RonTugender
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Fusion 13 on MacBook Pro 16 under MacOS Ventura

I have a maxed-out MacBook Pro 16 (2019, 2.4GHz I9, 64GB RAM, 8TB SSD, Radeon Pro 5500M) now running Ventura 13.0.1. From the inception of this MBP, any attempt to install and run Fusion on this combination has failed: incomplete installation, corrupted VMs, even once corrupted MacOS forcing a wipe-and-reinstall of MacOS. The earliest combination I tried was an earlier Fusion 12 release on Big Sur, and the most recent was a later Fusion 12 on Monterey. All have failed, despite installing and running VMs successfully on other Macs such as Mac Mini with same software releases. I had given up on running Fusion on the MBP.

With the recent releases of MacOS Ventura and now Fusion 13, I've been hoping against hope that whatever led to these unsuccessful results on the MBP might have finally been corrected. But given the downsides, including OS corruption, needless to say I'm hesitant to try.

Has anyone been successful installing Fusion 13 and running VMs on a MBP matching (or close to) my specs under Ventura? Some success here would bolster my courage to try again on my MBP.

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18 Replies
Technogeezer
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Wow. That’s strange indeed.

Fusion should not be causing OS corruptions. It doesn’t use kernel extensions any longer. OS corruptions are exceedingly rare on Monterey and Ventura, where macOS is booted from a read-only APFS snapshot volume. VM corruptions are also not anything near normal.

Just spitballing here, but my immediate suspicion is something is seriously amiss with that Mac. Especially since you say you are running the software combinations on other Macs with success.

My spidey sense is wondering if there’s something up with the T2 chip. All disk I/O is going to and from the internal SSD using that chip. When you reinstalled that Mac, did you refresh the T2’s firmware using Apple Configurator on another Mac?

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RonTugender
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Thanks for reply and thoughts. Yes, there very well may be something amiss in this MBP. It was designed to work with Catalina which was in its maiden release when the MBP was shipped. Catalina's first releases (at least through 15.2) were unusably unstable on the new MBP and after dozens of troubleshooting hours with L2 and L3 support, we declared it hopeless and i returned the MBP for full refund. A few months later, Catalina was up to 15.4 and I decided to try again.

When retracing my history, I remembered that it was Catalina on which I had my original problems with Fusion 12. I believe the OS corruption I encountered was during that initial unstable period, where Fusion might not have been the root cause but could have exacerbated the already unstable Catalina environment.With this Catalina 15.4 release and henceforth, the general stability issues with the MBP subsided and it was now decently stable, EXCEPT for Fusion.

On my most recent installation attempts on Big Sur and Monterey, I never got past installation. A Fusion thread was left consuming an entire CPU's worth of processing, never completing and persisting across reboots. This was symptomatic of earlier unstable Fusion installations where VM crashes and corruptions occurred, so when I saw this behavior after bare installation, I stopped there and ripped the Fusion installation out by its roots.

I've suspected there is something pathological about this MBP with respect to Fusion, but could never distinguish whether it was common to the entire MBP 16 line (perhaps my configuration) or peculiar to my specific machine. That's why I asked if anyone with my model and configuration had succeeded; then I could answer at least this last question.

Your suggestion about the T2 chip's possible involvement is intriguing. I've never updated the T2 firmware, so it's whatever shipped with the MBP. I'll look into that.

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Technogeezer
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Mucking around with a T2 chip reset is a last resort. Investigate all else before doing that and read Apple’s documentation on Apple Configurator carefully.

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There's definitely something wrong with either the install or the machine.

Have you run first aid on the SDD, and the apple diagnostics?

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RonTugender
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The MBP is running pretty flawlessly outside of the Fusion problems. That's why I'm keen on ascertaining other MBP users' experience before I explore Fusion further on this MBP. If other MBP 16 users have similar issues, I'd chalk it up to something pathological in the series and surrender Fusion forever. Even if it's limited to my machine, after all the troubleshooting time I've invested just to get the MBP working at all (see my earlier post), I'm leery of another troubleshooting deep dive just for Fusion.

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I ran fusion on that model without any issues before upgrading to a M1, and several of my colleagues are still doing so without issue (including 13). Having an application corrupt the OS is really unusual, which makes me thing there's either an underlying hardware issue, or some strange driver/kernel extension mucking things up. Did you have to disable SIP to install anything else on the machine, or do you run any kind of enterprise security software?

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RonTugender
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As I've said, the OS corruption occurred during the overall instability issues accompanying the initial releases of MBP16/Catalina. That OS corruption occurred during VM operation was more likely the result of the immature Catalina than caused by Fusion itself. However this didn't entirely exonerate Fusion either, especially since Fusion has never worked properly on the MBP since.

I don't have to do anything special to install or operate any other apps on the MBP, and there is no enterprise security software present (only consumer Malwarebytes for anti-virus).

