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By Paul McKeith

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Posted: 8 Sep 2005
 

VMware: Guest OS Issues - SLES

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Guest OS Issues - SLES

NOTE: Each issue below indicates the environmnet that these problems were exhibited. One should not assume that the issue/fix is limited to the versions specified. If you know that one of these issues is fixed in newer version, please add to this page, but leave the Tip for those using old versions.

TIP: Can't Perform a GUI based Install

Environment

VMware Workstation Version: 4.5.2 build-8848
Host OS: Windows XP
Guest OS: OES/SLES9sp2

Problem

After selecting "Installation" from the initial Blue screen/menu the screen turns into a purple screen with either 2 or 4 duplicated consoles each with small green text that is hard to read. There is also an error message displayed that will not allow a GUI install.

Solution

Here are some options:

Option 1 - Text-based Install

Before selecting "Installation" from the blue boot menu, change to the mode to Text using F2. The install will start in Text mode. It is just like the GUI/YaST based install. Later you can install VMware Tools to get the GUI running locally in VMware.

Option 2 - GUI Install via VNC

You can use "Boot Options" that will start VNC so you can run the GUI/YaST install portion of the install from either a VNC viewer or a browser. Later you can install VMware Tools to get the GUI running locally in VMware. To install via VNC:
Before selecting "Installation" from the Blue boot menu, add the following text to the "Boot Options": vnc=1 vncpassword=novell
This will 1) enable vnc and 2) set the vncpassword to novell
When the install is ready it will display the info you need to connect using VNC. e.g. Browser URL: http://<ip_address>:5801/ or via vnc: <ip_address>:1
NOTE: Be sure not to use the cursor keys to change your menu selection. This will clear out your vnc boot options forcing you to re-enter them.

Once connected via VNC the install is exactly the same as if the GUI were running locally in the VM.

Option 3 - GUI Install with VESA

Before selecting "Installation" from the Blue boot menu, change to the video mode to VESA using F2. Sometimes this option can be problematic in that you may have a video mode that requires you to constantly move your scroll bars to see all the text and select items during the install. Because of this I do not generally recommend this option.

Misc Install Tips

- If you select a "default" SLES 9 install, you should also install the gcc, gcc-devel, and kernel-source packages. These are needed for VMware Tools installation.
- I recommend that you enable VNC remote administration so you can get to the GUI remotely. This may come in handy if you have problems with the X-server running locally in your VM.



TIP: Switching Between Virtual Consoles

Problem

Can't switch among virtual consoles using the keystroke: Ctrl+Alt+F<tty_number>

Solution

For example, while at the X-Server console (tty7), normally to switch to the tty2 virtual console, just use the keystroke: Ctrl+Alt+F2. To make this work within VMware, add the Shift key to the keystroke: Shift+Ctrl+Alt+F2.

Once you switch to any of the text based virtual consoles, to switch among them or back to the GUI simply use Alt+F<tty_number>. For example, to go back to the GUI use Alt+F7.



TIP: X-Server GUI not Working After Install

Environment

VMWare Workstation Version: 4.5.2 build-8848
Host OS: Windows XP
Guest OS: OES/SLES9sp2

Problem

You did a text or VNC install but after the install is done, the X-server virtual console (tty7) is black with a flashing cursor in the upper left corner. The text consoles are working fine.

Solution

Install VMware Tools. See TIP: Installing VMware Tools .



TIP: Installing VMware Tools

Environment

VMWare Workstation Version: 4.5.2 build-8848
Host OS: Windows XP
Guest OS: OES/SLES9sp2

Problem

I click "Install VMware Tools" but nothing happens.

Solution

This is normal. VMware includes a virtual CD that is virtually put into your CD-Rom drive so you can extract the VMware Tools install files to SLES to run the install. To guide you, use the VMware tip: "Installing_VMware_Tools" or for a quick overview of steps for SLES 9 see below:

Basic Install Steps
Requirements:
- This install will need to restart the X-server so this must be done from a true text terminal session (tty outside of the X-server). This is usually not a problem since the X-server is often a problem already.
- The install may require gcc. If you do not have the correct packages installed the install will fail. If you performed a default SLES 9 install, you will need to install the gcc, gcc-devel, and kernel-source packages.

1) Make sure that the VM CD-ROM is not set to "Use an ISO image file". It should be set to "Use physical drive". Otherwise, it will prevent access to the install file needed.
2) From the VMware menu bar select to mount the VMware Tools data: VM | Install VMware Tools...
3) Establish a text based terminal session as root
4) Change to /tmp: cd /tmp
5) Extract the archive: tar zxf /media/cdrom/vmware-linux-tools.tar.gz
6) Change to the install dir: cd /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib
7) Start the Install and answer the prompts (defaults are the norm): ./vmware-install.pl
8) (Optional) Run the tools (requires root): /usr/bin/vmware-toolbox

This will fix the local VM GUI issue but will cause another. See TIP: Display Problems with Virtual Consoles (tty1-6) Besides fixing the GUI issue, VMware tools also allow you to:

- Connect/disconnect VM hardware devices such as floppies, HDs, and sound
- Enable Time Sync between the VM and host OS
- Shrink Virtual Disks



TIP: Display Problems with Virtual Consoles (tty1-6)

Environment

VMWare Workstation Version: 4.5.2 build-8848
Host OS: Windows XP
Guest OS: OES/SLES9sp2

Problem

Using the tips above, SLES 9 is installed and the X-server (tty7) will now work locally in the VM. I can now do a GUI login, but when I try to switch to any of the text based virtual terminals, I get half of a screen with duplicated consoles and very small hard-to-read green text. This is a similar to the experience I had when I tried to do a GUI install without VNC.

Solution

We are still fighting video related problems. Installing VMware Tools fixes one thing and breaks another. To fix this issue:
1) Establish a terminal session as root
2) Using your favorite editor edit: /boot/grub/menu.lst
3) In the Linux kernel load like, remove the text: vga=0x332

Note: I have tried various VESA frame buffer modes, but none of them work. The only way I found to fix this problem is to do the steps mentioned above. For more info related to this issue check out these links:

http://support.novell.com/techcenter/sdb/en/2002/11/wessels_fbdev_grub.html
http://forums.suselinuxsupport.de/index.php?showtopic=4183



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