Category Archives: VirtualPC

Installing Kubuntu 7.10 In Virtual PC 2007

After last weeks post on Ubuntu 7.10 (https://arcanecode.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/installing-ubuntu-710-under-virtual-pc-2007/), I had several requests for Kubuntu. Since I’m happy to please, here are the step by step instructions for Kubnutu. By the way, I’ve reduced the screen sizes a little to make them fit the flow of the blog, but you can click any of them to see them in full size should you need to make out any of the details.

If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to download the latest image of Kubuntu, you can get it from http://www.kubuntu.com/download.php .

Kubuntu has some of the same issues as Ubuntu under Virtual PC when it comes to graphics and the mouse. When you fire up the VPC with the Kubuntu disk in the drive (or you’ve captured it’s ISO image), you’ll want to move the highlight down to “Start Kubuntu in safe graphics mode”. To fix the mouse, at least for this session, press F6 for boot options, and type in “i8042.noloop” after the –. Once your screen looks like the one below, press Enter to continue.

k710_001

Once Kubuntu boots, click the install icon on the desktop to begin the installation process.

k710_002

On the Welcome screen, just confirm your language, then press Next.

k710_003

In this step you get to play Carmen whats-her-name and do the “Where in the world are you” bit. Select a city in the time zone in which you live, then click Next.

k710_004

Now pick your keyboard, and click Next.

k710_005

On the disk space screen, just take the defaults and click next.

k710_006

OK, now we actually have to do some work, and give Kubuntu some info. Make sure to remember your password, not only will you need it to login but you’ll also need it for any commands that need super user privlidges.

k710_007

OK, Kubuntu finally knows everything it needs in order to install so just hit next.

k710_008

And wait. And wait. And wait. If you thought Ubuntu took a while to install, just wait for Kubuntu. My experience was a couple of hours, but to be fair I was also playing a couple of Quicktime videos (some of the cool shows from http://www.revision3.com) and testing an openSuse install in another VPC. And I have sloooooooooooow hard disks, so your milage (or kilometers) may vary. But it’ll still take a while.

About 84% or so into it I got this error. This is similar to the error I got with Ubuntu, just click OK to let it keep going. Oh, and wait some more.

k710_009

Yea! It finally finished the install.

k710_010

When you get to this screen, just press OK, then reboot Kubuntu. Don’t forget to eject the CD (or release the ISO) during the reboot. But before you press OK, make sure to read the next step!

OK, time for a tricky part. Pay close attention during the reboot. When you get to the screen that talks about the GRUB menu, press the ESCape key. You should see a screen like this:

k710_011

With the top line highlighted, press the e key to edit the command line.

On the next screen, press the down arrow once to highlight the line that begins in “kernel”, then press e again to edit that line. When the edit screen appears, we need to add the – i8042.noloop to the end of the line. It should look something like:

k710_012

Press Enter, then when you return to the screen with “kernel” on it, press ‘b’ (just the letter b) to boot Kubuntu. What this will do is enable the mouse for this session only! Once we get booted, we’ll fix the mouse permanently, so hang on.

When the login screen appears, enter your user name and password (the ones you entered on the “Who Are You” screen during the installation) and press enter. Now give it a minute while Kubuntu finishes loading.

OK, now it’s time to fix that pesky mouse issue once and for all. Click on the big K in the lower left (it’s like the Start button in Windows), and go to System, then bring up Konsole.

k710_013

Now in the Konsole window, type in

sudo kate /boot/grub/menu.lst

and press enter.

k710_014

Enter your password when prompted, and you should be in the kate editor. Note you may see a few errors on the terminal window. These can be ignored.

Once kate is up, scroll to the very bottom of the editor where you’ll find three sections of “title… kernel… “ etc. In the first section, which is the default, we need to edit the kernel line to add:

— i8042.noloop

to the end of the line, as you see here. Once done, save it by using File, Save on the menu or clicking the floppy disk. Then exit kate (File, Quit) and exit the terminal window (type exit and press enter, or close by just clicking the x button as you would in Windows).

k710_015

And that’s it, you should be good to go and enjoy Kubuntu 7.10 virtually.

