beware vmware

Wed, Apr 29, 2009

I’ve been using VMware Fusion for ADSI development lately and it’s such a beautiful product. I’m running Windows XP Professional with Visual Studio, MSDN and ToirtoiseSVN for that full on Windows development experience. If you open Visual Studio in the virtual machine and choose Unity, it runs it on the Mac’s Desktop:

VMware Fusion Unity in action

I left it shutting down last night as Windows Update had 3 updates to install so I left it to it. This morning I came in to a black screen and no way to power the virtual machine back up. It was gone forever. Luckily I’d followed a plan of action when using Fusion.

Snapshot regularly

Once I’d set everything up and checked it was all working, compiling, running etc. I took a snapshot of the stable development environment. So I restored to that and got the virtual machine back up.

Commit regularly

Using TortoiseSVN I committed everything before shutting the machine down, so the mainline code was safe in the repository.

Store code in shared folders

Test code I was working on but hadn’t got round to committing was stored on a shared folder, i.e. it wasn’t locked in the virtual machine. It was stored on the Mac and accessed via a shared folder in the virtual machine. So when it black screened I could still get to the “lost” code.

So, dabbing my brow I rolled back to the snapshot and shut the machine down and it blew up installing updates. The problem was the updates. They were causing all sorts of mayhem with the virtual machine’s filesystem. There was no way to use Fusion with updates enabled. So I turned them off and it’s back to a lovely development environment again. Firewalled off of course but at least safe from Windows Update.

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