Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

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Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby JeromeC » 8. May 2021, 18:56

Hi

I have installed recently a windows 10 OEM ISO (that I bought) on my iMac with latest version of VB.

All was going more or less OK (sometimes it would crash) but today it couldn't resume from saved stated and now I can't boot it anymore, it goes in repair mode (image mode) and I can't do anything.

Image

I try to boot that VM from the ISO again but it will fail.

I try to reinstall a fresh new VM from the ISO and it won't start anymore (image 2).

Stopping / restarting VB, same problem.

What can I do ?

Thanks for your help.



Edit : for some reason the images were inverted with their description, the blue one is the initial error (the detail error is varying with different files being referred to, but the result is the same) and the "funny" one with green squares is whenever I try to boot on the ISO, from the initial VM (hoping for a windows repair tool) or a new one where I try to install again in a new VM, exactly the same way as I did for the initial installation from that same ISO.
Attachments
Windows 10-2021-05-08-18-33-58.log.zip
LOG of initial VM not booting
(35.51 KiB) Downloaded 5 times
Capture d’écran 2021-05-08 à 18.37.37.jpg
1st error
Capture d’écran 2021-05-08 à 18.37.37.jpg (98.13 KiB) Viewed 1255 times
Capture d’écran 2021-05-08 à 18.32.11.jpg
Trying to boot on ISO
Capture d’écran 2021-05-08 à 18.32.11.jpg (105.28 KiB) Viewed 1255 times
JeromeC
 
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby mpack » 9. May 2021, 13:09

I'm afraid that the log you provided is not very useful. It only shows the VM booting from an ISO and then being shut down again with no errors reported.

Your allocation of 8 cores to a VM seems excessive and likely to slow thing down. The norm is two cores unless the VM is CPU bound.

You say that you tried to create a fresh new VM, but it fact it looks like you tried to boot the same VM, otherwise it would not have gone to a recovery mode.

I'm struggling to imagine what has happened here: corruption of the VDI in practice always causes a VirtualBox error, not a guest boot error. Did you recently update VirtualBox while you had VMs in saved states? I personally do not use saved states because of the danger that this could happen, and in any case in the modern era of SSDs I don't believe that a saved state feature is really needed.
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby JeromeC » 9. May 2021, 15:59

Thanks a lot for your answer. Let me try to give you more details.

1. I'm lost with VB log management, I was absolutely not sure about "what is the log I'm providing", I have that tab with 4 logs where I don't see any clear date / hour (only like "starting from midnight") except a "slightly different date/time" on top in each of the 4, and I don't know why 4, which one is really the most recent ==> how can I do a new attempt and provide you *the good log* corresponding to *that* attempt ?

2. yes I put 8 cores for a very specific reason : I (want to) use that VB in order to start a boinc instance with the same core number has a windows PC where boinc cannot communicate with internet (pro machine / restrictive pro proxy) and I sync the content of boinc directory between that machine and the VM (where I get work to be calculated). So the use of the VM is only intermittent, and the host Mac has 20 cores + 40 MB RAM so I assumed "it should be able to handle it". But I could also consider "install with 2" and then once working increase it in the VM setup, but I've been using it with the 8 cores, as long as it worked.

3. I think I didn't provide the log for the installation attempt, attached is *what I think is the log for it but I'm not sure" : there are 2 in the log tab, starting from the same "date / time" written on top of each log (very strange for me) and I'm not sure which one is saved when I use the "log save menu"

4. I was using the save to disk feature because on my previous iMac (early '10's) I was using much more heavily a windows VM and was used to save to disk and it was quite reliable (and also I agree that I had no SSD), but now that I see "it is risky" I probably won't try again (if I ever can fix, or reinstall, this VM)
Attachments
Windows 10-2-2021-05-08-18-38-55.log.zip
(18.93 KiB) Downloaded 4 times
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby mpack » 10. May 2021, 09:30

I'm sorry to say that the new log is even less useful than the previous one. It is still booting from CD, but this time the log has been copied while VirtualBox was still running, and therefore still had the file opened for writing, and half of was still in cache. You need to ensure that the VM is fully closed down and all files closed and flushed to disk before copying any of them.

The 4 log files are the logs of the last 4 VM run sessions. At the start of a new session the oldest log is deleted and a new one created. I agree that the presentation of these logs is not very good in the UI. If you look instead in the "<userpath>/VirtualBox VMs/Windows 10-2/Logs" subfolder, you can see the log files and sort them by their date/time stamp. The correct log will be one from a session that exhibited the problem you want to ask about. You can also tell the order by the filename: "VBox.log" is from the most recent session. "VBox.log.1" is from the session before that. And so on.