PS If you found this useful, please give it a digg so others can find it too.

Installing Ubuntu 7.10 Under Virtual PC 2007

Update April 24, 2008 – The newest version of Ubuntu, 8.04 is out. Look for complete install instructions here.

Update April 7 2008 – If you are interested in also playing with the 8.04 BETA, you can read my post here.

Ubuntu version 7.10 was just released. In keeping up with tradition I’d like to describe step by step instructions on how to install and get it running under Virtual PC 2007.

Before I begin though, I’d like to give a word of thanks to all the folks who have commented on my previous postings. It was their findings and efforts that helped to create this work, I owe them a big thanks.

OK, first thing you need is to download the Desktop install ISO from the Ubuntu site (http://www.ubuntu.com). You can skip right to the download mirrors page at http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/downloadmirrors if you want to save a few mouse clicks.

Once you get it downloaded fire up Virtual PC, and create a new machine. If you are not familiar with VPC, see my step by step instructions for creating a machine at https://arcanecode.wordpress.com/2006/09/20/virtual-pc-step-by-step/ Make sure to pick “other” as the OS type. I used 512 meg of ram because my system has 2 gig, but if you have less you can get away with 256 meg of ram for the Ubuntu Virtual machine.

Fire up your new virtual machine, and use the option in the CD menu to “Capture ISO image”. Point the image at the desktop iso you just downloaded.When it starts, immediately press the down arrow, so that “Start Ubuntu in Safe Graphics Mode” is highlighted.

When 7.04 was released, the new kernel had issues with the mouse emulated by Virtual PC. To be blunt, the mouse just didn’t work. However, several work arounds were found. The easiest was brought to my attention via comments on the blog, the i8042.noloop option. That’s what we’ll implement, so we can use the mouse during the “live mode”.

Hit the F6 key, for Options. When the line appears, at the very end type in a space (if there’s not one after the two dashes) then i8042.noloop . Your screen should look something like this:

u710_001

Press Enter to start the launch process. Be patient, it takes quite a while. Once it’s finally up though, you’ll see this screen:

u710_002

Double click on the Install icon to begin the install.

On the first screen, below, you are welcomed and asked about a language. Pick your language and hit Forward.

u710_003

Now pick your time zone, since I’m in the Central zone I picked Chicago as a city in my time zone and clicked Forward.

u710_004

No it asks about keyboard layout, pick your keyboard if yours isn’t US English, then press Forward.

u710_005

Ubuntu will crank and grind for a minute, then you’ll see this dialog asking about your disks. Just take the defaults and click Forward.

u710_006

Time for a little personal info, give your name, a login id, enter the password you want to use, and what you want to name the “computer”. When done click Forward.

u710_007

OK, you’re almost ready to start the install process. Look this over, if everything looks good just press the Install button and we’re off to the races.

u710_008

Did I say races? Well, turtle race might be more like it, the install runs pretty slow, so get some coffee, or maybe a second bowl of ice cream if you’re doing a late night install.

u710_009

I did encounter one error during the install. You may see this as well, but you can go back later and correct this through the normal updates process.

u710_010

Now Ubuntu will finish, and ask if we want to reboot. Tell it no, then reboot by shutting down by pressing the red shut down icon in the very upper right of the Ubuntu window.

OK, you’ll have to be very quick with this next step. Remember the mouse issue? We’ll still need to fix it. First, boot the new machine, after clicking on CD and releasing the ISO if it’s still held. Now when you see the words “Grub loader” hit the Escape key. If you were fast enough, you’ll see this screen.

u710_012

With the line you see selected, press the “e” to edit the line. Now a new screen will appear.

u710_013

Move the highlight down one to the Kernal line, and press “e” to edit that line. When the new screen appears, you’ll need to add two dashes, then the i8042.noloop command. Your screen should look like this:

u710_014

Press Enter, then when you are returned to the screen with “kernel…” on it, make sure the kernel line is still highlighted and press b to boot.

