VirtualBox 6.1 test builds with audio changes

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VirtualBox 6.1 test builds with audio changes

Postby klaus » 9. Jun 2021, 19:44

Since yesterday there are VirtualBox 6.1.x builds on the VirtualBox test build page, with revision 145004 and later (get whatever the page shows, the builds are replaced from time to time).

Everyone is encouraged to test and provide feedback about the build. It is planned to have this change in the next VirtualBox release, i.e. 6.1.24.

The changes are really large scale, affecting the audio device emulations visible to the VM, the generic audio stream handling and the host-specific interfacing to the audio system. Make sure that your feedback clearly describes your use case, ideally providing VBox.log a usual, but at least stating the host and guest OS together with the configured audio device. Initially it will also be useful if we get positive feedback as well, i.e. what is working perfectly.

Many thanks for your help with improving VirtualBox.
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Re: VirtualBox 6.1 test builds with audio changes

Postby mpack » 10. Jun 2021, 10:30

Hmm. I'm afraid that something seems quite wrong with the test build I just tried (VirtualBox-6.1.23-145004-Win). I never got as far as trying any audio, because none of my VMs will start. I tried the suggestions in the error dialog (sc.exe, and rebooting), but I didn't expect it to help, and it didn't. It looks like the test build makes some kind of assumption about my host that isn't fulfilled.

I checked my logs, but only the hardening log had been created (all other logs were older), so it looks like it never got to the stage of creating the VM log. The hardening log has essentially the same error message.

Thankfully, reverting to 6.1.22 got my VMs running again.
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Re: VirtualBox 6.1 test builds with audio changes

Postby fth0 » 10. Jun 2021, 11:25

One of the VirtualBox users, who previously had a diversity of audio-related issues (Initial problem description), reported that the VirtualBox test build works very well for them so far (VirtualBox 6.1.23.145004 test feedback).
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Re: VirtualBox 6.1 test builds with audio changes

Postby fth0 » 10. Jun 2021, 11:37

mpack wrote:I tried the suggestions in the error dialog (sc.exe, and rebooting)

What was the output of sc.exe query vboxdrv ? Did you check the state of the VBoxDrv service before and after the reboot?

Does your host use UEFI Secure Boot, and if so, did you keep it disabled?
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Re: VirtualBox 6.1 test builds with audio changes

Postby klaus » 10. Jun 2021, 13:19

Right, mpack's problem could be immediately explained with having UEFI Secure Boot enabled... it's stated on the test build page that we skip the attestation signing step for those builds (because it needs manual work and usually quite significant waiting time).
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Re: VirtualBox 6.1 test builds with audio changes

Postby mpack » 10. Jun 2021, 13:38

fth0 wrote:What was the output of sc.exe query vboxdrv ?

The service was stopped, and rebooting the PC did not start it.

klaus wrote:mpack's problem could be immediately explained with having UEFI Secure Boot enabled.

Correct. I just checked in System Information on my Win10 host, and UEFI Secure Boot is indeed enabled. I've never enabled it, so I guess it's the default on my HP desktop PC. I'll do some research to find out the consequences of disabling it to confirm that this is the problem.

Incidentally: I've seen very similar error messages reported before, and I don't recall ever seeing it satisfactorally explained. Apparantly it indicates a signing problem with the drivers? E.g. so it could be an unsigned test build as here, or some kind of certs database problem on the host. This is useful info.
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Re: VirtualBox 6.1 test builds with audio changes

Postby mpack » 10. Jun 2021, 14:00

OK, UEFI secure boot is now disabled. I reasoned that I lived without it for the decades before Win10 (I never used Win8), so I can probably live without it now.

And I confirm that my VMs now start with 6.1.23.

I admit that I'm surprised that secure boot has any effect except when booting the host OS. But given that I ignored the feature entirely until it bit me, I guess I can't be surprised at not predicting its behaviour.

I can also confirm that I'm so far unable to induce the continuous echo effect of recent VirtualBox builds. I tried letting YouTube videos play to completion, and also jumping around the timeline to provoke glitches. Nada. I also feel like the audio tone is better, but that's probably just placebo effect.
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Re: VirtualBox 6.1 test builds with audio changes

Postby klaus » 10. Jun 2021, 14:07

With new PCs it's usually enabled by default. And unless someone really wants to do something evil the general 64-bit Windows requirement (since the XP days) of having signed drivers is OK, too. The signature needs to be done with a cert issued by a trusted entity (which someone evil could inject, but it'd be visible in the Certificate Management).

Attestation signing adds another signature directly by Microsoft, and with Secure Boot enabled Windows 10 insists on having this one.
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Re: VirtualBox 6.1 test builds with audio changes

Postby fth0 » 10. Jun 2021, 17:01

mpack wrote:Incidentally: I've seen very similar error messages reported before, and I don't recall ever seeing it satisfactorally explained. Apparantly it indicates a signing problem with the drivers? E.g. so it could be an unsigned test build as here, or some kind of certs database problem on the host. This is useful info.

The -101 error must not be signing-related:

There is a long thread with detailed discussions and very long postings (one single posting spanning nearly 4 pages on my 5k Retina display, and it wasn't written by me ;)), which discusses the starting of VBoxDrv.sys in the presence of (so-called) security software and the resulting VirtualBox Hardening errors -104 and -101 (Hardening Fix (workaround) For Error After Install and Restart). To sum it up from my POV, some security software required starting VBoxDrv.sys on demand to circumvent the -104 error, and this resulted in the -101 error sometimes, which required starting VBoxDrv.sys manually to circumvent it. VirtualBox (release) version 5.2.30 was used in the latter case.
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Re: VirtualBox 6.1 test builds with audio changes

Postby arQon » 25. Jun 2021, 08:34

Well, at a minimum, 145004 seems to have fixed the bugs with Windows hosts locking up any time the audio device list changes (e.g. by un/plugging headphones), so that's welcome progress.

There are some less common cases that I haven't had the opportunity to test, but they're similar enough to that most basic test that I expect the same fix will have resolved them as well. I'll try to get check over the weekend, but time is tight ATM.
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