Windows 10 1903 update vs VMware Workstation 12+

Windows 10 build version 1903 (19H1) comes with a Sandbox feature which relies on Hyper-V technology. If you have already installed VMware Workstation version 12 and above before the Windows 10 1903 update, the system gives an error about installing the latest updates and offer you to remove it to proceed with the update.

If you want to keep VMware Workstation solution is easy with a workaround. First you should uninstall VMware Workstation preferably without removing application settings and license information. After the Windows update installation you should first enable the Hyper-V related features under “Setting -> Apps -> Apps & features -> Programs & Features -> Turn Windows features on or off” for some cases that they are partially enabled. The system will prompt for reboot and after the reboot you should disable these features back not to conflict with VMware Workstation any more.

You can install VMware Workstation back after the final reboot and continue to use your old VMs as before.

Windows Sandbox Features

To speed up the boot sequence I prefer to keep the related VMware services startup type manual and control them with a PowerShell script below:

VMware Workstation Windows services
Enable-NetAdapter VMware* -Confirm:$false
Start-Service "VMware Authorization Service"
Start-Service "VMware USB Arbitration Service"
Start-Service "VMware NAT Service"
Start-Service "VMware DHCP Service"
Start-Service "VMware Workstation Server"
Start-Process -NoNewWindow -Wait "C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware.exe"
Stop-Service "VMware Workstation Server"
Stop-Service "VMware DHCP Service"
Stop-Service "VMware NAT Service"
Stop-Service -Force "VMware USB Arbitration Service"
Stop-Service -Force "VMware Authorization Service"
Disable-NetAdapter VMware* -Confirm:$false

Then you can change the default VMware Workstation shortcut target to run this PowerShell script:

%SystemRoot%\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe -ExecutionPolicy Bypass -WindowStyle Hidden -File "[full_path_to_your_script]"

VMware HA warnings on VMs with 3D Graphics and VMware Tools upgrades

Recently I’ve been busy with the upgrade of my vSphere 6.0U2 environment to 6.5U1. During and after the upgrade some of the VMs started getting rebooted by VMware HA. VMs were unresponsive at that stage and vSphere logged “OS crash” due to VMware Tools heartbeat loss. VMware HA VM monitoring naturally tried to reset the machines, however randomly for some it succeeded, for some it didn’t. All of the crashed VMs have one configuration in common: 3D Graphics enabled. At first I considered the reason was VMware Tools, but then I thought: “Is it possible to lose backward compatibility this much between vSphere versions?” Actually the running Tools versions were not updated since vSphere 5.5 and somehow it didn’t complain until this upgrade.

There were two different logs (screenshots below) on the VMs that HA failed to reset, first one recurring very frequently, almost every 20 seconds:

vSphere HA attempted to reset the virtual machine because of a heartbeat failure from VMware Tools or a guest application, depending on how vSphere HA was configured. However, the reset operation failed. The most likely reason for the reset failure is that the virtual machine was running another task at the time the reset was initiated. Action: Check to see whether the virtual machine requires attention and reset it manually if necessary.

&

This event is logged when vSphere HA did not reset a VM affected by an inaccessible datastore. It will attempt to reset the VM after storage failure is cleared. The VM is affected by an inaccessible datastore due to storage connectivity loss. Resetting such a VM might cause the VM to be powered off and not restarted by vSphere HA.

HA Error Type 2HA Error Type 1

I couldn’t see any ongoing activity or an inaccessible datastore. These logs seemed misdirecting so I started updating VMware Tools and virtual HW as recommended. As suspected, it solved the problem: VMs stopped crashing and found some peace.

When you don’t have the luxury to restart the systems, you may choose to “postpone” the VMware Tools and virtual HW upgrade thinking that it is not compulsory and has an extended support. Here is a good old VMware blog entry about the subject: https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2013/02/is-a-vmware-tools-upgrade-required-when-upgrading-vsphere.html. Although the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix shows Tools from 5.5 still works on ESXi 6.5U1, my case proved that there may be exceptions on rare configurations. The system needs to be kept as up-to-date as possible, as a whole.

