Tuesday, July 22, 2014

After Kernel Upgrade VMware Ubuntu Guest Hang During Boot

I am running a Ubuntu Saucy (13.04) guest and later a Ubuntu Trusty (14.04) guest using VMWare Player on Windows 8.1. What has troubled me is that the guest hangs every single time after the POST screen is shown during boot after I upgraded the kernel. I have to press "Ctrl-Alt-Del" to restart, enter "Advanced Option" from the Ubuntu boot menu and choose an old kernel to boot. I finally figured out how to solve the problem.  The hint of the solution came from my examining the VM log file. The location of the VM log file is on the VMware Player's "About VMware Player" window. From VMWare Player, you can open the window by clicking on the "Player" menu, next "Help", and then "About VMware Player". Below is an example of the "About VMware Player" window.


In the above example, the VM log file is at C:\Users\...\Ubuntu\vmware.log. When the Ubuntu is hangs, at the end of the VM log file, I saw some log messages similar to the below,

2014-07-22T19:21:19.299-04:00| vmx| I120: GuestRpcSendTimedOut: 
                                          message to toolbox timed out.
2014-07-22T19:21:19.299-04:00| vmx| I120: Vix: [5648 guestCommands.c:1924]: 
                                          Error VIX_E_TOOLS_NOT_RUNNING in 
VMAutomationTranslateGuestRpcError(): VMware Tools are not running in the guest
2014-07-22T19:21:25.635-04:00| vmx| I120: USBGW: Write arbitrator op:13 len:11

My guess is that the VMware Tools is not installed and configured properly for the new Linux kernel. The solution would to reinstall the VMware Tools. Since the Ubuntu guest hangs during boot, I have to find an alternate to do it. Luckily, I can boot the Ubuntu guest into the "Recovery Mode" with the problematic Linux kernel via the "Advanced Option" during boot. 

I observed two difficulties when I tried to reinstall the VMware Tools in the "Recovery Mode".
  1. When I tried to install the VMware Tools when I switched to shell in the "Recovery Mode" by running <code>sudo ./vmware-install.pl</code>, I observed many warning messages similar to below,
    The /tmp directory may be under attack

  2. You may have to download the VMware Tools, for which, we need to enable network in the "Recovery Mode". 

To address the above difficulties, my solutions is,

  1. In the "Recovery Mode", first enable "network" from the list of options.
  2. Then go to shell (by choosing "Drop to root shell  prompt").
  3. Start the sshd. This is a two-step procedure.

    mkdir /var/run/sshd
  4. Now, figure out the IP address of the guest (e.g., using ifconfig)
  5. Log onto the virtual machine using a Secure Shell client as a regular user with sudo privilege.
  6. Install the VMware player as the regular user using sudo.
  7. Reboot. The the problem went away.