’m already ready for next baseball season! 🙂

Fun with ArchLinux and KDE4.1

I was able to finally fix my ArchLinux install in Virtualbox on Vista two days ago. I had to use a backup copy, since an update installed KDE 4.1 (removing the perfectly functioning 3.5 install) and that made KDE unusably slow. I checked to make sure that compositing was turned off; it just does not work on my machine (P4 2.4G single core w/ 3GB RAM) in Virtualbox.

I recently had to replace a hard drive, so I got a larger drive. This freed up a 160G hard drive, so I decided to convert that drive to a full ArchLinux install to see how KDE 4 works on it. Man, have I missed Linux!

The ArchLinux install went well, except I forgot to remove the exclamation point from the ROUTES field for the gateway — networking doesn’t work that well if there is no gateway. 🙂

I should mention that I didn’t use the most recent install ISO. But the beautiful thing about ArchLinux is that it is a rolling-release distro; I’m now at the most recent versions of all software by simply using the update program (brilliantly called pacman). 🙂

I was able to get both ALSA (sound) and Xorg running using the latest Nvidia drivers (with TwinView enabled for my dual monitors) quite easily.

Mounting my NTFS drives is not as simple as I would hope. I’ve added the necessary entries into /etc/fstab and I can mount them read-only (don’t want to risk data corruption) from the command line with no problem. But Dolphin can not mount the drives. I may be on the way to resolving this problem, but it’s working well enough for now.

Adding access to my HP Photosmart printer was extremely painful; in fact, I still don’t have it working. It was very easy in KDE3; I was able to use the printer control panel to add and administer the printer. No such control panel exists in KDE4 (as near as I can tell) and trying to add the printer manually using hplip has not worked completely yet. I can add the printer but it never appears to be getting any of the print jobs.

Now, my views on KDE 4. I still think it was released too soon; I’ve run into a few issues, mostly minor but still quite annoying:

Configuring panels is painful
I want a panel on my second monitor with a task manager showing the windows on that monitor (like I can do with Ultramon on Windows). The panel starts at the top of the screen (which is actually where I prefer it) but the primary monitor’s panel is at the bottom. The only way to change the location is to manually update the file ~/.kde4/share/config/plasma-appletsrc — look for the text “plugin=panel” and see the “location=” field. This number controls where the panels are located: 3=top 4=bottom. It’s best to make these changes in the CLI when KDE is not running.

Dual monitor workspace separation
I’m running a dual-monitor setup, and the new Plasma system treats each monitor screen as a separate screen — it is not possible to have a single image spread across both monitors. I have to create two separate 1280×1024 images instead of using a single 2560×1240 image. Needless to say, I won’t be changing images that often.

Missing features of KDE3
Not all of the features from KDE3 have been added into KDE4. I do not know whether this is due to a design plan or it simply hasn’t been done yet, but it is very annoying to a happy KDE3 user.

Final thoughts
I don’t know if I’ll be able to use Linux fulltime, as I may not be able to replace all of the Windows software I’m using. I’m setting up a second machine (more in a later blog entry) that I can dedicate to linux and see how will it works. That will allow me to have fun with Linux and still use Vista for my daily work.