Problem with networking on Windows 7 guest

Discussions about using Windows guests in VirtualBox.

Problem with networking on Windows 7 guest

Postby francois.viljoen » 12. Jul 2010, 10:41

Hi everyone


I've been using VirtualBox for more than a year. I recently upgraded my host to Ubuntu 10.04 64-bit and guest to Windows 7 64-bit. I've now run into a problem that is making it impossible for me to work productively.


My Setup

VirtualBox: 3.2.6
Host: Ubuntu 10.04 64-bit
Guest: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Networking: Bridged with Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Desktop Adapter for the guest
Guest Network Adapter Driver: Intel v8.3.15.0 (2008/09/23)


Problem Description

Everything worked fine for about a week, but then my Windows 7 guest strangely started loosing it's network connection intermittently, sometimes after a few hours, sometimes every 5 minutes.

Everything will work fine for a while, and then suddenly the network in the guest will be gone. After the connection is lost I can't ping any computers on the Internet, or on my local network from the guest, and I also can't ping the guest from my host or other computers on my local network. The host network still functions fine - I can ping other computers in my local network and access the Internet.

A minute or two the guest network connection is lost, the network connection icon on the Windows 7 guest task-bar changes to contain a little yellow triangle with an exclamation mark in it.

If I right-click on this icon and select "Troubleshoot problems", a windows diagnostic tool runs and does various network tests (I assume), including resetting the adapter. It always finishes with a report of problems found, with the only problem listed as "The default gateway is not available", which it apparently fixed.

After this procedure the network will work fine again, for a while, until the problem repeats itself.


Fixes Tried

I've done a lot of searching on the Internet for a solution. It seems that this network connection loosing problem is common with many Windows 7 installations (not only as virtual machines), especially for systems using NVIDIA nForce network controllers. The fix for such systems is to upgrade the network drivers.

Since the network setup for Windows 7 in Virtual Box uses the Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Desktop Adapter I assume there may be a similar problem with the network drivers for that adapter in Windows 7. I've tried to upgrade the drivers, without success (I don't think a newer version is available than the one that ships with Windows 7).

I've also tried, without success:
- Disabling IPv6
- Disabling IPv4 Checksum Offload
- Disabling IPv4 TCP Checksum Offload
- Disabling IPv4 UDP Checksum Offload
- Disabling IPv4 Large Send Offload
- Disabling & uninstalling virus scanner
- Selecting a different network adapter in the VirtualBox setup - but no drivers are available for those adapters in Windows 7
- Rolling back to a prior version of VirtualBox (3.2.4)
- Rolling back to a backup of a my guest VDI that was made in the week when everything seemed to work without problems


Feedback Please

Is anyone else experiencing similar network issues with Windows 7 guests?

Has anyone found a solution to the problem?
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Re: Problem with networking on Windows 7 guest

Postby Sasquatch » 12. Jul 2010, 22:16

I don't have this issue when I fire up my W7 Guest. Things I would check is the VM log and the Event Viewer of W7 for any messages that could mention this. When it happens, check if all the IP configuration is still there in the Guest.

Is this VM on a corporate network, or at home? If it's at the corporate network, as the system administrator to assist to in finding the cause. He might have some security measures set up on the network that can cause this.
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Re: Problem with networking on Windows 7 guest

Postby francois.viljoen » 13. Jul 2010, 10:04

@Sasquatch


1. VM log:

Shows nothing meaningful, just some info about remapping a shared folder (I assume this happens when I disable/enable the network adapter to repair the problem).

23:49:30.813 SharedFolders host service: request to map folder temp
23:49:30.813 SharedFolders host service: map operation result VINF_SUCCESS.
23:49:30.813 Mapped to handle 0.
23:49:41.037 SharedFolders host service: request to unmap folder handle 0
23:49:41.037 SharedFolders host service: unmap operation result VINF_SUCCESS.
24:04:56.721 SharedFolders host service: request to map folder temp
24:04:56.721 SharedFolders host service: map operation result VINF_SUCCESS.
24:04:56.721 Mapped to handle 0.
24:05:07.009 SharedFolders host service: request to unmap folder handle 0
24:05:07.010 SharedFolders host service: unmap operation result VINF_SUCCESS.


2. W7 Event Viewer

Just some messages about DNS lookup timeouts.


3. Check if all the IP configuration is still there in the Guest:

When the problem occurs the output from an 'ipconfig' remains the same, i.e. it still shows the same host IP address, gateway, DHCP server, etc.


4. Is the machine on a corporate network?

Yes, and I've already asked the system admin for help, but he's just as clueless about why it happens as I am.


More information:

The problem seams to be specific to:
- Windows 7 guests (XP guests appear to work fine)
- Bridged network (NAT works fine)

We've managed to reproduce the problem on 3 separate Ubuntu hosts running Windows 7 guests in bridged network mode. When running with a NATted connection the problem doesn't seem to appear.
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Re: Problem with networking on Windows 7 guest

Postby jockox3 » 15. Jul 2010, 13:35

I've been seeing this issue for some time, or something very similar to it.

