Windows 8 Installation Fails in VirtualBox

We wanted to tinker with the Windows 8 Release Preview, so we tried to install it on our tinkering box.  Having two tinkering boxes, we started with the trashable tinkering box — a Dell Dimension from mid-2005.  Admittedly, we attempted this installation to see if “it will set the drive on fire.”  We tend to throw crazy things at this Dimension, but it keeps on tickin’! Its spec are:

  • Hardware:
    • Dell Dimension 4700
    • CPU: Pentium 4 @ 3.0 GHz
    • RAM: 4 GB (physical)
    • Disk: 1 TB; > 750 GB free space
  • Software:
    • Arch Linux; Kernel: 3.4.6-1-ARCH #1 SMP PREEMPT
    • VirtualBox 4.1.18_OSE r78361

We created a new VM and hooked it up to the 32-bit ISO for Window 8 Release Preview.  After starting the VM, VBox presents an error dialog stating:

VT-x/AMD-V hardware acceleration is not available on your system. Certain guests (e.g. OS/2 and QNX) require this feature and will fail to boot without it.

This dialog gives the user a choice of closing the VM or continuing.  It’s the tinker box, so we chose to continue!  Next the Windows logo appeared, so we got excited that this just might work.  But, after just a couple of minutes, the installer died and gave this message:

Your PC needs to restart.
Please hold down the power button.
Error Code: 0x0000005D

Well, that’s clearly a bad result.  We had no interest in even attempting to push past this kind of problem.  Installing Windows 8 on our tinkering server (Windows 2008 R2, Hyper-V).

After some discussion, we decided that this configuration probably should not work.  So, chalk this up to “Yep, we have demonstrated that what should not work actually does not work.”  Hopefully no one else will be tempted to try Win8 on this kind of config, but maybe this will save them some time if they do.

Why SQLCraftsman gave VirtualBox the boot

My friend Geoff, a.k.a., SQLCraftsman, recently tried to use VirtualBox 4.x for his SQL Server virtual lab needs.  Here’s his post on why VirtualBox lost out to VMWare Workstation.

In his post he mentions the lopsided nature of the VirtualBox support communities.

“Read the forums and you will see typical open source arrogance towards anyone who isn’t a Linux guru, even when asking on the Windows forums.”

Sigh. It’s too true.  Windows functionality and support are after-thoughts, relegated to second class at best.  The *nix community should see that VirtualBox is a great migration path for Windows users – the majority of my VBox VMs are either FreeBSD, Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu Server, or Linux Mint.  I’ve really enjoyed getting to know and using these OS’s, but much of the arrogance I encounter keeps me out of the fold (“Good riddance!” some may say)

VirtualBox 4.0.6 x64 Randomly Resets Guest VMs

Since “upgrading” to the 4.0.6 release VirtualBox for 64-bit Windows, it has begun resetting guest VMs randomly.  The VM I’ve been using most frequently is Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 with SQL Server 2008 R2 x64 and Visual Studio 2010.

Sometimes VBox doesn’t reset the VM. But when I shutdown the VM (from inside or outside the guest), the shutdown process seems to hang and something just spins CPU at about 50%

I’m experiencing this multiple times per day, so I’ll probably have to revert to 4.0.4.  Here’s the Windows Error Fault Details from the most recent reset:

Problem signature:
Problem Event Name:    BlueScreen
OS Version:    6.1.7601.
Locale ID:    1033

Additional information about the problem:
BCCode:    1a
BCP1:    0000000000041287
BCP2:    0000000000000000
BCP3:    0000000000000000
BCP4:    0000000000000000
OS Version:    6_1_7601
Service Pack:    1_0
Product:    272_3

Files that help describe the problem:

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I have also attached the Windows Error Report xml file (

AccessViolationException During VS2010 Debugging in VBox

If you’re using VirtualBox to host a development environment for Visual Studio 2010, this info may be helpful to you.  During debug sessions, you may receive the following exception:

Access Violation Exception in VS2010 guest in VirtualBox
Access Violation Exception in VS2010 guest in VirtualBox

I resolved this problem by disabling VBox’s Nested Paging option for memory.  You’ll need to shut-down the guest OS, open its settings in VBox, and turn off the Nested Paging option.

VirtualBox Guest Settings Dialog, System/Acceleration/Enable Nested Paging Turned Off
VirtualBox Guest Settings Dialog

For reference, my configuration is:

Base OS: Windows 7 x64

Virtualization Host: VirtualBox 3.2.8

Guest OS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Standard

Visual Studio 2010 10.0.30319.1 RTMRel