Your report of successful Fusion operation on other MBP 16's tends to implicate my particular MBP rather than the entire series. At this point, the only way I'll know whether the MacOS and Fusion major version upgrades will allow Fusion 13 to run on my MBP is to try again. I'm mulling whether I will.

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RonTugender
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I did install Fusion 13 Pro on my MBP 16. As has happened numerous time before, the VMware Fusion app hung immediately after installation, with the app consuming 1.0 CPU but never opening a window or completing whatever it was spinning about.

However, before ripping Fusion out, I tried logging out of my primary user account and logging in as Guest. Lo and behold, Fusion runs just fine in the Guest account! This brings the focus back to something in my user profile that is tripping up Fusion.

Now the question becomes: Does anyone recognize Fusion hanging in a specific user account because of something problematic within that account's profile?

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No, but I've seen other user-specific oddness in Ventura. Had one machine that the menu's wouldn't work (on the host) - you'd click, and they'd appear and disappear. I had to blow away the entire ~/library/preferences folder to get that one solved.

Nice catch in any case, never considered that it'd be user specific.

There's a kb article with instructions to do a manual clean install (don't have it handy, sorry) that might do the trick.

Your account is administrator right? And no 'root' password manually set on the machine?

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RonTugender
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I don't think this is particular to Ventura as I've had the same behavior in previous MacOS releases.

Yes, my login account is administrator. No 'root' password on machine I'm aware of.

I've created another account, also administrator, and Fusion works as well as it did in the Guest account. This confirms that Fusion's behavior is login-specific. Not sure what glimmer had me try on accounts other than my original principal account but it did smoke out the login-specific nature of the Fusion problem. I'm at a loss to imagine which haystack to look for the needle. Perhaps someone else in Fusion-land can suggest a place to look.

BTW, now that I can run Fusion on this Mac, albeit only in inconvenient logins, i notice that Unity mode won't engage with a "Display Topology update request could not be completed in guest" complaint. I don't have the problem in other Macs running Fusion, even the same Windows 10 VM. I did update VMware Tools in this VM just for good measure, but no joy. Any thoughts?

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Technogeezer
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The tech note https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/1017838 has info on the files that Fusion places in the user’s Library folder that should be removed in a manual uninstall of Fusion.

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RonTugender
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Any idea which of those files might be implicated in Fusion's misbehavior? I suspect it's none of these because I've manually uninstalled Fusion multiple times, removing every one of these files in the process. They are obviously recreated with a fresh Fusion installation, presumably in some default virgin form, so I don't see how these files would contain the gremlin that hangs Fusion.

From my experience, I suspect the culprit lies elsewhere.

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renotech
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RonTugender
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I wish this applied, but my problem is not with a VM hanging. It's Fusion ITSELF that hangs. As soon as the Fusion app is invoked, with no VM running, it becomes unresponsive -- hung. The only action available from that point is Force Quit.

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Technogeezer
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Thinking aloud here and grasping at straws.

Are all the Fusion background processes active at the time that the Fusion UI hangs are occurring?

  • vmnet-bridge
  • vmnet-dhcpd (two of them, one for vmnet1, one for vmnet8)
  • vmnet-natd
  • vmware-usbarbitrator
  • VMware Fusion Sevices
  • VMware Fusion Start Menu

And... stupid question, I know but still grasping at straws:

What are the permissions on /private/var/tmp and any /private/var/tmp/*-vmware directories?

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So since it works in a new user account but not the old one, it's likely to be something in ~/Library more than any of the standard software.  Two ideas:

First, startup the machine in safe mode, login to the user account with the issue, and see if it happens.  Safe mode is tricky to get into on the M1 machines, follow the support doc steps very closely.  If it works, that means it's probably some kind of code that's interfering.

If it still doesn't work, there's a brute force step you can try.  First, I strongly recommend making a reliable back (i.e. a full clone with carbon copy cloner), just so you can undo this if it messes something up.

Boot in normal mode, then in ~/Library, move the entire preferences folder to the desktop.  Reboot, and log back in and see if it happens. If if then works, you know it's a preference file of some kind.  Move the preferences folder back, and then start moving pieces out until you discover what the issue was (you many need to reboot in between - I'd suggest moving in in halves, then halve that chunk into quarters, until you zero in on it).

 

I had to do something similar to solve an issue on one machine where the menu's would disappear after clicking (in all apps).  Never did zero in on the culprit, but it was in the preferences folder.  In that case, the machine had been migrated continuously since 10.3, so it was some ancient gunk that interacted in odd ways with ventura.

 

I know it's brute force, but it's the best i've got.

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newsage
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Mine has just done the same. 

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Did you try all the ideas in the thread?

 

And did you make any changes on the host?  OS updates, Fusion updates, run 'maintenance utilities', install other programs?

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