Incidentally, your CPU has 10 cores, not 20. 20 is the number of threads, but we weren't talking about threads. Assigning 8 cores to the VM is giving it 80% of your silicon, that's why I commented on it.
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby JeromeC » 10. May 2021, 12:41

Hi

I have

- found and deleted the existing logs in the log folders for each VM
- changed the initial (faulty) VM with 2 cores and no CD boot, tried to run it, attached the 1st log ("inivial VM")
- changed the new VM with 2 cores and CD ISO boot (to try to start new install), it failed, attached the 2nd log ("new VM")

I know that core <> thread, but I need to have 8 thread visible from within the VM and I don't know how to achieve that if there is no "thread setup" in the VM config, only "core setup". But for the test I has put 2 cores.
Attachments
Windows 10-2-2021-05-10-12-35-34 (new VM).log.zip
New VM
(18.61 KiB) Downloaded 3 times
Windows 10-2021-05-10-12-34-00 (initial VM).log.zip
Initial VM
(29.55 KiB) Downloaded 4 times
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby mpack » 10. May 2021, 13:32

The "new VM" log has again been truncated by copying while still open, as you can clearly see from the size. Please explain how this happened. Are you following the instructions I gave above (twice) about making sure the VM was closed down? Still displaying an error message is not closed down.

I'm seeing a couple of warnings being reported by the "initial VM" log.
00:00:10.668709 PGMR3PhysAllocateLargePage: allocating large pages takes too long (last attempt 1444 ms; nr of timeouts 3); DISABLE
...
00:00:37.355251 AIOMgr: Host limits number of active IO requests to 16. Expect a performance impact.

I think the second of this is caused by disabling host I/O caching in the VM settings. I would change that.

As to the second one, I have no idea. Perhaps you should run a memory test on this host. I assume you are not doing anything that might exhaust available memory, such as launching several VMs at the same time.
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby JeromeC » 10. May 2021, 14:21

The window of the 2nd did "close" by itself, but I can see that the status is "aborted", and not "switched off" (like the 1st one), I don't know how to "switch it off" I have no action button apart to start it again...

If I look into the log window displayed in VB app itself, the very last rows I can see are

00:00:06.734571 PIT: mode=2 count=0x10000 (65536) - 18.20 Hz (ch=0)
00:00:06.735198 VMMDev: Guest Log: BIOS: Boot : bseqnr=1, bootseq=0023
00:00:06.737055 VMMDev: Guest Log: BIOS: Booting from CD-ROM...
00:00:06.789641 Display::i_handleDisplayResize: uScreenId=0 pvVRAM=0000000000000000 w=720 h=400 bpp=0 cbLine=0x0 flags=0x0 origin=0,0
00:00:07.063850 Display::i_handleDisplayResize: uScreenId=0 pvVRAM=000000017a1ec000 w=1024 h=768 bpp=24 cbLine=0xC00 flags=0x0 origin=0,0
00:00:07.099477 Display::i_handleDisplayResize: uScreenId=0 pvVRAM=0000000000000000 w=720 h=400 bpp=0 cbLine=0x0 flags=0x0 origin=0,0
00:00:17.554400 Display::i_handleDisplayResize: uScreenId=0 pvVRAM=000000017a1ec000 w=1024 h=768 bpp=24 cbLine=0xC00 flags=0x0 origin=0,0


and are the exact same rows that I can see at the end of the log file itself.


I didn't change any IO parameter and I have let all by default, I'm not sure what is the "IO caching", I use a French version of VB, I only see a "activate IO APIC" (checked) in the system tab and in the disk tab there is a "use IO cache of the host" that is unchecked under the "SATA controler" attributes (other attributes are "AHCI" and 2 ports), I didn't uncheck this but I can check it. (it is unchecked in the 2 VM config = default)


I have 40 GB on my Mac, at least 20 GB are free and not I have no other VM running at the same time. Memory is fine and I have no other issues of stability or whatsoever on my (only) personal machine that I used everyday.
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby fth0 » 10. May 2021, 16:45

JeromeC wrote:I have that tab with 4 logs where I don't see any clear date / hour (only like "starting from midnight") except a "slightly different date/time" on top in each of the 4

You can look at the 2nd line of each VBox.log file to see when you started the VM (in UTC).

Regarding the core/thread subtopic, you're doing the right thing: Test now with 2 vCPUs, and use 8 vCPUs later on. To the guest OS it will look like an 8 core CPU without hyperthreading, and VirtualBox will simply run 8 OS threads on the host OS.

