Scott Hanselman

Vista 64-bit Blue Screens with INTERNAL_POWER_ERROR Immediately After Installing VMWare Player

May 21, 2008 Comment on this post [29] Posted in Bugs | Musings
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I hope this helps someone because it totally freaked me out this evening. I rebooted this evening, the first reboot since March, in fact, and blue-screened (BSOD) upon startup. At this point I was in a blue screen "loop" with the ominous message "INTERNAL_POWER_ERROR" on the blue screen. I started cussing Vista out and panicking, but this machine has been exceedingly stable since I built it last year and I reboot only every few months. I built it to be stable and I trust the machine.

Working backwards, the last and only interesting thing I installed was VMWare Player for Windows. I had some trepidation at the time of the install because I am not a fan of the way that VMWare adds virtual network devices that are listed in Network Connections, but it came highly recommended from respected power users I know and I needed it to install a prepared Suse VM from the Mono folks.

However, when it's installed my 64-bit machine blue screens, and it's very difficult to get uninstalled, actually. Needless to say this scared the crap out of me.

I looked all over and checked out the VMWare Forums and no one at VMWare has acknowleded the problem in a Googl-eable way. I can tell you this, however. I am using a Quad-proc machine with an MSI motherboard with the latest BIOs and a buttload of USB devices. The only way I could get the system to boot up was to remove ALL the USB devices. ALL of them, to be clear, save one wired USB Keyboard that I used to log in and remove VMWare.

My guts says that this is a bug in the VMWare USB bridging code (the stuff in VMWare that lets you use USB devices inside a VM) or it's somewhere in the USB drivers in Windows. I have the Crash Dumps if you work for VMWare and you're interested. I'll WinDBG them later this week.

I hope this post helps someone having this same issue.

UPDATE: Installed Windows Debugging Tools (WinDbg.exe) and analyzed the crash dump and it's the VMWare Keyboard Driver, of all things. Perhaps VMWare doesn't like my Wireless USB Keyboard? Mental note, relearn WinDbg'ing.

BugCheck A0, {101, 7, fffffa6001dc8b10, 0} 

*** ERROR: Module load completed but symbols could not be loaded for VMkbd.sys
Page 9bda8 not present in the dump file. Type ".hh dbgerr004" for details
Probably caused by : VMkbd.sys ( VMkbd+15da )

Followup: MachineOwner

1: kd> !analyze -v
*                        Bugcheck Analysis                                    *

The power policy manager experienced a fatal error.
Arg1: 0000000000000101, Unhandled exception occured while processing a system power event.
Arg2: 0000000000000007
Arg3: fffffa6001dc8b10, ExceptionPointer.  To debug this, in the debugger type:
    'dt nt!_EXCEPTION_POINTERS <argument>'.  Then type:
    '.cxr <value of context record from the previous command>'.
    All subsequent debugger commands will show you the actual
    source of the error.  Start with a stack trace by typing 'kb'.
Arg4: 0000000000000000

Debugging Details:
Page 9bda8 not present in the dump file. Type ".hh dbgerr004" for details
EXCEPTION_RECORD:  fffffa6001dc99a8 -- (.exr 0xfffffa6001dc99a8)
ExceptionAddress: fffff80002477af1 (nt!IofCallDriver+0x0000000000000051)
   ExceptionCode: c0000005 (Access violation)
   ExceptionFlags: 00000000
NumberParameters: 2
   Parameter[0]: 0000000000000000
   Parameter[1]: 00000000000000e0
Attempt to read from address 00000000000000e0


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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May 21, 2008 10:57
It's not VMWare, it's VMware. Case matters :)
May 21, 2008 12:34
I don't know if it's related to your issue, but I also had a weird problem last evening on my Dell Latitude 820 laptop running Windows XP, which, as I suspect, also has to do with VMware . Namely, ever since I've installed the latest patch for the VMWare Workstation 6 a few days ago (it includes the VMware Player as well) I've lost the sound on the laptop. No errors in the logs, no driver conflicts, all looks fine, but still no sound. After trying everything else I've decided to reinstal the sound drivers -- and it started working again. The VMware patch was the only thing I've installed on my PC in weeks (not counting the Windows updates), so it looks like the latest version could have some issues.
May 21, 2008 15:29
I had a very similar problem with a previous machine, and I'm pretty sure it's not _specific_ to VMware.