Once booted, login using your user id and password. When Unbuntu is up, it’s time to fix the mouse issue once and for all. Click on Applications, Accessories, Terminal. When the terminal window appears, type in:

sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

u710_015

When you press Enter you’ll be prompted for your password, enter it. An editor should appear. Scroll down to the very bottom of the text and find the line that begins with “kernel”. Add the – i8042.noloop to the end of the line, as I’ve shown below. (Note I have highlighted the line to make it easy to see, yours won’t be normally highlighted in your session.)

u710_016

Save the file and exit the editor and the terminal window. When you next reboot, you should be able to just login normally, and the mouse should work.

And there you go, Ubuntu 7.10 up and running, complete with mouse, under Virtual PC 2007.

P.S. If you found this post useful, please give it a Digg so others can find the same happiness you did.

Downloading a Virtual PC Image of Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2

During last week’s WPF class, several of my coworkers expressed an interest in using the 2008 edition to experiment with WPF. They were concerned installing the beta on their production box could damage their boxes, even though in theory part of the beauty of .Net is the ability to run multiple versions of the framework side by side.

To alleviate those fears, Microsoft has provided a Beta of 2008 already in a ready to run Virtual PC. First, you’ll need to have Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 installed on your box. If you don’t, you can grab a copy from

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=04D26402-3199-48A3-AFA2-2DC0B40A73B6&displaylang=en

(Even though the instructions indicate it should work with VPC 2004 SP1 or Virtual Server, I haven’t tried it with them. Virtual Server should be fine, but I would highly suggest upgrading your VPC 2004 to 2007 if you haven’t done so already, there’s lots of nice new features that make it worth the effort.)

Now you can grab the 2008 image. You will actually need two sets of files, the base image and the 2008 Beta 2 image. You can download the 2008 Beta 2 from

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=3b72271c-e996-4989-898d-72d684966ce6&DisplayLang=en

The download is in the form of 7 files, the first is an exe and the rest are rar files. Download all 7 to a folder and run the exe, and it will combine all 7 to create the virtual pc image.

Make sure to read all of the instructions on this page! The user ID and password to login to the virtual image, along with a link to the needed base image, are contained in the instructions!

Now you need the Orcas base image. If you read through the instructions you saw the link to the compressed file, right above the user id / password. Right click on the link and “Save As…” to the same folder where you saved the other items. Run it to uncompress the base image.

OK, in a folder you should now have OrcasBeta2_VSTS.vmc, OrcasBeta2_VSTS.vhd, Base01.vmc, and Base02.vhd. I also copied the user id and password from the above linked page and saved it in a text file called “Orcas Beta 2 user id and password.txt”, just so I could remember it easily.

When you login, it tells you that the password expries today, and asks if you wish to change it. I’ve always just said no, and it seems to work fine, but you are welcome to change it if you want.

When you shut down the Virtual PC, you will be prompted first for why you are shuting down. This is a Windows Server 2003 prompt, I just select “Other (Planned) under the option and put an ‘x’ for the comment. Once you do the OK button will be enabled.

Next, Virtual PC prompts you, to see if you want to commit your changes or abandon them. If you select “Commit changes to the virtual hard disk”, any changes you made will be saved and ready for next time. If you choose “Delete undo disk changes”, everything you did during that session will be lost forever.

Since it’s just a virtual image, I usually pick commit, but if you have really hosed things up you might want to know about the Delete option.

All of the software I’ve mentioned here is free, so there’s no reason why you can’t run this at home, even if you don’t have an MSDN subscription. Be warned, although Microsoft hasn’t specified a date I would think the image will expire not long after the release of the full Visual Studio 2008 product.

