Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

This is for discussing general topics about how to use VirtualBox.

Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby SSCBrian » 2. Dec 2009, 18:11

I'm not using it on a Mac currently, but I have had occasion to want similar behaviour on Windows. I just run the VBox session windowed and make the window the size of the screen, minus the bar that it would be covering up. Haven't tried it on Mac (they can be kind of quirky, so maybe it's not as easy to deal with there), but on PC it's a very good way to do it.
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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby Sasquatch » 2. Dec 2009, 18:16

SSC, have you tried the windows key after releasing the keyboard from the VM? Doesn't that pop up the taskbar? And if you want to swap application, alt+tab :).
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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby SSCBrian » 2. Dec 2009, 18:28

Sasquatch wrote:SSC, have you tried the windows key after releasing the keyboard from the VM? Doesn't that pop up the taskbar? And if you want to swap application, alt+tab :).

1) I don't have a Windows key on my keyboard. :-)

2) Yes, alt-tab does indeed work, but I'm using the machine to develop for several systems at the same time and end up with enough windows open that finding the one I want via alt-tab is tedious. My monitor is a nice widescreen, so it's much faster to just poke the mouse at the appropriate one on the task bar...
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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby ptram » 2. Dec 2009, 21:11

Frankly, I preferred the previous behaviour. I use the Mac's top menu often while in Window, essentially because I'm working in a mixed environment made of both Mac and Windows applications. Nor the top menu bar, nor the Dock have been on the way, since it seems there were different ways/speeds to activate the one or the other.

If this can be included again as an option, I guess it would not make the UI clumsier, and would be very appreciated by many.

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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby ecterrab » 2. Dec 2009, 21:46

poetzsch: Thanks for your reply. I explained why this feature is useful for me; I think for various of VB & Mac host users. There may be a bit of repetition but let me explain furthermore. We (not all but various of us VB users) work in fullscreen. With VB as of before 3.1.0 I can _instantly_ access the most frequently used mac applications via menulets (mini icons in the menubar) without having to switch guest -> host nor to disturb my working desktop (remains fullscreen VB). Now when do you need that? Too frequently: I work full time developing mathematical software (facing similar design issues as you - our user base is university people, around 3 million around the world), and the time consumed via "go to not full screen, launch your mac application, return to the VB screen, make it full screen again" is not small, it disturbs the concentration and working focus in 3.1.0 if compared with the 3.0.12. In the menulets I even have a freeware menulet to renice all running applications, including VB. Second reason: before 3.1.0, hovering the top of the screen I can also see the dock and all its info that I consult frequently (number of unread emails, mac applications running, amount of memory available and how memory is being used, and some other info mac-conveyed visually via dock). And I can see all that just with a rapid movement of the hand (mouse on top, then remove the mouse from there to hide all the info again). Regardless of how this functionality got there, it makes "Mac & VB" to feel sleek, fast, very well integrated (just my experience). I note that we have a company license of VMWare and we (my team) all _prefer_ and so use VB, and this functionality removed from 3.1.0 is one of the main reasons. Otherwise I would not be writing these emails, you know how little time we all have.

Sasquatch: I am sad that you took my post as arrogant. As said I also work developing software, am actually team lead, and did my best to explain my point of view as opposed to just state things as absolute truths. Besides that, you ask "On Windows, do you see your taskbar when you have an app in full screen?" Please note the answer is yes, you see it when having it in auto-hide mode, as it was the menubar before 3.1.0. And while the mac menubar is in fact equivalent to the tray in the windows taskbar, you see all of it (tray included) when you hover the taskbar area to make it appear.

rpmurray: in my opinion you hit a point when recalling that generalizations can hide the path, not all mac users are the same.

Technologov (I): you interpreted the post more in the way I intended it "if some users like want it, this feature may be useful. (if optional)". That is all I asked: an option, noting that the original 'bug' report and its comments also asked for an option. Thanks for adding this as a wish (I actually added it yesterday, before you, as a 'suggestion')

Technologov (II): let me split the topics, I posted about other things. You ask about the crash - what crashes is Safari. When you check the experimental Direct X (my guest is running windows XP pro) and activate 3D (previous and also in 3.1.0) and now also 2D acceleration, then: in Safari within the guest (so Safari for windows), topsites is available to be in Safari's toolbar, and if you now add it there and click the corresponding icon in the toolbar, Safari crashes. There is no way to see topsites. I reproduced this in 3 macs running snow leopard, but also in leopard and in versions before 3.1.0. I recall that this problem does not happen within VMWare windows guests, so I understand it is not a "Safari for windows" problem. Less relevant: some games (my kid) also cannot run within VB, I guess that for the same reason that Safari crashes (I can obtain the precise info to reproduce this).

