Error on rebooting VM after image deployment- black screen with solid cursor


I have a really frustrating issue that I have tried everything I can think of to fix, but I haven't gotten anywhere.

Some details:

-I use VMWare Workstation 7.1 installed on Windows 7 Professional 64bit

-The client image I am deploying to my virtual machine (VM) is Windows XP Professional 32bit

-To deploy images we use an open source system called FOG

I maintain a standard operating environment SOE) for our organisation, which at present is Windows XP based. Up until recently, the process I have used to work-on/make changes to our SOE is as follows:

-Deloy the current SOE image to my virtual machine

-Make whatever changes are required

-Image the VM back to the imaging system

Up until recently this has worked perfectly.

A few weeks ago I recieved a brand new office machine, with a fresh installation of Windows 7. I reinstalled all my normal applications including VMWare Workstation 7.1. I then created a VM to work on my SOE, and imaged the VM with the SOE image (as I have always done).

The imaging process went fine, and the normal sysprep / minisetup stuff happened post imaging. Note that as part of this process the VM reboots several times, and each time it booted up again with no issue. After all post imaging tasks were finished, I was presented with the windows desktop and began making changes as normal.

The problem became apparent on the first reboot of the VM. Instead of booting into windows, the screen is black with a single, solid (non blinking) cursor in the top left corner of the screen).

At first, I assuemd that it must have been a windows update or some other change I had made to the VM. I simply reimaged the virtual machine with the same image as before. This time however, when I was presented with the Windows desktop post imaging I manually rebooted the VM to confirm all was working. This worked fine, and the VM rebooted normally. Thinking that I had arrived at a 'known good point' I created a snapshot of the VM that I could revert back to in the event of further problems.

I then proceeded to install some windows updates on the VM, which required a reboot. When the VM tried to boot into Windows the same issue appeared- solid cursor on black background. Thinking that an update must have cuased the issue, I reverted back to the known good snapshot (that as mentioned, I was able to mannually reboot without issue).

Once the snapshot had been reverted, I decided to manually reboot the VM just to be sure. Imagine my surprise and annoyance when it had the same problem- solid cursor on black screen and no booting into Windows!

I ahve already done some searching and have come across a few links related to this issue, and I have tried what they suggest such as using the fixmbr and fixboot commands in the windows recovery console. Since some people suggest the issue is related to the way that some imaging system don't record/ignore mbr information, I have also tried manually creating a mbr on the VM disk before imaging.

Can anyone suggest anything else I can try? and can anyone explain why my 'known good' snapshot had the same error after I reverted to it? Or why my VM is able to properly reboot several times during the sysprep/minisetup process 100% of the time, yet I get errors when rebooting manually and/or as part of software / windows update installation.

Many thanks for any help.

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21 Replies

Haven't done any checksum validation as yet.

Yes, one of the next things I'll try is to install XP onto a VM from scratch, rather than via imaging.

Am presently trying using my SSD to host the VM disk to bypass the hard drive I have been using for all the VM disks so far. Other than being very fast Smiley Happy hopefully it will help determine if there is an issue with the HDD (I have the WD diagnostic tools to test the HDD but they wouldn't work for some reason)

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Having a similar issue myself, running VMware Workstation 8.0.2-591240 on Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x64.

I instal Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 SP2 as part of a deployment script, the script installs the OS (real install, not from image) then all the hotfixes, .net, VMware tools etc and returns to a login prompt.

This process involves multiple reboots.

The very next reboot (after I've set an IP address or whatever) and that's it I'm stuck at the single white cursor.  I can boot from the W2K3 CD and see the OS, run fixmbr etc but this looks like pretty much the same "unresolved" issue.

Would love a fix!


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