Windows XP Guest on Windows 10 Host - Crashing VDI on uSD

Discussions about using Windows guests in VirtualBox.

Windows XP Guest on Windows 10 Host - Crashing VDI on uSD

Postby JonathanT » 13. Nov 2017, 15:13

Hi.

Not sure if this should go in Windows Hosts or Windows Guests, but I guess it relates to both.

I recently purchased a Surface Pro4 for running my automotive diagnostic tools, and as you guys will no doubt be aware it runs Windows 10. Most of my diagnostic software is quite old and only runs on XP. As I ended up buying the SP4 with only 128GB SSD (rather than the 256GB model - stupid me!) I have ran out of space rather quickly. I have to have a VDI for each application (most of them are Java based and use a local web server as a back-end for the program and as such you cant run more than 1 on a single guest).

In order to get around this limitation I purchased a high end Samsung 256GB uSD to store my files and VDI's on. This worked great to start with on the smaller VDI's, but now I am experience random crashes (on one particular VM which is a quite hefty 12GB). I have checked through the logs and they all related to bad sector errors. I have duplicates of the VDI's for all of them saved on the SD card that are not 'live versions' so I just remove them from storage, overwrite the file and add it back to the VM.

I couldn't figure it out for a while but then I randomly copied one back to the SSD on the SP4 and its running flawlessly - which is how I realised what was going on.

I know that using a uSD for high transfer rates and a lot of disk access isn't really the proper way of doing this, but as I am running out of space I couldn't see any other way of doing it. I could use a USB3 Ext HDD for the VDI but then Ive lost my wire-free handheld use of the SP4 and am liable to pull the cable out whilst I'm working, which would not be great, especially if I'm mid way through an ECM flash - that being said as it is now with the VDI on the uSD I wouldn't trust it with an ECM flash anyway!

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can fix this? I had thought about writing a python script and using vboxmanage to copy each VDI off the uSD to the SSD each time I load a VM and then dump it back on each shutdown. Running it on start up is no issue as I can simply use a command-line to start VBox after the copy, but how can I tell when the VM has shut down?

Or is there a simpler way that I'm not thinking about / realised?

Thanks
JonathanT
 
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Re: Windows XP Guest on Windows 10 Host - Crashing VDI on uSD

Postby mpack » 13. Nov 2017, 20:12

Moving this to "Windows Guests".

JonathanT wrote:Not sure if this should go in Windows Hosts or Windows Guests, but I guess it relates to both.

Not really. I don't see that your question would be changed at all if you had (say) an Ubuntu host, meaning that the discussion belongs in "Windows Guests" or "Using VirtualBox". I favor the former, since the choice of guest (i.e. one that doesn't understand SSD) may have a bearing on the discussion.

Have you gone through XP's settings and eliminated most sources of background disk writes? I.e. disk indexing, etc. Disabling the page file might help as well.

AFAIK SD, like other basic NAND flash devices, are not designed to handle continuous rewriting. They work best in applications where occasional data is written once until the card is full. I would have gone with an external USB3 SSD, not a SD reader.
mpack
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Re: Windows XP Guest on Windows 10 Host - Crashing VDI on uSD

Postby JonathanT » 14. Nov 2017, 00:35

Hey.

Thanks for the move.

I hadn't thought about pagefile. I had removed the search index.

The only reason I used the uSD was because the SP4 has one built into it, and with only 1 USB port would mean that to use an external drive and diagnostic device I would also then need a hub too..

I will try the pagefile and see what it does. It seems to make it about 90% of the way through an application install then fail so it could well be pagefile!
JonathanT
 
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Re: Windows XP Guest on Windows 10 Host - Crashing VDI on uSD

Postby mpack » 14. Nov 2017, 10:28

The suggestion to disable the pagefile was about reducing disk activity, to reduce the risk of quick damage to a new card. It was not intended to be a fix for existing bad sectors. AFAIK there's only one fix for that - new media. I realize that the card is expensive, but that doesn't really change the facts.
mpack
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