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Vista has become Pong

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Uh, this is really weird.

I had a VM running Windows Vista. Whenever I start it or resume it, it's just a game of pong. I've done a Force Shutdown. When it boots, I don't get anything Windows-ish. It's just pong. It's as if pong has replaced the virtual ROM BIOS, preventing boot-up.

This is so bizarre. I'd really love to get my VM back. Help?

Tom Reingold Maplewood, NJ and New York, NY
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Immortal
Immortal

Another possibility is that you've inadvertently found a trigger for a Fusion 3 easter egg - if you boot a virtual machine off a 0-byte floppy, that's exactly what you would expect to get. If this is the case, try disconnecting the virtual floppy drive before booting the virtual machine (and/or change the boot order or remove the blank file).

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Immortal
Immortal

The virtual bios is not infected your Master Boot Record (MBR) is. It's the ancient ping-ping virus that was update to a form of an MBR rootkit which has loaded on at least 30,000 websites. You'll have to get an AV boot disk to clean this or at the least repair the MBR.

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Immortal
Immortal

Another possibility is that you've inadvertently found a trigger for a Fusion 3 easter egg - if you boot a virtual machine off a 0-byte floppy, that's exactly what you would expect to get. If this is the case, try disconnecting the virtual floppy drive before booting the virtual machine (and/or change the boot order or remove the blank file).

View solution in original post

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Immortal
Immortal

Another possibility is that you've inadvertently found a trigger for a Fusion 3 easter egg - if you boot a virtual machine off a 0-byte floppy, that's exactly what you would expect to get. If this is the case, try disconnecting the virtual floppy drive before booting the virtual machine (and/or change the boot order or remove the blank file).

Tell the developers it would have been better if they'd spend the time fixing what's not right with Fusion 3 before it was released instead of playing games with the code during development!

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Immortal
Immortal

Another possibility is that you've inadvertently found a trigger for a Fusion 3 easter egg - if you boot a virtual machine off a 0-byte floppy, that's exactly what you would expect to get. If this is the case, try disconnecting the virtual floppy drive before booting the virtual machine (and/or change the boot order or remove the blank file).

This is it. The jpg above looks identical to the Easter egg. You can disconnect the floppy or change the startup device in Virtual Machine > Settings, from floppy to hard disk.

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Immortal
Immortal

Tell the developers it would have been better if they'd spend the time fixing what's not right with Fusion 3 before it was released instead of playing games with the code during development!

This code probably is not from the Fusion team. I've exposed Pong in Workstation 7 so it's built into the VMM not the UI. The UI is just rendering it. VMware has thousands of developers now, someone probably wrote this in their spare time.

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This is correct. I figured it out right after I sent my original post. Thank you. I have my VM back. Good thing. I was on the verge of deleting it, which would have been a shame.

Thanks, everyone!

Tom Reingold Maplewood, NJ and New York, NY
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Immortal
Immortal

Tell the developers it would have been better if they'd spend the time fixing what's not right with Fusion 3 before it was released instead of playing games with the code during development!

This code probably is not from the Fusion team.

It's not, it was written by one of our 3D guys as a test case (it's useful to have a bunch of minimal virtual machines that do only a few specific and controlled things).

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Immortal
Immortal

It's not, it was written by one of our 3D guys as a test case (it's useful to have a bunch of minimal virtual machines that do only a few specific and controlled things).

I don't doubt the necessity of tests but put the pong code in a virtual flp you're connecting from or a LiveCD and don't embed it in the VMM! Mimicking the behavior of a known virus without so much as the text of "VMware 3D test" or anything clearly identifying it as test mode is borderline irresponsible.

I tried to find some images of the real virus but I couldn't and I didn't want to download the real virus just to compare.

Luckily I don't see the pong code in ESX, I'm sure that's intentional. Smiley Wink

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Immortal
Immortal

on popular demand ... here is the Easteregg-appliance

http://sanbarrow.com/files/easteregg-vm.zip

1kb zip file - extract somewhere and launch in Fusion, WS 7 or VMplayer 3

completely harmless Smiley Wink






___________________________________

VMX-parameters- VMware-liveCD - VM-Sickbay

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - call me via skype "sanbarrow"
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Immortal
Immortal

Works perfectly. BTW, the game runs with as little as 4 MB of RAM, 96 MB is a bit of a waste on host memory.

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Immortal
Immortal

did you already reached the second level ?




___________________________________

VMX-parameters- VMware-liveCD - VM-Sickbay

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - call me via skype "sanbarrow"
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Immortal
Immortal

I'm pretty sure it's not in the VMM for two reasons: the monitor team would have a fit (they zealously watch their code size because cache usage directly affects performance), and it's not in ESX (which I believe shares the monitor).

Just as a point of reference, I wasn't aware of the pong virus (so going by my experience, I'd attribute it to ignorance rather than irresponsibility). I'm not sure why the easter egg is lacking a label (other than for aesthetic reasons) - most (all?) of the other test cases are labeled. If you're curious, this is pong.img - you can even see the source if you want. As far as I know, none of the other test cases are buried in any of our products.

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Immortal
Immortal

there is a small difference - using the original pong test-VM from your link it displays "METALKIT ..." during boot.

With a zero-size flp it just says "loading ..."




___________________________________

VMX-parameters- VMware-liveCD - VM-Sickbay

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - call me via skype "sanbarrow"
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Immortal
Immortal

Hi,

I wrote the Pong game. It was originally part of an exercise we'd give to interview candidates, actually. The Pong VM would boot up, and the interviewee's job was to write a program that played the Pong game by simulating mouse/keyboard input and hooking into the VM's graphics device. After that, we ported it to the "Metalkit" toy OS as a simple (but fun) example of how to do 2D graphics in a VM. This was part of a small open source toolkit we released which shows OS developers how to write drivers for our graphics device:

http://vmware-svga.sourceforge.net/

Including the Pong test in the VMX was done purely for fun, as an easter egg. There actually isn't a specific check for zero-byte floppy images. The floppy device returns "undefined" data if you read past the end of the file. It just so happens that this data can be interpreted as a bootable floppy with a little game on it Smiley Happy

I'm sorry if this caused any alarm- I wasn't aware of the ping-pong virus. After reading the description of that virus on Wikipedia, though, I don't see how this Pong game could be confused with that virus. This one is obviously playable, and uses VM-specific features like the absolute pointing device. The virus was just a bouncing ball and nothing else.

I can also explain why this version is slightly different from the open source version: they're both based on the same code, but I manually stripped the built-in version down so the binary was as small as possible. This included removing some unused library code, and I think I ended up using an older version of the Metalkit bootloader. The whole thing only adds about 5 kilobytes to the VMX. And hey, if you knew how much time and space we waste on much less entertaining features, you wouldn't complain Smiley Wink

--Micah

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Thank you, Micah. I hope everyone agrees with me in saying that's a thoroughly satisfying (and entertaining) answer.

Tom Reingold Maplewood, NJ and New York, NY
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Immortal
Immortal

Wow it's been over two years since you posted last... where have you been? Smiley Happy

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Immortal
Immortal

Sorry, I forget to check the forums much these days Smiley Sad

Our whole team's been pretty busy on the Next Thing. It might even be a Big Thing, who knows!

--Micah

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Sadly my only thought when looking at the attachment was "man the guy on the right is kicking the other guy's butt".

Cute Easter Egg

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