things don't work right
Which is exactly what happened recently. And I looked
all over and found nothing to give me any clue on how to fix it. So here
it is, the problem defined, how it manifested itself, and how I fixed it
- hopefully this will help someone else with their issues as well.
I had a virtual machine (VM) created years ago that ran
in Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 that was a RedHat Linux 7 distribution. I
used it for a few things, mainly to run an open source vulnerability
scanner called Nessus back when you could scan your network without
having to pay $1200/year for the vulnerability database. The VM sat
unused on my old P4 notebook until another project to update some old
network computers (NC) with additional features crossed my path, and
that VM seemed like the perfect platform to run on that NC. It happened
to be a Neoware EON N4000T with 48 MB DOM (DiskOnModule) running
NeoLinux which was based on Red Hat Linux, but the details of that
project are potentially the subject of another article.
I have other virtual machines - a Solaris 10 instance, a
Ubuntu 6.10 installation, and even a DOS 6.22 / Windows for Workgroups
3.11 instance. What I'm describing here I also saw on the Ubuntu 6.10
virtual machine as well as a Ubuntu 9.1 instance I recently decided to
dabble in. I can't speak yet for the Solaris instance as I haven't
booted it in years.
Symptoms of the
The machine runs, but it is very slow. I mean
pathetically almost unusable slow. And this was on my fancy new (at the
time) Core2 Duo system with 4 GB RAM and 2.6 GHz of clock speed. If
anything, this should run faster than anything I'd ever seen on my older
1.x GHz Pentium 4 notebook. Yet there it was, occasionally going out to
lunch and freezing, only to wake up 10-30 seconds later and be
When I paid attention to the boot, I noticed numerous
lines that read:
hda: lost interrupt
hda: lost interrupt
If I ran dmesg, those errors showed up in the log as
This was running the new improved Microsoft Virtual PC
2007 sp1 on a Vista machine, versus my old system.
Here is a screen shot of the boot screen, showing the
various error messages. Where / when they happened changed, but the
effect was the same - the VM was barely functional:
The big symptom I noticed was the virtual machine was
running very slowly.
All the searching through the web on that hda: lost
interrupt message pointed out hardware errors, like wrong cables, BIOS
set wrong, BIOS updates, etc. - nothing told me exactly what the problem
was or how to fix it.
I'm going to skip the diagnostic story and cut right to
If you are running on a multiple core system - Mine
happens to be a Core2Duo, but it might very well happen on others as
well - you have to force VirtualPC.EXE to run on only one of the cores.
To do this, go into task manager, find the process
VirtualPC.exe, and right click it:
Select the Set Affinity... menu option, and you'll see
It looks slightly different in XP, but functions the
same. Both CPU 0 and CPU 1 were checked on my system. When I unchecked
CPU 0, that forces VirtualPC.exe to only run on core #1. This cured all
my Linux virtual machine problems! If you have a quad core, or better
system - leave only one of the CPUs checked. If you find a specific CPU
that works and one that doesn't, please let me know so I can update this
document and help others out.
This problem exists no matter what version of Virtual PC
you are running, from 2004, 2007, and any service packs. I can't speak
to this getting fixed in any future version.
I'll bet this problem also impacts Microsoft Virtual
Server since both products are based on the same virtualization engine.
But I haven't tried it with that, so if someone discovers this fix works
for them with Virtual Server if you'd let me know I'll update the
article with that information.
Curiously, I was able to install & run using
Sun Microsystems VirtualBox
product without any issues. It also gave me more options for the virtual
machine, so playing with that is now on my list of things to do.
If you found this helpful or not, please send me a brief email -- one
line will more than do. If I see people need, want, and / or use this
of information that will encourage me to keep creating this kind of
content. Whereas if I never hear from anyone, then why bother?
I can be reached at:
das (at-sign) dascomputerconsultants (dot) com
(C) 2009 DAS Computer Consultants, LTD. All Rights Reserved.
Everything below this line is to help search engines find, index, and
thus help users find this content.