VMware Communities
Coach300
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Mac OS X Lion - Black Screen of Death - Mac Book Pro

There is already a lengthy discussion - 25 pages as of now - on the Apple Support Communities, about certain Mac Book Pros going to a black screen (no gray screen with the multi-language restart message) with the keyboard remaining lit, and the only remedy being to hold the power button for ten seconds, then reboot. At one point I had perhaps a half dozen such crashes, some right after restart, in a half hour period and thanks to the restore feature in Lion, I did not lose any work on either platform.

What appears to be happening is a driver compatibility issue with the NVIDIA card and Lion. From what I gleaned from the Apple discussion, mine (a mid 2010 Mac Book Pro i5 15") is among those affected. I have had the hang on all sorts of "events", including with audio playing (it will loop a half second of audio). There was a temporary workaround posted disabling the NVIDIA card; if requested, and allowed, I could post that here. This is my first post to these forums and I wish to stay within the Terms of Service and other Community Guidelines in place.

At the very least, it hasn't affected my use of VMWare Fusion 3.1.3, through which I run Windows 7 Home Premium. I had the guest OS shut down prior to the Lion download, and I purchased Fusion at the 3.1.3 version. What has happened for me is that if the Mac crashes in Lion, the guest OS is either immediately suspended and I have always been able to successfuly restore, or powered down without shut down, after which I was able to "start Windows normally". I am not using a Boot Camp partition.

Hopefully I will not have further issues with these OS crashes, but I wanted to at least share with the Community what I have experienced and researched and, if it is acceptable to provide links to the discussions at Apple's website and to the open source tool that I downloaded and installed, I would be happy to do that.

Frank W. Goebel II

Schenectady, NY USA

Mac OS X 10.7, VMWare Fusion 3.1.3, Windows 7 Home Premium

Reply
0 Kudos
6 Replies
WoodyZ
Immortal
Immortal

Thanks for the information and because one of these hard shutdowns you do to the Mac can or has the potential corrupt the virtual hard disk make sure that you have a separate backup of the Virtual Machine Package and Time Machine doesn't count with Virtual Machines as it's a known fact that Time Machine is not 100% reliable backing up/restoring Virtual Machines under all circumstances/conditions.  Also backing up Virtual Machines via Time Machine is disk/time intensive and wastes a tremendous amount of space for something that may be corrupt and worthless come time to restore it.  At a minimum I would exclude Virtual Machines from Time Machine and with the Virtual Machines shutdown, not suspended, and VMware Fusion closed then manually copy the Virtual Machines Packages to an alternate location, preferably on to a different physical hard disk.  Then keep the User Data that is stored within the Virtual Machine backed up off of the Virtual Machine on a regular basis so as to always have a current User Data backup.  If you have to restore a properly backed up Virtual Machine that is not as current at least you'll have a working Virtual Machine and current User Data to go forward with when you find out your Time Machine backup of the Virtual Machine fails.

Have a look at: VMware Fusion (menu bar) > Help > Search > type Package then select, Work with Virtual Machine Packages

Reply
0 Kudos
greg409
Contributor
Contributor

with the Virtual Machines shutdown, not suspended, and VMware Fusion closed then manually copy the Virtual Machines Packages to an alternate location, preferably on to a different physical hard disk.

Woody, why does it matter if the VM is suspended rather than shutdown? I backup my current day used VMs this way automatically every night, but the VMs are usually just suspended. I've tested the backups a few times by moving them and relaunching them without problem. Was I just lucky and headed for trouble by not shutting down the VMs before backup?

Reply
0 Kudos
WoodyZ
Immortal
Immortal

greg409 wrote:

with the Virtual Machines shutdown, not suspended, and VMware Fusion closed then manually copy the Virtual Machines Packages to an alternate location, preferably on to a different physical hard disk.

Woody, why does it matter if the VM is suspended rather than shutdown? I backup my current day used VMs this way automatically every night, but the VMs are usually just suspended. I've tested the backups a few times by moving them and relaunching them without problem. Was I just lucky and headed for trouble by not shutting down the VMs before backup?

There are a number of reasons I state these directions the way I do.  However when it comes to the actual validity of the backup itself and assuming VMware Fusion is closed then technically whether it's suspended or shutdown a backup can occur and assuming one is using a backup process that checksums/validates the source and backup copy are the same then it doesn't matter.

So for the moment set aside the technical aspect and look at the practical aspect.  A shutdown virtual machine has less files in its package and the package is smaller in size then a suspended virtual machine.

So... Faster backups/restores... Less space required to maintain multiple backups.

Also if restoring to a different system a suspended virtual machine has a greater potential to hang and require being reset loosing whatever in the suspended state that was not saved to disk prior to suspending.

I could go on with additional reasons however I think I've already made the point. Smiley Wink

Reply
0 Kudos
Coach300
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Back to my original topic...dealing with the black screen. Is it acceptable in these forums to provide a link to the workaround that I found and have successfully used? I wish to stay within the Terms of Service, etc...

Reply
0 Kudos
WoodyZ
Immortal
Immortal

Generally speaking the posting links is fine as long as what's in on the pages that come from the link don't contain illegally posted software and or discussion that involve violating the SLA/EULA of the products concerned or links to same.  If in doubt then read the VMTN Discussion Forum Guidelines, Discussion Forum Terms of Use and the VMware Communities Terms of Use.

Reply
0 Kudos
Coach300
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

With that, I will provide this link which I discovered by link from the Apple Community Forums. This link refers back to the same Apple forum where I saw this workaround:

http://www.ifans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=349388

You may have to copy/paste–I was unable to use the link function for posting. It is from iFans. With this link, I make no endorsement for any advertising which may be presented on this page.

The link to the open-source utility is here:

http://codykrieger.com/gfxCardStatus

Once downloaded (it is only 1.5 MB), run it from wherever downloaded, and look in your menu bar for the new icon. Click that icon and choose "Integrated only".

The way it works, it will force your graphics to only use the Intel graphics built into the motherboard and not the NVidia card that may be present.

Again, this is only a workaround until (if) Apple provides an update to Mac OS X Lion (10.7) addressing the issue.

Reply
0 Kudos