TO-Tech Blog Todd Ogasawara’s Tech Blog


Red Hat 5/CentOS 5.1 and Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1

Parallels Desktop for Mac and VMware Fusion (Mac)/Workstation (PC) don't seem to have issues with the current generation of Linux distros. But, Microsoft's Virtual PC and Virtual Server do not, unfortunately. And, since most of my work is using Virtual Server, I've been spending a bit of time hunting for information and asking questions. Most of my information has come from reading Ben Armstrong's (Microsoft Program Manager in the Virtual Machines group) blog. But, I haven't seen all the information I've collected there and elsewhere collected in one place to help others trying to run current generation Red Hat Linux distro derivatives (RHEL5, Fedora, CentOS) under Virtual PC and Virtual Server. So, here's what I've found so far to get these Red Hat based distros working. I've tested all these items using CentOS 5.1 and one or two using RHEL5 or Fedora. Make a backup of your working (or semi-working) VM/VHD before trying anything mentioned below.

  • Degrade color depth from millions of colors (32-bit) to thousands of colors (24-bit). This is due to an issue with the S3 graphics chip emulation. If you need to make this change after the fact, use SSH to get to your odd looking (display-wise) VM and use system-config-display to change color depth from 24-bit to 16-bit. This change will be reflected in /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  • Add the following kernel parameters:
    • clocksource=pit (this is to help deal with the clock sync issue)
    • i8042.noloop (this is to allow using a mouse in X windows) You can read more about this solution in this article this article and this Red Hat bug thread.
    • If you need to apply the two kernel parameter changes after the fact, you can edit /boot/grub/menu.list and add both parameters to the kernel line

The clocksource option helps but does not entirely solve the clock drift issue. I end up having the clock resync with a time source once an hour as an added workaround. I hope this collection of findings help's others run current generation Red Hat related distros under Virtual PC and Server.

Comments (12) Trackbacks (3)
  1. I added the i8042.noloop to my kernel boot line and now I see the mouse in the console window. However whenever I start X11 the mouse still doesn’t work. When I look at /proc/bus/input/devices I get for the mouse:

    I: Bus=0011 Vendor=0002 Product=000a Version=0000
    N: Name=”TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint”
    P: Phys=isa0060/serio0/input0
    S: Sysfs=/class/input/input1
    H: Handlers=mouse0 event1
    B: EV=7
    B: KEY=70000 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    B: REL=3

    The entry in /etc/X11/xorg.conf is:

    Section “InputDevice”
    Identifier “Mouse0”
    Driver “evdev”
    Option “Protocol” “evdev”
    Option “Dev Name” “TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint”
    Option “Dev Phys” “isa0060/serio0/input0”
    Option “Device” “/dev/input/mouse0”
    Option “Buttons” “9”
    Option “ZAxisMapping” “4 5”

    Any thoughts as to what I’m doing wrong. I suspect that the Driver in xorg.conf is incorrect but I know that the device file /dev/input/mouse0 was only created after I added the i8042.noloop kernel parameter.

  2. Figured it out. I’ll post a blog on my website on it later. Turns out the “Device” option should be “/dev/input/mice” and the “Protocol” should be “explorerps/2” It works now.

  3. You don’t mention having the Virtual Machine Additions for (RedHat) Linux installed – do you have time sync issues even with vmadd-timesyncd running? VMAdditionsForLinux-README should give you enough information to solve the X issues as well.

  4. I had to rebuild the image so I’m in the process of adding the Virtual Machine Additions. The first time I used the generic Virtual Machine Additions. This time I’m building the image with the RedHat specific images. I’ll post a comment on my progress.

  5. I’ve gotten my new VM built. I did add the VMAdditions and followed the README as you mentioned. Missed that one…would have made my life a whole lot easier. As for the time sync issues — yes, even with vmadd-timesyncd I have some drift (on the order of a few seconds every couple of hours). I’m posting my experience with this here:

  6. I’m trying to install OpenSUSE 10.2.
    The Installation stops with error: “could not find OpenSUSE repository”.
    I allready try install from ISO file and from CD.
    It looks like after first installation steps run out, they dindn’t find the instalation source anymore.

    Any Advice ?

  7. As this is the best and most concise complete collective I’ve discovered so far-

    The nugget that got my X server going is running as root:

    setsebool -P allow_execstack=1
    setsebool -P allow_execmod=1

    I was getting permission denied errors loading on a Redhat 5.2 server installation

  8. Can anyone please inform how to run RED HAT ENTERPRISE LINUX 5 from Microsoft Virtual Virtual PC 2007 ??
    How to change the kernel and graphics issue.
    There exist error message ” an “An unrecoverable processor error has been encountered. The virtual machine will reset now.”

  9. I am also having the same problem as NZCOMPUTING. I had to install RHEL5 using text mode. Now when I try to boot in to the OS for the first time in the VM the OS keep rebooting in a loop.

  10. Thanks for gathering all this info … I’ve got to install RHEL5 on an MS VS 2005 and was doing some research on how. Jackpot!

  11. Hi, I installed CentOS 5.1 on Virtual PC 2007 running on windows xp as host OS, after the installation i booted and i received the error:”An unrecoverable processor error has been encountered. The virtual machine will reset now”. I installed or updated the extensions after again rebooting and it doesn’t seem to work. Can somoene please help?

  12. I wrote an article in my blog that has one thing you didn’t mention in your great post. A way to install Red Hat/CentOS on Virtual PC/Server with graphical interface on (many people install using text mode and then fix the server, or just use the text-mode). Here I teach how to start installling with graphical on without problems. The rest is just like you said.

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