More comments on 3.1.0.
Branched Snapshots: indeed this is a very convenient feature in platforms that do not have OS TimeMachine.

Still in 3.1.0 I do not have found so far an easy way to transfer a file from the host to the VB guest (works fine with VMWare). Transferring host -> guest is relevant functionality regarding integration, in turn a high impact factor for VMs, I think.

Different but related: when you need to transfer files from the guest to the host (implemented) you currently wait a bit until the shared directories are available in windows IE (reported in other forums). But if instead I launch an FTP client on the guest and make it connect to the host, the connection (to the same shared folders) happens instantly, which makes me think that perhaps there is an implementation issue in VB that produces that delay?

In 3.1.0 pressing "Command H" does not hide the VB windows anymore no matter if in fullscreen or not (I tracked this yesterday).

Finally, in 3.1.0 it is still not entirely clear whether VB is or not using the two cores. In theory (I read the manual) yes it is. In practice, if I run one 'resources consuming' application, the guest is not as responsive to run another application as if I were running it in a boot camp partition (I can provide more details). I note that this happens even if I configure 2 CPUs in settings -> system -> processor, and regardless of whether I enable PAE/NX. This "two cores are working and multitasking is smoother" works fine in VMWare (old or new). Even so I prefer VB, it is visibly more responsive and flexible in various respects. My conclusion so far: I see the jump you mention and mainly look forward for a 3.1.x hopefully with an option to have the menubar _and_ the dock visible as in previous VBs. In my case that functionality is more relevant to upgrade VB than the _very_ regarded speed up due to the possibility in 3.1.0 of running the mac in 64 bit, faster.
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VirtualBox 3.1.0 Is An Improvement

Postby Erik_FL » 4. Dec 2009, 21:42

VirtualBox 3.1.0 is an improvement to 3.0.12. It seems to have fixed the Guru Meditation problems that I had on my AMD laptop running a Slackware Linux Guest. Version 3.0.12 fixed the problems that I had with using a bridged adapter on multiple VMs or multiple bridged adapters on the same VM. Those were the two problems causing me the most trouble so I am quite happy with 3.1.0 thus far.

I had one unexplained Linux Host system hang when restarting a Windows Vista Guest but that has not occurred again.

There are still a few issues that with VirtualBox 3.1.0 but they were issues in previous versions as well.

When shutting down a Windows 7 Guest I often get a message saying that there are applications still running. I have to tell Windows to close the application and then confirm that I really, really do want to close the application. This is mostly an annoyance when using seamless mode because it is not obvious that the dialog is there unless one switches to windowed mode. In seamless mode there is just a black bar in place of the task bar and the VM does not shut down. The problem may only happen when starting Windows 7 and then shutting it down almost immediately.

VirtualBox screen display does not work properly on a Linux host running KDE 4 with any desktop effects enabled, including opacity. Strangely, seamless mode seems to work the best. Windowed mode or full screen mode display colored rectangles rather than the contents of the Window (after switching windows or modes). When I first start up a VM the window looks OK, but as soon as I do anything requiring the window to be redrawn then it isn't displayed correctly. I can switch to seamless mode, and that does not initially display correctly until I click on the desktop background. Then seamless mode works correctly (so far as I can tell). Full screen mode never works correctly. When I do the same things using XFCE4 instead of KDE 4 they all work correctly, even with XFCE 4 set to use opacity.

If I sound like I'm complaining, I'm not. I'm very happy with the 3.1.0 release as it seems to have added some useful features without breaking the ones already there. In fact it fixed a few more bugs that were causing me a problem.

KDE 4 is a challenge for developers, since it is still changing and uses a different approach to desktop effects than GNOME. I hope that VirtualBox eventually works better with a KDE 4 host or guest. I can understand why that isn't the case right now. Since Slackware has KDE 4 instead of GNOME, perhaps Slackware would be a good distro for VirtualBox to look at. Slackware works with VirtualBox although VirtualBox doesn't have a specific package for Slackware. That might have to change to support KDE 4 but I really don't know. Slackware guests work fine, except for not supporting any of the 3D desktop effects. It's only a Slackware Host with KDE 4 that has display problems severe enough to make VirtualBox difficult to use.
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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby Technologov » 5. Dec 2009, 01:58

Specific issues that Erik mentions:
-Seamless mode with Windows 7 guests Bug #5655
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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby Etepetete » 5. Dec 2009, 11:02

My experience with 3.1.0 is mixed.

Accessing the shared folder from within my windows guest is much more responsive, i.e. barely a noticeable delay. I like this.

