KWKirchner
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

ESXi 6.5 and Horizon 6/7 Direct Connection = Black Screen on Win7 (32bit)

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I had a perfectly working lab setup as of a few days ago where my Win7 (32b) VM was loaded with the Horizon View 6 agent and the direct connect agent. My Terra2 PCoIP client would automatically connect on power-up and life was good.

Yesterday I upgraded my ESXi hosts to 6.5 and my VCSA to 6.5.  Now when my PCoIP clients connect (Terra2 or software) I get a black screen and a mouse pointer.  I can tell that the system is logging in because I still get sound, and occasionally I see a busy pointer as things load in the background.  If I am watching on the VM console, as soon as the connection is made it also goes black. When I disconnect I see the screen come back to life on the console and briefly see the log off message before it goes back to the "Press CTRL + ALT +DEL to log on" screen.  There is NO DISCONNECT after 10 seconds as is mentioned in many KB articles, it stays connected like nothing is wrong.

I have tried installing the latest VM Tools (even omitted SVGA driver), upgrading to Horizon 7 agent/direct connect, upgraded the VM hardware to v13, and none of that seems to fix this problem.

Does anyone know what might be causing this?  I do not have any of the Connection Server/Composer nonsense to deal with and like I said, as of a few days ago this all worked perfectly. I can't see the VCSA update as having anything to do with it, so it must be an issue with ESXi, but what? What would knock out the video, but not the mouse or audio? It has to be something with the SVGA driver. There is 32MB of mem and 256MB for 3D on a 1900x1200 screen. It was set to auto and had 17.3MB assigned when it was working. I increased it to see if it would fix the issue, but no luck.

Tomorrow I will rebuild a host with ESXi 6.0 and migrate the VDI desktop to it and see if it comes back to life.

1 Solution

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markbenson
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

It could be because "screen DMA" has not been enabled for the VM. Try enabling it.

Refer to the note at the end of page 7 here - http://pubs.vmware.com/horizon-71-view/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/view-agent-71-direct-connection-p...

Also see Manually enabling screen DMA in a virtual machine (2144475) | VMware KB

This is in addition to ensuring sufficient video RAM (e.g. 128 MB) for the VM.

Let us know if this resolves it.

View solution in original post

15 Replies
KWKirchner
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

CONFIRMED!

I rolled back one of the ESXi hosts to v6.0 with the handy Shift+R option and viola! I can connect to my desktop on this host and SEE it! I made no other changes. 

This is my 2nd desktop that I did NOT update:

     Tools

     Horizon Agent

     Direct Connect Agent

     VM Hardware Version

Obviously I cannot easily revert my 1st desktop (no snapshotSmiley Sad) to its previous hardware version, so I cannot run it on the 6.0 host at the moment, but I will re-create it and mount the existing disk to see how the one with View 7 agent, direct connect 7, and the latest tools works.

If I vmotion this 2nd desktop to the 6.5 ESXi host, I immediately lose the desktop picture.  If I vMotion it back to 6.0, the display comes back.  If that's not damning evidence, I don't know what is. I'm glad I didn't go crazy and update all my VM hardware.

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KWKirchner
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

And after converting my first desktop VM back to a VM Hardware v11, it too is also working with both my Terra2 and software PCoIP clients on the ESXi 6.0 host.  This one is running the Horizon 7 agents and the VM Tools from 6.5.

It has the same issue as my 2nd desktop if I vmotion it to the ESXi 6.5 host. It immediately loses the desktop image (all black), only mouse pointer is visible. The desktop image is immediately restored if I vmotion back to the ESXi 6.0 host.

W. T. H! :smileyangry:

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jonathanjabez
Hot Shot
Hot Shot

KWKirchner

This may occur when VMware Tools is installed or upgraded after installing VMware View Agent. The set of VGA drivers shipped with VMware Tools might sometimes be incompatible with VMware View and PCoIP, whereas the VMware View Agent software contains a supported VGA driver.

