Tactical Technical Strike

Musings, Thoughts, Notes, & a brain dump of what I come across

Virtual Box Fail: Or why was this so darn hard to figure out?

Posted on | March 21, 2010 | No Comments

The setup: Had a VMWare Virtual Machine. Windows 2003, R2 to be exact. It was all nice and pretty, ran in VMWare just fine. The issue? Virtual Box [http://www.virtualbox.org] is my Virtualization platform of choice. It runs on almost all platforms (Linux, Solaris, Windows, and Mac), has both closed and open source versions, and contains most if not all of the features of VMWare and it’s ilk. It doesn’t give you (at this point that I know of) the sort of enterprise and automation options that some of the more advanced (and expensive) VMWare options provide, but even that i can imagine it growing towards.

Anyway, back to the point. I had a VMWare guest machine, and needed to migrate it to a VirtualBox guest. The first thing I had to do was fix issues that the migrated Windows guest has with it’s hard drive controllers (See the Hard Disk Support section of [3]). I did other pre-migration techniques from within the VMWare guest, and then created my VirtualBox Guest. I added the disk image to the media manager, and configured the settings (including networking) of the guest o/s. However, on boot, my network connections was empty!

The Work: Well, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the networking to work. Install and reinstall guest additions? Change and add numerous network adapters using all of the guest network types and host interfaces? Change connection state? Find a way to add the network adapter from inside the guest OS? Nothing worked. It was until I came across this message after hours of searching. It involved Modern Windows verions no longer having the Intel drivers by default, and that causing problems when instantiating instances of those network adapters. Well, after installing the drivers from the intel site, I could finally get a network connection to present itself and get my guest OS online, and in virtual box. That only took 2 days.

PostScript: After the fact you start questioning whether or not you missed anything while testing. I’m almost certain I had tried the intel driver before, but who knows? One of the things that most confused me was when I went to review hardware devices, there wasn’t even a sign of the “non-working adapters.” I can understand the adapter not having the drivers or not being compatible with the guest O/S, but to not even show up in the hardware list? That sounds like a problem somewhere down the line…

[1] Sun/Oracle Virtual Box
[2] Apt-install: Virtual Box Open Source Edition
[3] Migrating Windows Systems to Virtual Box
[4] No network adapters in VirtualBox (VirtualBox Forum discussion)
[5] Intel e1000 drivers download


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