Let’s finish with VMware’s statement:

Although upgrading VMware Tools is optional, it is still highly recommended.   The extended support is meant to facilitate upgrades and should not be seen as an excuse to avoid upgrading VMware Tools.

Synology NAS noise and vibration reduction

Ever since I’ve got my Synology NAS device I kept it on my desk. I wasn’t bothered at first but after some time the buzzing sound that it created got my attention. First I checked the device and the removable parts. Interestingly there is no rubber to help fighting with vibration in Synology design. The hard plastic drive sleds are directly sitting on metal cage, creating the perfect room for it. I had to do something, prevent the vibration causing this annoying noise and eating up my drives’ lifetime.

After a short investigation in Google, I saw that I wasn’t the only one complaining. User Chipware in reddit forum, explained that he solved his problem with only some velcro. I bought some self-adhesive velcro (approx. 5 cm per drive is sufficient) and applied it to the sleds where they touch the cage, like he did. (click on the photo to enlarge)

Result: A significant decrease in the noise. After I put some anti-static foam under the feet, I could not feel any vibration from the desk anymore. I can only hear the disk head movements and a relatively quiet fan now. I am glad that I took care of this before it created any bad sectors. Strongly suggested.

Fair warning: Although this is perfectly safe, I am not responsible for any damage that you may cause to your device.

Synology NAS noise reduction with some velcro

Mr. Robot and fsociety

[S01E01 – eps1.0_hellofriend.mov]

Krista : What is it about society that disappoints you so much?
Elliot : Oh, I don’t know. Is it that we collectively thought Steve Jobs was a great man, even when we knew he made billions off the backs of children? Or maybe it’s that it feels like all our heroes are counterfeit. The world itself’s just one big hoax. Spamming with our running commentary of bullshit masquerading as insight, our social media faking as intimacy. Or is it that we voted for this? Not with our rigged elections, but with our things, our property, our money. I’m not saying anything new. We all know why we do this, not because Hunger Games books makes us happy but because we want to be sedated. Because it’s painful not to pretend, because we’re cowards. F.ck society.
(Krista, echoing)
Krista : [normal voice] Elliot. You’re not saying anything. What’s wrong?
Elliot : Nothing.

[S01E10 – eps1.9_zer0-day.avi]

Elliot : You’re not real.
Mr. Robot : What? You are? [scoffs] Is any of it real? I mean, look at this. Look at it! A world built on fantasy! Synthetic emotions in the form of pills, psychological warfare in the form of advertising, mind-altering chemicals in the form of food, brainwashing seminars in the form of media, controlled isolated bubbles in the form of social networks. Real? You want to talk about reality? We haven’t lived in anything remotely close to it since the turn of the century. We turned it off, took out the batteries, snacked on a bag of GMOs while we tossed the remnants in the ever-expanding dumpster of the human condition. We live in branded houses trademarked by corporations built on bipolar numbers jumping up and down on digital displays, hypnotizing us into the biggest slumber mankind has ever seen. You have to dig pretty deep, kiddo, before you can find anything real. We live in a kingdom of bullshit, a kingdom you’ve lived in for far too long. So don’t tell me about not being real. I’m no less real than the f.cking beef patty in your… As far as you’re concerned, Elliot, I am very real.

VMware vCenter Server 6 installation low memory workaround

I was installing VMware vCenter Server 6 Update 2 with Embedded Platform Services Controller on a Windows lab server with 8GB RAM. I got the following error:

VMware vCenter Server detected 8160MB of memory. 8176MB of memory is required for the selected deployment type.

You can easily skip this error with initiating the following in command line:

VMware-vCenter-Server.exe SKIP_HARDWARE_CHECKS=1

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