You may try the below steps in the given order on one of the VDI Desktops and test it by keeping it in 6.5 ESXi host.

1. Uninstall Horizon View Agent and Direct Connection plugin

2. Uninstall VMware Tools

3. Reboot the VDI Desktop

4. Install VMware Tools

5. Install Horizon View Agent and Direct Connection pluging and test the connectivity.

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BVeldhuijzen
Contributor
Contributor

I can confirm the same problem.

Created a new Win7 32bit VM.

Installed VMware Tools 10.1.0.4449150 (without SVGA driver)

Reboot

Installed Horizon View Agent 7.0.0-3634043

Reboot

Installed Direct Connection Plugin 7.0.0-3633490

Reboot

Connect with PCoIP client -> black screen after login with only mouse pointer showing

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BVeldhuijzen
Contributor
Contributor

I did some more testing and if I remove the VMware SVGA driver and use the Standard VGA Graphics Adapter driver I am able to connect with a PCoIP client. However only in 1280x1024 resolution.

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ARauschenbach
Contributor
Contributor

I'm an IT Consultant seeing something very similar with one of my clients:

Running 6.0U2 + patches (build 4510822), Horizon 7.0.2, and a wide array of clients (various Wyse terminals, laptops, thick clients, desktops)

Most of our client types connect fine, but older Wyse devices specifically get black screens - but only in Multimonitor mode and only when using a 4.x client. If using a 3.x client the screens work fine in any mode.

Very bizzare. I have not pushed the November ESXi update stack to the hosts yet, but I am curious if there are any patches in there that would resolve this issue.

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chillware1
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Any solution to this? I have the same issue.. Thanks!

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BVeldhuijzen
Contributor
Contributor

I still don't have a solution yet.

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sixuniform
Contributor
Contributor

I have the same problem on ESXi 6.5 / 6.5.0a. A Windows 7 (x64) VM with View / Direct-Connect produces a black screen with a mouse pointer, regardless if using Teradici ZeroClient hardware or View software client.

Tried installing the same VA/VADC on a W7 VM on ESXI 5.5 and PCoIP worked fine, then manually moved the VM to the 6.5.0a installation and without changing anything I get a black screen with mouse pointer.

I'm guessing downgrading to 6.0 or 5.5 is the only solution available right now?

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AlexJoda
Contributor
Contributor

We have the same problem here. We tried everything from taking over an unaltered VM from ESXi 5.5 to a complete new installation of Horizon 7.2 with direct connect. This makes VSphere 6.5 unusable for Horizon until this is fixed. Anybody had an idea what the reason for this is? Did it also happen with connections over the Connection Server?

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RalphBethke
Contributor
Contributor

Hello,

just out of curiosity: What are your graphics memory settings at the VM level?

Is it set to automatic? Does the behavior change if you set a manual size of 128MB or higher?

I had a similar issue in the past with a VM not properly showing the image due to the frame buffer being too small, once a connection with Horizon View client has been attempted.

Best regards

Ralph

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markbenson
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

It could be because "screen DMA" has not been enabled for the VM. Try enabling it.

Refer to the note at the end of page 7 here - http://pubs.vmware.com/horizon-71-view/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/view-agent-71-direct-connection-p...

Also see Manually enabling screen DMA in a virtual machine (2144475) | VMware KB

This is in addition to ensuring sufficient video RAM (e.g. 128 MB) for the VM.

Let us know if this resolves it.

View solution in original post

BVeldhuijzen
Contributor
Contributor

Thank you, this has solved my problem!

Still strange that with esxi6.0 it was working.

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KWKirchner
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

THANK YOU!

I finally got a chance to revisit this. I updated to the latest 6.5 (5310538) to see if that had any impact, and it did not. Bumping the video mem to 128MB and enabling the screen DMA worked like a champ. It's crazy what they hide in the documentation... :smileysilly:

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bhuqwl
Contributor
Contributor

Thank you. This problem has been bothering me for a long time, and I finally found the reason here.

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