Friday, November 22

VMWare Workstation 7 + new Linux: fail

Today I solved one more problem that has been bugging me several months.

Not actually solved the problem, just figure out that it is impossible to solve it.

The situation is: There is VMWare Workstation in the enterprise laptop (Win 7), and I would like to create a Ubuntu 12.04 VM.

It keeps failing, giving me "System Panic" when starting installation. I tried all the methods I could find in Google, changing bios several times to enable different settings of Virtual Threading technology, and tried different versions (32/64, Ubuntu, CentOS) of Linux, and failed.

Long story short, I have been working on this for several months, on and off. Finally I found one webpage giving out a reasonable explanation and confirmed that:
http://www.basemont.com/panic_early_exception_i3_i5_i7_vmware_virtualbox_parallels

The cause of this is a new feature built into ivybridge processors called SMEP: supervisor-mode execution prevention. Code was recently introduced in the linux kernel to take advantage of SMEP. One workaround is to add the "nosmep" grub boot option. The other option is to just upgrade your VM manager. VMWare Workstation 7.1.6 (the latest) will not boot new linux on ivy bridge processors, but 8.0 will! Nice way to force you to upgrade.
These hints generally work on other VM Managers as well, parallels or virtualbox. You probably just need to upgrade to a newer version.
Translation: VMWare Workstation 7 doesn't work with new version of Linux (new means new in 2012).

I confirmed that the VMW7 can install Windows VM, and can install Ubuntu 10.04 too, but not Ubuntu 12 or Centos 6.4.

If I try to install VMWare Player (free), it is asking me to uninstall the VMWare Workstation (paid). I don't know if I should go ahead to do so, because I might not be able to install that back. What is good in VMWare Workstation?

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