In fact, in my case, when the network is working I can get access to websites (such as this one) outside my university network, but if I try accessing sites inside the university network (even public facing ones) it times out.

It seems to receive a small amount of data, since if you actually stop the web page loading it displays what it has managed to fetch so far.

I'm sure about nine months ago we resolved it by changing emulated network cards from the PCNet to the Intel ones, but this no longer seems to help.

Here's hoping for some inspiration on this as I am just about out of the stuff!

Jock
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Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK
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Re: Problem with networking on Windows 7 guest

Postby francois.viljoen » 15. Jul 2010, 14:09

More information:

The problem is easy to reproduce.

I've managed to reproduce it using 3 separate Ubuntu 10.04 hosts.


To reproduce

1. Setup a 64-bit Ubuntu 10.04 host.
2. Create a 64-bit Windows 7 guest.
3. Configure the guest to use "bridged" networking, with the "Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Desktop Adapter" (this is your only real choice, no drivers available for the others).
4. Run the guest and use it to perform tasks that require networking.

Within an hour (usually within 10 minutes) the network will stop working on your guest.

At the moment when it happens, the guest CPU will spike and the system will become unresponsive for about 30 seconds. After that, you'll be able to use the guest system again, but you will not be able to access the network.


To temporarily restore the network

Reset the network interface.

The least painful way to do is is:
1. Start a command prompt session, with administrator privileges.
2. Use netsh to disable and then re-enable the network enterface:
Code: Select all   Expand viewCollapse view
netsh interface set interface "Local Area Connection" DISABLED
netsh interface set interface "Local Area Connection" ENABLED


This will restore your network temporarily, until the problem repeats itself.
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Re: Problem with networking on Windows 7 guest

Postby jockox3 » 15. Jul 2010, 15:37

francois.viljoen wrote:3. Configure the guest to use "bridged" networking, with the "Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Desktop Adapter" (this is your only real choice, no drivers available for the others).


I expect that bit is to do with being a 64-bit guest. On my 32-bit Windows 7 attempts there is a driver for the AMD card and both it and the Intel one display the same problems (now) - back in September/October 2009 I am sure it was only the AMD that displayed this problem and the fix was actually changing it to the Intel one. Now that does not seem to help.
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Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK
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Re: Problem with networking on Windows 7 guest

Postby rooiwillie » 21. Jul 2010, 11:17

Hey,


I am experiencing exactly the same problem with my VB setup. (Glad to see I'm not the only one suffering with this issue.)

I am also running Ubuntu (10.04) 64-bit with Guest Win-7 64-bit with its network being bridged. It seems to work better when running in NAT'ed mode. But due to my type of work I need it running in bridged mode.

It is causing me huge amounts of frustration. I got to restart my network connection constantly. Have you tried any other VM's perhaps?

I also have a 32-bit Win XP Guest which works fine, but I need my Win-7!


Thanks,
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Re: Problem with networking on Windows 7 guest

Postby fixedwheel » 21. Jul 2010, 12:08

francois.viljoen wrote:3. Configure the guest to use "bridged" networking, with the "Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Desktop Adapter" (this is your only real choice, no drivers available for the others).

hmm... what about virtio-net with driver from KVM?
the NetKVM.zip from http://www.linux-kvm.org/page/WindowsGu ... ad_Drivers has a directory /Install/Vista_Win2008_Win7/ ...

VBox manual wrote:For Windows 2000, XP and Vista, virtio drivers can be downloaded and installed from the KVM project web page.[24]
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Re: Problem with networking on Windows 7 guest

Postby francois.viljoen » 28. Jul 2010, 16:00

fixedwheel wrote:hmm... what about virtio-net with driver from KVM?
the NetKVM.zip from http://www.linux-kvm.org/page/WindowsGu ... ad_Drivers has a directory /Install/Vista_Win2008_Win7/ ...


@fixedwheel

Touch wood, but I think this did the trick.

I configured my 64-bit Windows 7 VirtualBox to use the virtio-net adapter and the driver from the link you gave.

I had to go through quite a process to get the drivers installed (you have to manually sign them, see: http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic127187.html ), but since that's done I haven't had any more network issues.

Thanks for the suggestion fixedwheel!!
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Re: Problem with networking on Windows 7 guest

Postby Lunatico » 29. Sep 2010, 14:32

@francois.vijoen

Can you give more detail on that driver installation please?

Where exactly (or how) do I download the drivers from?

From http://www.linux-kvm.org/page/WindowsGuestDrivers/Download_Drivers I then went http://git.kernel.org/?p=virt/kvm/kvm-guest-drivers-windows.git;a=summary and clicked snapshot on the top one. Is this it? I then extracted that and copied it over to the W7x64 guest.

So I enabled the virtio-net drivers on the VM, turned on the W7x64 and the device appears with yellow exclamation mark in Device Manager. If I go Properties -> Driver -> Driver Details, it says 'No driver files are required or have been loaded for this device'. If I try to 'Update Driver' and point it to the folder of the 'drivers' I downloaded it can't find driver files there.

Any help appreciated.
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