Windows Advisor

Troubleshooting Tips for Virtual Server 2005

Handful of small tips for working with Virtual Server 2005

Now that both Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2 and Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 are available at no charge, people can take advantage of all the benefits that virtualization offers for free (which you can download the server version here). You can run legacy applications, use it for testing, train students or use it in help desk scenarios. The fundamental difference between Virtual PC and Virtual Server is that Virtual PC is designed for desktop operating systems while Virtual Server is designed for server operating systems.

In this article, I'll cover two troubleshooting scenarios for Virtual Server 2005.

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To log on to Virtual Server you use the default Host key (right Alt) plus the Delete key. The right Alt key may interfere with inputting certain characters on a virtual machine running a non-English operating system, in which case, you simply change the Host key from right Alt to a different key (see Figure 1).


Figure 1. Modifying default Host key from right Alt to something else.

To change the key, highlight the Keyboard entry and press the key on the keyboard that you would like to reassign it to.

You should disable hyper-threading on the host operating system to improve the performance of your virtual machines in Virtual Server 2005 R2. Hyper-threading only affects the virtual machine performance when Virtual Machine Additions is not installed.

The saved states of Virtual Server 2005 R2 are not compatible with previous versions, so if you're upgrading Virtual Server 2005 to R2, make sure you save all virtual machines and then turn them off before installing R2.

If you’ve installed Virtual Server 2005 R2 on Windows XP SP2 and are unable to use the Administration Web site, this is because the "Enable Virtual Server exceptions in Windows Firewall" option during installation has a known issue. Another somewhat related problem that you might run into is that, when you install Virtual Machine Remote Control you might see a message that exceptions were added to the firewall, when in fact they aren’t. The solution is to manually configure Windows Firewall for an exception to port 80 for the Virtual Server Web application (VSWebapp.exe). This will allow you to use the Administration Web site.

This is not a common scenario but it might cause you some problems: If you use FSUTIL command to turn off support for 8.3 filename creation, the Virtual Server 2005 installation is likely to fail. Turn the support on, install R2 and then turn the support off.

Sometimes what may appear to be a problem is not really a problem. For example, if you remotely manage a virtual machine on a computer that is not running Virtual Server 2005 R2 while you are on a computer that is running R2, you will notice that the machine details for the remote virtual machine might include a warning that Virtual Machine Additions is out of date. Simply, you can ignore this error.

When connecting to a Virtual Server using Remote Desktop Connection you may see the error "The page cannot be displayed." The solution is to connect to the Virtual Server using a console session by either modifying the properties of the shortcut and using a /console switch at the end, such as %SystemRoot%\System32\mstsc.exe /console. You can also use the following command:

mstsc /v:server_address /console

Another option is to use a custom level security under trusted sites in Internet Explorer by selecting the Prompt for user name and password option under User Authentication (see Figure 2). The default is Automatic logon with current username and password.

Figure 2. Prompt for user name and password option in Internet Explorer.

One of the most common problems that administrators encounter is that they are unable to open the Administration Web site after they install the Virtual Server. Simply add the URL of the Administration Web site to your trusted sites and you will be able to open the site. Sometimes when you try to open the Administration Web site, you will get "An error occurred loading an XML document." To fix this problem you need to register MSXML libraries. (It just means that, for some reason, they didn’t get registered properly.) Go to the command prompt and type the following:

regsvr32 c:\windows\system32\msxml4.dll

If you are starting a guest operating system and receive the stop error "STOP 0x0000007B," it’s most likely because you installed the virtual disk on the wrong type of controller. Verify that you haven’t added a virtual IDE controller to a SCSI virtual disk, or vice versa.

If you’ve renamed a virtual machine and it’s not showing up in the Administration Web site, you may have used Windows Explorer to rename the virtual machine. Always use the Administration Web site to modify your virtual machines.

Hopefully these tips will help you resolve some of the problems that you may run into while working on Virtual Server 2005. As virtualization gains interest, you would expect to see more issues come up but don’t be discouraged because these products offer tremendous benefits. The competition between vendors is a good thing for the consumers, as the vendors seem eager to offer these products to us at no charge in their efforts to gain the lion's share of the market. I encourage you to try virtual products from Microsoft and other vendors.

About the Author

Zubair Alexander, MCSE, MCT, MCSA and Microsoft MVP is the founder of SeattlePro Enterprises, an IT training and consulting business. His experience covers a wide range of spectrum: trainer, consultant, systems administrator, security architect, network engineer, author, technical editor, college instructor and public speaker. Zubair holds more than 25 technical certifications and Bachelor of Science degrees in Aeronautics & Astronautics Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Information Systems. His Web site, www.techgalaxy.net, is dedicated to technical resources for IT professionals. Zubair may be reached at alexander@techgalaxy.net.

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