That said, I had done similarly to what you had described. I had Vista Ult. 64-bit on a quad-processor system. I very rarely rebooted my system, but when I did, it would blue-screen with the INTERNAL_POWER_ERROR about 1 in 5 times. I also found that removing USB devices would lessen the likelihood of the error. When I downgraded to a video card with lower power consumption, the problem lessened, but remained.

I never removed VMware. I have VMware Workstation 6.0, and it's essential to my work.

Then, for other reasons, I upgraded the chassis and motherboard, keeping all other things constant (including the system OS instance). Henceforth, I haven't had a single INTERNAL_POWER_ERROR (2 months, 20-30 reboots). I also have to say to Vista developers - great job on handling a motherboard/chipset replacement.

I believe what's happening with the error may be _related_ to VMware, but maybe as peripherally as a "timing" issue. On the other hand, perhaps it is actually an issue with insufficient power. The new chassis to which I upgraded had a 450w power supply instead of the 400w power supply. And I have another datapoint that leads me to believe it is a power issue: I have one of those USB fish tanks from ThinkGeek. Early on, I found that I couldn't have it connected to the PC's internal USB devices because it would increase the liklihood of the INTERNAL_POWER_ERROR.

Perhaps what you experienced is a legitimate error due to too much power consumption, and the removing of USB devices that draw power from the bus dropped you below the threshold. Perhaps the reason you didn't see it before was (a) you didn't reboot often enough to get a statistical sample, and (b) perhaps you didn't have all of those devices connected when you did reboot, and (c) perhaps the installation of VMware player moved the initialization of certain hardware devices into closer proximity so their peak power consumption states were reached simultaneously.

I hope this helps you. I also hope a $100 power supply might be a simple solution to your problem.

I love VMware. It's super-stable and a miracle of modern software.

Best of luck!

May 21, 2008 15:34
I recently installed Vista SP1 x64 on my mother's system, and it caused the sound to stop working. It turned out the install of Vista SP1 reset the "digital output" setting of the driver... so no sound came out until I reconfigured the driver.

I doubt that was your issue, but I can confirm that some windows updates can affect sound/configuration.

May 21, 2008 16:45
I've been using Vista x64 and VMware Workstation since the beginning of this year. It has been really solid for me, except for one thing: I can't pause my virtual machines because when I restart from a suspend I get a BSOD. This certainly is not nearly as frightening as what you were experiencing, and while it cramps my style a little, I haven't found it to be very annoying. Every once in awhile, after I install a new Windows update or VMware upgrade, I try it again but I always run into the same problem.

Thanks for your post; it reminds me to give a try again and look at the actual error that is being generated. Perhaps I'll be able to figure out why and get VMware useful information about the problem (or, at least, fix it for myself on those rare occasions when pausing my VM would be convenient.)
May 21, 2008 16:52
and a buttload of USB devices

Would that be an imperial buttload, or a metric buttload? :-)
May 21, 2008 16:54
Ever since WinXP SP1 (3 years ago? 4 years?) 100% of my BSOD's have been related to 3rd party drivers. *sigh*

I know that feeling when you get that BSOD-on-bootup and you think you've lost everything you've worked so hard for on your OS over the past few months. We need a term for that feeling, a snigglet if you will...
May 21, 2008 18:10
I experienced the same problem and posted a question on the VMware Workstation forum:

This is all the more interesting since my machine is a clone of Mr. Hanselman's (I followed the Hanselman/Atwood posts last summer).

Removing VMware solves the problem; unplugging my mouse when I reboot and leaving it unplugged until the Vista login screen appears circumvents it. I use VMware in my job so I unplug the mouse.