Regarding the VMs not booting, I'll write a separate technical post later on. Just two questions: Does the problem also occur when you power down the host, power it up again and run the VM? Does the ISO file contain Windows 10 20H2 64-bit, as the name suggests, or could it be a 32-bit version?
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby fth0 » 10. May 2021, 18:52

fth0's VBox.log file wrote:
00:04:26.296561 Guest CPUM (VCPU 0) state: 
00:04:26.296568 rip=fffff8036eff2aef rsp=fffff8037286d6b8 rbp=0000000000000000 iopl=0 nv up ei nt zr na po nc
00:04:26.296574 cr0=0000000080050031 cr2=0000014703316dc4 cr3=00000000001aa002 cr4=0000000000070678

00:04:26.296617 Guest paging mode (VCPU #0): AMD64+NX (changed 38153 times), A20 enabled (changed 2 times)

00:04:26.331521 /IEM/CPU0/cInstructions 287793 count
00:04:26.333225 /PROF/CPU0/EM/RecordedExits 5769765 times

These log messages are from (one of) my own Windows 10 VMs, which has been shut down after running for 4+ minutes. vCPU0 was in 64-bit long mode with paging enabled (CR0 bit 31 == PG == 1).

Windows 10-2021-05-10-12-34-00.log file wrote:
00:00:40.731659 Guest CPUM (VCPU 0) state: 
00:00:40.731663 eip=000009c7 esp=00001460 ebp=00000000 iopl=0 nv up ei pl nz na po nc
00:00:40.731672 gs={0000 base=0000000000000000 limit=0000ffff flags=00000093} cr0=00000010 cr2=00000000

00:00:40.731731 Guest paging mode (VCPU #0): Real (changed 5947493 times), A20 enabled (changed 2 times)

00:00:40.745361 /IEM/CPU0/cInstructions 10566 count
00:00:40.747696 /PROF/CPU0/EM/RecordedExits 13245670 times

These log messages are from your initial VM, which has been shut down after running for 30+ seconds. vCPU0 was currently in real mode (or in 32-bit protected mode in one of the other log files) with paging disabled (CR0 bit 31 == PG == 0), with an extraordinary large number of mode changes and VM-Exits. This is a strange combination that I haven't seen before ...
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby JeromeC » 10. May 2021, 19:31

fth0 wrote:
JeromeC wrote:I have that tab with 4 logs where I don't see any clear date / hour (only like "starting from midnight") except a "slightly different date/time" on top in each of the 4

You can look at the 2nd line of each VBox.log file to see when you started the VM (in UTC).

OK I get it. For the latest test I deleted them all and restarted the 2 tests as detailed above.

Regarding the core/thread subtopic, you're doing the right thing: Test now with 2 vCPUs, and use 8 vCPUs later on. To the guest OS it will look like an 8 core CPU without hyperthreading, and VirtualBox will simply run 8 OS threads on the host OS.

Not sure to understand how I will do to have 8 thread available in the VM but I'll ask again if it ever work again.

Regarding the VMs not booting, I'll write a separate technical post later on.
Just two questions:
1. Does the problem also occur when you power down the host, power it up again and run the VM?

The problem started after I had "saved to disk" when exiting the VM, and the VM wouldn't start again the next day, and I have never been able to start it again.

2. Does the ISO file contain Windows 10 20H2 64-bit, as the name suggests, or could it be a 32-bit version?

It is a 64 bits ISO and I only downloaded this one from the windows servers = the 1st VM was installed from there, and I'm trying to install the 2nd from the same ISO. This is why it is so utterly strange that I can't even start the install again now... I even wonder if I should not try to download again the 6.27 GB file from MS, but then both event happening at the same time (1st VM dead + cannot reinstall fresh) seem very strange to me... should not I install VB itself again ?
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby fth0 » 10. May 2021, 20:27

JeromeC wrote:The problem started after I had "saved to disk" when exiting the VM, and the VM wouldn't start again the next day

Were there any host OS or software updates during this short period of time?

JeromeC wrote:I even wonder if I should not try to download again the 6.27 GB file from MS

Do you have any other ISO for any other OS you could try? I wouldn't be sure if the contents of the ISO file matter at all (as long as it is a bootable CD/DVD image) ...

JeromeC wrote:should not I install VB itself again ?

You can uninstall VirtualBox (your VMs will be kept), reboot the host, rename/move the VirtualBox global configuration folder (/Users/<username>/Library/VirtualBox), install VirtualBox anew, reboot the host, start the VirtualBox Manager, and add the VM(s) again.
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby JeromeC » 11. May 2021, 19:48

This is crazy.