Using the virtual image will allow you to experiment with WPF, as well as the new 2008 features in a safe, risk free environment.

Note: If you want to use Visual Studio 2005 to write WPF (as well as other .Net 3.0 projects), I have documented the bits you need to download in this post:

https://arcanecode.wordpress.com/2007/08/20/installing-the-wpf-bits/

Fixing Ubuntu 7.04 Fiesty Fawn Mouse under Virtual PC 2007

Update: October 18, 2007 – Ubuntu 7.10 was released today, and I’ve now posted step by step instructions for installing it. If you haven’t yet installed Ubuntu, you may prefer to start with the instructions on 7.10, found here: https://arcanecode.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/installing-ubuntu-710-under-virtual-pc-2007/


OK, one of my readers “John” (thanks John!) shared a link to an unsupported patch that fixed the Ubuntu 7.04’s mouse under Virtual PC. Let me give you the quick summary of what I did:

  1. Fired up a new VirtualPC with the Fiesty Fawn “Live CD” in the drive. Booted up in safe graphics mode.
  2. Once up, I activated the keyboard mouse using the fix I described in my post “Ubuntu 7.04 and Virtual PC 2007 – Mouse Issue Workaround (sort of)” at http://shrinkster.com/p2u.
  3. I then installed Ubuntu, it was pretty straightforward although a bit annoying using the numeric keypad as a mouse. One hint, sometimes it didn’t recognize my mouse click until I moved the mouse off a button then back on.
  4. After the install I rebooted, then in my new install repeated step 2 to activate the keyboard mouse in my new install. Setting this in the Live CD didn’t carry over to the new install.
  5. I then opened firefox and went to the link John provided, https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux-source-2.6.20/+bug/87262/comments/13. Since that’s a lot of typing, I shrinksterized it to make it very easy to type, http://shrinkster.com/p2t.
  6. Joe Soroka has posted a script, I downloaded it using the “shell script” link at the very top of the message and saved it to my home folder.
  7. I opened my File Browser (use Left Alt+F1 select Places, Home Folder). I moved the mouse (again using the numeric keypad) and clicked once on the sh file I’d saved.
  8. Now in the browser, with the file highlighted, hit left alt+enter or select File, Properties on the File Browser menu.
  9. In the dialog that appears, move to the Permissions tab, and check on the box that says “Allow executing file as program”. Click the close button to close the dialog.
  10. Now double click the sh file or press enter. You should see a dialog appear that asks if you want to open in a text editor or run the script. Select the “run in terminal” option. (Update, added “in terminal” based on feedback.)
  11. While the script executes it will ask for your admin password, give it.
  12. At one point it will also stop to ask if you want to skip or configure grub manually, or let it do it for you. I pressed enter to let the script do it for me.
  13. That ended the app, when the terminal window closed I rebooted (still using the numeric keypad as my mouse).
  14. When Ubuntu came back up, it flashed a quick message from the grub asking which kernel I wanted to load, I just took the default.
  15. I logged in and what do you know, my mouse worked!

Just FYI, I’m running Virutal PC 2007 under Vista, using the standard desktop version of Ubuntu 7.04.

The real hero here is Joe Soroka for posting such a simple fix. I encourage you to give it a try. If you are concerned about messing up your Ubuntu install, simply copy the VHD/VPC files to a backup location before running the fix.

A big thanks to Joe Soroka, and to “John” for posting the link. Now I can actually start playing with Ubuntu 7.04.

Arcane Software: TouchCursor – For us keyboard geeks!

I hate to sound like an advertisement, but I recently found some software that absolutely rocks and I just have to share. I have to confess that I’m a “keyboard freak”. I hate having to take my hands off the keyboard, so much so that I bought a Lenovo keyboard with the touchpoint mouse cursor to use on my desktop, just like what you’d find on an IBM Thinkpad.