I'm hoping it is fixed in 6.5!
May 21, 2008 20:03
Thanks for the tip. I was just starting to consider installing VMware on my x64 Vista machine, which like Ray is almost an exact copy of your machine. Maybe I'll just stick with Virtual Server and VirtualPC.
May 22, 2008 0:52
In the interest of balance, I've been running VMware Player (and Workstation) on Vista x64 running on a dual-core ThinkPad T61 for a little over two months now. I use the VMs daily in my work and I've never had it crash or lockup. I also have a plain old wireless Logitec keyboard/mouse combo (Wal-Mart special) hooked up through my docking station.
May 22, 2008 5:03
Amazing coincidence - just this morning I installed the latest VMware 6 update and my BIOS was reset on reboot. It took me quite some time to get it booting again. My machine is also a close clone of yours that I built following Jeff's posts.
May 22, 2008 6:13
This is a total shot in the dark, but did you try changing the settings of the USB emulation in your BOIS?
May 22, 2008 6:28
I just switched to VMWare about a two months ago. I am using VMWare for two and only two reasons: First, USB support. Second, Dual Core Support. I do 100% of my work in VMs. I basically just set up a base image and then I have a seperate VM for each company I work with so that I never have to worry about downtime when I replace my equipment (also makes backups a breeze). In any case, I NEVER had Virtual PC bluescreen me, but VMWare seems to do it once a week with Vista x64 SP1. Other problems with VMWare: the restore from paused state is horribly slow (disable background snapshots immediately, then jumping from one VM to another will take 5 minutes instead of 15).

The lead QA at one of the companies has been running VMWare extensively for his tests and his experience seems to be that VMWare just doesn't handle Vista 100% yet. He even had it corrupt a VM image entirely a while back, which caused major frustration.

In any case, VMWare has some kick ass features that Virtual PC doesn't have, but I'd switch back to Virtual PC in a heartbeat if they added SMP and USB devices, because VMWare is way too flaky sometimes.
May 22, 2008 8:08
Great post -- hope it helps others. And we KNOW you have the latest BIOS because we installed it together. :)

It's too bad VMWare has so many weird low-level driver dependencies. I know Jon Galloway harps on this a lot, and I tend to agree with him. Virtual PC is sort of featureless, but it's a painless, low-impact install -- unlike VMWare.
May 22, 2008 8:36
Yeah, like Jeff said. I think VMware is more full featured than Virtual PC, but it's not a player; it's a server that's been skinned to look like a player. Install it on another system and take a look at all the auto-run services it installs.

You don't need VMware to run the Mono or SUSE images. I wrote about how to convert them to VPC images:

You can also just download the Live CD or DVD editions of either product and boot them in Virtual PC - that's the easiest, and it works really well.
May 22, 2008 18:13
It seems that keyboards and mice are dangerous thing to have on a pc.

I had issues with the Microsoft USB Wireless Mouse where I've been using SQL Server Management Studio Express and found when I opened a table the screen would crash. Turns out the Intellipoint 6.2 driver causes the crash. How random and bad is that.

SQL Server Management Studio 2005 open table causes BSOD

I've uninstalled the driver and all is well.

May 23, 2008 9:29
been using vmware on vista x64 on an overclocked quad since vista has been out. my point is, it's a non-standard system pushed to the limit. i've never had an issue with vmware on vista x64. ditto with vmware fusion on the mac. vmware (workstation) does so much more than virtual pc. for example, snapshots.

msi motherboard? didn't you pay a good price for that custom rig? asus, gigabyte and even abit would have been a better choice for a motherboard.

May 23, 2008 10:04
This is a sore issue for me. I currently have a Vista64 host running VMWare Workstation 6. My Vista 32 VMWare crashes when I'm logged on to my 'L2TP IPSec' VPN network. For me the VMWare experience has been a very painful one. It only happen when I run the network connection in Bridged mode, and when run in NAT mode my VPN connections drops almost every minute. VMWare technical support cost just as much as I paid for the software, which is something I just cannot afford.