I

- uninstalled completely VB (following that procedure)
- rebooted
- reinstalled VB + accepted an upgrade just after install (6.1.22 now)
- downloaded a new ISO from MS official download site (Win10_20H2_v2_French_x64(1).iso the (1) because there are 2 in the download folder)
- created a new windows VM, setup with 2 cores and 4 GB ram, carefully chose the new ISO to boot on it
- booted it : at first I have the windows logo and the small dots going round, and then... green squares, error message, it said "we are going to reboot it for you... it didn't, I shut it down (with the VB option to shut down then closing the dead window)

Attached is the log (I called the VM "windows 10-2b").

AFAIK I didn't have any update of macOS.

I have another linux VB and still the ISO for it : I setup a new VM just to launch the install on the same ISO, the install process is starting fine, I didn't try to run it all (I thought it was enough for a test).
However I also opened the existing debian VM, and now problems also ! I can't start it anymore !!!! log attached...

I'm starting to think that VB doesn't like me :/
Attachments
VBox.log-DEBIAN.zip
(40.49 KiB) Downloaded 4 times
VBox.log.zip
(30.59 KiB) Downloaded 4 times
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby fth0 » 12. May 2021, 01:27

JeromeC wrote:I'm starting to think that VB doesn't like me :/

I'm starting to think that VirtualBox maybe doesn't like your Intel 10th gen host CPU. There are several other users sharing a common, yet unsolved problem involving a special setup, which is totally different from yours, but looks like an incompatibility between VirtualBox and Intel 10th/11th gen CPUs.

Your new VBox.log files show different behaviors than the previous ones, but I cannot really grasp the problem. The Windows run implies that the ISO image contains a damaged Windows executable. If you still have both Windows ISO images, can you please compare them (e.g. shasum -a 256 Win*.iso)? If both images have the same checksum, reboot the host and run a VM with one of the images three times, and provide a zip file containing the three VBox.log files. I'd like to see a few different outcomes from the same experiment.
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby JeromeC » 13. May 2021, 12:12

I could initially install and run both the linux and the windows VM, it was working. And then all is starting to fail... so how this incompatibility would only happen "after some time", considering I didn't have any macOS upgrade in the interval ?

The last log I shared was the one done with the linux machine.

The checksum are the same
768638760180cac5a38bbf91638ad58479ffce0fd310abe3e428b92d0ecc715c Win10_20H2_v2_French_x64(1).iso
768638760180cac5a38bbf91638ad58479ffce0fd310abe3e428b92d0ecc715c Win10_20H2_v2_French_x64.iso


I have ran 3 times the windows 10-2b VM linked to the 2nd ISO, stop VB completely each time after the failure, compress the log and the screenshot I took during the process, delete them and start again, 3 times.

The behaviour was quite different each time ! first time I even had a direct VB error message (I didn't have time to take a screenshot before it closed automatically, it said something like "critical error") that didn't appear in the 2 other attempts.

Each of the 3 zip are too big for the (tiny) limit of the direct download of this forum :

https://www.casimages.com/f/QkiyONiKJVb
https://www.casimages.com/f/ONuqqrjKJVb
https://www.casimages.com/f/S3pjhDjKJVb
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Re: Windows 10 + impossible to reinstall or repair

Postby fth0 » 13. May 2021, 16:01

JeromeC wrote:All was going more or less OK (sometimes it would crash) but today it couldn't resume from saved stated and now I can't boot it anymore, it goes in repair mode (image mode) and I can't do anything.

JeromeC wrote:I could initially install and run both the linux and the windows VM, it was working. And then all is starting to fail... so how this incompatibility would only happen "after some time", considering I didn't have any macOS upgrade in the interval ?

I cannot really answer that, but it's a very interesting detail that you were able to run the same VMs in the past. This is different from the issues involving Linux hosts (*). What did you mean with "sometimes it would crash" in your initial post? Perhaps it's not so different after all ...

JeromeC wrote:The behaviour was quite different each time !

Thanks for doing the experiments. On the low level, the behavior was also quite different, ranging from VirtualBox having had difficulties acquiring host memory (of which plenty was available) to a diversity of Windows kernel crashes (BSODs) in the guest. All in all they fit my current theory. I suspect the problem to be in the area of CPU and/or memory handling, with a preference to the CPU handling of VirtualBox.

I'm not sure how to proceed. The easiest possibility would be to wait for a solution to the issues involving Linux hosts. Another possibility would be to do lots of further experiments in the hope that one of those helps to pinpoint the real cause. Yet another possibility would be to do Windows kernel debugging. Each of those possibilities will possibly take weeks ...

(*) Just in case you're interested: 20180
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