Now I’ve found some software that even further reduces the number of times I have to move my hands away from the home position to reach for those awkward keys, such as the cursor keys. It’s called TouchCursor, available at http://touchcursor.com.

What they do is use your space bar like another shift / ctrl / alt key. They then combine the space bar with the letter keys to emulate the odd keys like cursor, page up, etc. For example, space bar + I moves up one line. Space bar + K moves back down, space bar + J moves left, and so on. Here’s the default mapping (graphic courtesy of their site):

This is wonderful stuff, no longer do I have to move my hands off the “home” position to move the cursor around. And even better, the software is completely configurable. I can change the key combos to anything I want, and even add new ones.  It also works perfectly with existing key combos like ctrl, shift, and alt. For example, SHIFT + SPACEBAR + L is the same as SHIFT + RIGHT ARROW.

Now, you may think “well what if I have that odd program it doesn’t work right with?” No problem, the software allows you to turn off the functionality for specific applications. For example, I found it behaving a bit oddly with Virtual PC sessions (probably had something to do with both the guest and host OS wanting to look at the keyboard), so I disabled it for Virtual PC and just run it inside the VPC guest. Or you can take the reverse tactic, and only enable it for certain apps.

It really looks like they have thought of everything, all the little tweaks you might want to do with the software are available for you to do. I’ve been testing this with both Vista and XP and it works great on both platforms.

TouchCursor is shareware, you can download a copy and try it out for 30 days with no nag screens or any other crippling feature. The cost is only 20 US Dollars though, well worth the investment (I just sent in my 20!). For your money you get tech support, lifetime upgrades and permission to run on all of your computers. Not to mention the good feeling of helping out a worthwhile product. All that for 20 bucks? Count me in.

This is a really creative solution for increasing productivity at the keyboard. Rarely do I fall in love with a piece of code, but this product has made my very short list of “must have won’t operate a computer without it” software. I highly recommend trying it out, and using it for the full 30 days. It does take a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it you won’t want to operate a keyboard without it!

Standard disclaimer: I have no financial affiliation with Rare Pebble Software, the folks who make Touch Cursor, other than being a customer. I receive no consideration of any kind for this mention. I just think it’s some awesome software and wanted to share.

PS Sorry for no post yesterday, it was a business travel day and I got home much later than I anticipated.

Ubuntu 7.04 and Virtual PC 2007 – Mouse Issue Workaround (sort of)

Update: October 18, 2007 – Ubuntu 7.10 was released, the install for it is a bit more straight forward. If you haven’t installed 7.04 yet, I’d suggest giving 7.10 a try. Complete instructions here:
https://arcanecode.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/installing-ubuntu-710-under-virtual-pc-2007/


Update: A reader named John posted a link to a fix, see my post on May 17 (http://shrinkster.com/p2w) for full details. But keep reading this post, as you’ll need the info here to implement the fix. OK, thanks to a suggestion I saw on the Ubuntu forums, I found a workaround for the no mouse issue, of sorts. This won’t give you the mouse back, but it will let you use Ubuntu 7.04 using keyboard control.

First, let me take a second to explain what the issue is. There was a bug in the kernel code that affected many different distros of Linux. Apparently the kernel was not finding PS/2 style mice. Some work has been done and now most PS/2 style mice are now being found.

Except, sadly for the ones being emulated. Both VMWare and VirtualPC emulate a PS/2 style mouse, and are not getting found by the kernel. Remember, it doesn’t matter what type of mouse you have hooked up to the host box (I have two mice, a Logitech MediaPlay and Microsoft Travel mouse, both USB). It only matters what the virtual machine is telling the guest OS (Ubuntu), which is PS/2 style mouse.

OK, that explained let’s play with Ubuntu some. Fire up Virtual PC, then use the CD menu to either capture an ISO image or capture the CD Drive you have the Ubuntu Desktop disk in.