Doing the test with QtGears as posted here, I am experiencing a down grade of performance. My host is delivering ca. 30% less frames per second, and my guests are showing mixed performances. The guest which was a clone of my previous physical installation is showing about 48% less FPS and the other guest which is nothing more than a naked XP installation delivers ca. 50% less FPS. When running QtGears in the Host and in one guest at the same time performance in both is terrible and contrary to previously, not equal. The host retains a higher FPS. The host delivers ca. 40% less FPS and the guest hovers around 100 FPS. Also QtGears running in the clone displays with repeated stuttering, i.e. the cogs repeatedly just stop spinning. I have also noticed that when running QtGears in the host only and doing something in the Guest such as starting Spybot Search & Destroy, QtGears slows down tremendously in the host, to ca. 100 FPS. There is no change when 2d acceleration is activated or not. I even raised the amount of video RAM to 32 MB on the naked XP guest and didn't get any increase in performance. (The clone already has the maximum RAM allocated from since day 1.)

Snapshots work as they did with 3.0.12. Although booting up and shutting down the clone after making a snapshot takes over 4 minutes respectively. Normal boot-up time for the clone is less than a minute.
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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby pictonic3 » 6. Dec 2009, 12:44

I've just run up the the VB 3.1 installer on my Mac running OSX 10.4.11 and VB 3.0.12.
A message says that virtualbox 3.1 is only supported on OSX 10.5 and later.
Is this game over for 10.4 or will VB 3.1 eventually run on OSX 10.4?
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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby Technologov » 6. Dec 2009, 12:55

Open a bug report, or the game may be over.
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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby ingo2 » 6. Dec 2009, 21:42

For me 3.1.0 is really a great improvement. Two things are worth to mention:

1. branching snaphots - really great, a long wanted feature!

2. native support for Parallels *.hdd - VBox now cannot only read or convert such images, it can write them and use them transparently read+write! This allows me for installing 'nasty systems' like some flavours of OS2/eCS on ancient Parallels 2.2 and then just move them to VBox to work with them. (for that purpose I keep a 16GB partition with 32-bit Linux and PW2.2 ;-)

So from me CONGRATULATIONS to the VBox (or Innotek?) Team.

One question is remaining:
Do I have to merge existing snapshots from VBox <3.1.0 before upgrading, to make use of branching?
Amazingly in Debian-Lenny (amd64) there came no notification about 'new version available', neither when starting VBox, nor when doing 'apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade' (I have added the VBox repository)

Thanks for that release,
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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby pizzacake » 7. Dec 2009, 13:39

I also support having a preference for Mac OS X hosts to show the menu bar when in full screen, it was very convenient.

I've found the 3.1.0 release to have broken a few things for me when running XP. (I did update virtualbox additions in safe mode)
• shared folders, folders on my Mac OS X drive are now seen as files and XP won't open them
• using direct x dialog dxdiag 3d acceleration for dx 7,8,9 is broken. in 3.0.12 dx 8,9 passed.
• 2d acceleration enabled, I get a non optimal settings warning

The really important feature for me is the shared folders as I can edit the same files on the host and in the virtual machine without having to duplicate any files.

I just need to figure how to revert back to 3.0.12 now which was working perfectly for me.
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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby stkris » 7. Dec 2009, 15:23

ingo2 wrote:Amazingly in Debian-Lenny (amd64) there came no notification about 'new version available', neither when starting VBox, nor when doing 'apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade' (I have added the VBox repository)

On Debian it only update automagically when the third number in the version is updated. For me it's been like that since I started using VirtualBox. And I think it is good since major updates is best handled manually when you have time to fix any incompatibilities. :)
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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby dineshj » 8. Dec 2009, 10:11

I tested and worked with branched snapshots with windows 2008 virtualmachine.
Steps are available here at http://virtualization.sysprobs.com/branched-snapshots-virtualbox
Let me know the problems you face with branched snapshots
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Re: Discuss VirtualBox 3.1.0 release

Postby comascape » 8. Dec 2009, 15:38

I think that having both the OSX dock and the virtualbox bar competing is very annoying and it should be off for that situation. I will however state that it is the only problem I have with this release. Having it be turned off is great when you are using only one screen. I have a separate monitor that is dedicated to my virtualbox machine and if I select it it weirds out my laptop screen. This gets very annoying when I am busy working between the two. Having this as an option but maybe defaulted to autohide would be the best choice for someone in the environment I work in. I am almost ready to downgrade to the last release because of how annoying this has gotten. Other than that everything is spot-on and I use it regularly everyday.
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