When the menu appears, select “Start Ubuntu in Safe Graphics Mode” by hitting the down arrow once and pressing Enter. If you fail to do this, you’ll get garbled graphics.

Once Ubuntu gets fully loaded, press the left ALT key plus F1 (Left ALT+F1, remember VPC takes over the right ALT). This should highlight the Applications menu. Press the right arrow twice to System, then down once to Preferences. Now press the right key once to get to Accessibility, then right again. Finally go down to Keyboard Accessibility and press ENTER.

[Picture of Ubuntu 7 menus]

When the Keyboard Accessibility Preferences window appears, you should already be on the “Enable keyboard accessibility features”. (You can tell you’re on it because of the little ‘dancing ants’ rectangle around it.) Just press the SPACE BAR to check this on, as you see below.

[Picture of Keyboard Accessibility window]

Now press the TAB key to get on the Basic tab. Press the RIGHT ARROW key twice to get the Mouse Keys highlighted.

[Picture of Keyboard Accessibility window]

Press TAB again to get to the “Enable Mouse Keys” and press the SPACE BAR to check it on. Now tab on down to the Close button and press ENTER.

What you just did was turn the numeric keypad into your mouse. When you press left (number 4 ), the mouse moves left, press the up arrow (number 8 ) mouse goes up, and so on. The angles work, pressing 7 (the home key on my keypad) moves up and to the left, for exampe. Finally, the number 5 key works as the mouse click.

One thing to be aware of, these only work with the numeric keys. It will not work with the standard arrow keys. Laptop owners with compact keyboards are in for a painful experience, you’ll have to hit NUMLOCK to activate the mouse, then turn Numlock off to be able to type letters again.

Well there you go, a way you can use Ubuntu 7.04 in Virtual PC 2007. Not the greatest solution, but might work for you until the kernel issue gets fixed.

I’d like to give credit where it’s due, in reading through the Ubuntu forums I saw someone suggest using keyboard accessibility to work around the no mouse issue. After playing with it some, I decided it was worth documenting and hence this post. I’d like to give credit but haven’t found the original post since then, so if someone happens to notice it in the forums please let me know so I can give credit for the idea to the original poster.

Ubuntu 7.04 and Virtual PC 2007 – No Mouse Issue

Update: October 18, 2007 – The new version of Ubuntu, 7.10 is now out. If you haven’t yet installed Ubuntu, I’d suggest using 7.10. I have step by step instructions at https://arcanecode.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/installing-ubuntu-710-under-virtual-pc-2007/


Last week the folks at Ubuntu released Fiesty Fawn, better known as version 7.04 of the Ubuntu OS. I had planned a new version of the “step by step” to detail how to install under VirtualPC 2007.

Sadly there seems to be a severe error that prevents 7.04 from running in Virtual PC. This error lies somewhere deep in the kernel, and affects the mouse. As you have discovered, Ubuntu won’t recognize the mouse when running inside VPC.

This was actually a much more serious error at first, Ubuntu and several other Linux distros had errors recognizing most PS/2 style mice, as you can see from this bug: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=223606

They have opened a new bug specifically for Virtual PC, which you can monitor here: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=234348. (Credit due alert: Thanks to Michael Wexler for first pointing out these links!).

I’ve spent quite a while trying various combinations, but thus far have found no easy solution or workaround to the problem. So for now, my advice is simple.

If you have an existing Ubuntu install under VPC, I recommend you NOT upgrade. You will lose your mouse for sure, and probably keyboard as well. If you want to experiment, start with a fresh virtual machine and go from there.

In the meantime, keep an eye on the second bug I listed. I’m hopeful there will be an update in the near future. At that point I’ll work up some step by step instructions, which should be pretty similar to the 6.06 instructions.

Update: (April 25th, 2007) – I found a work around (of sorts) that will let you use your numeric keypad as a mouse. Not the most pleasant experience, but it does work. See my post on the 25th ( http://shrinkster.com/ocx ) for full details.