I did dig out something from the VMWare knowledge base about onboard network card and sli based motherboards, where the hosts apparently crashes. This was logged way back in 2007. They recommend disabling the onboard network card and adding a seperate one. Which I did, but did not fix my issue. VMWare are aware of the issue by have done nothing about it

Anyone know a way to run Microsoft VPC with dual monitor setup? My main reason for using VMWare is the support for Dual Monitors.

May 23, 2008 15:32
I had the _exact_ same problem with my Logitech MX 1000 wireless mouse on Vista 32 and 64 bit! I once found a thread on their forums, same problem, same mouse, but no reply or anything.
My solution: Unplug on reboot, use hibernation.

I had another issue releated to my AMD X2 CPU, VMware runs to fast or slow, I had to manually force the VMware process to only one core. It's a common issue as well.
So my final solution: Uninstall VMware and use VirtualBox (ok it's missing some features but works reasonably well).
May 23, 2008 20:48
> asus, gigabyte and even abit would have been a better choice for a motherboard.

You know, someone always has a particular brand of hard drive, motherboard, psu that they've had a bad experience with and thus blames. I find all the brands fail occasionally.
May 24, 2008 21:47
Jeff - Yea, I've heard the "blame the brand/chipset" shtick on my board all too often (ASUS P5N-T Deluxe 780i based) and I've not had a single issue yet. That said, I have been cussing out my 3Ware 9650se RAID controller for BSOD'n my box due to a firmware issue that took me a bit to track down on installing Win2008 x64 Ent or moving to Vista SP1. Once fixed, that sucka slams! BTW, I ponied up for the 20"s after we talked awhile back, found good homes for my 3 -19"s, and life is good rolling 3 - HP LP2065's.

Scott - I feel your pain with the VM. NVIDIA has HOSED all RDP with their 175.16 drivers so bad, it took me over 20+ seconds on my Q9450 quad core rolling 100% CPU to launch a simple 1600x1200 display. MS and NVIDIA need to optimize that action ASAP...
May 25, 2008 8:43
Haven't seen this one before though I had some very strange problems with windows 2008 server x64 and VMware. For some reason as soon as either hyper-v or vmware is installed you cannot install the other. I suppose this problem of yours could be related to that somehow.

I have VMware 6.5 beta installed at the moment and it is running fine most of the time but as of this night (early morning here) My computer was just turned of all of a sudden. Looking at the logs I found that VMware was indeed the scoundrel that saw to the crash. Not the usb drivers but it did not like my virtual hdd for some reason.

Hope it was only a minor set back (read 1-2 days) and good luck with the mono-stuff ;)
May 26, 2008 4:11
Scott, a tip I learned from the virtual pc guy's blog ( was that you can use win image( to convert between vmware and virtual pc virtual disk images.

see post here:
May 29, 2008 18:58
Have not rebooted since March? Not using Windows Update huh?

May 29, 2008 20:29
Aaron - Nope, I don't trust it. I have 15 updates in my queue right now, but since the machine is running fine, I haven't installed them.
June 03, 2008 10:49
Had a similar problem using vmware and usb mouse and keyboard. The machine (windows vista ultimate x64) didn't crash but the mouse and keyboard didn't work at all.
The error didn't surface at first so I didn't get the connection at once, I think I even rebooted some time after the installation but suddenly after a hibernate the external keyboard didnt work and after a reboot, nothing worked.
Finally I managed to get a usb mouse to work and with the onscreen keyboard i managed to do a system restore to the point when I installed vmware 6.0.4. Reverted back to 6.0.3 and it worked again...
June 11, 2008 8:17
Just thought that this writeup might be useful. My keyboard and mouse stopped working after uninstalling vmware player. I have not yet fixed my issue but it seems that a lot of people in this post have.
June 15, 2008 13:12
Hey all,

I've been having this issue since 6.0 and continued to have it during 6.04.
The fix...its easy but annoying.

Problem: The problem exists with the USB keyboard and the USB driver that VMware installs.
Solution: Plug in a PS2 Keyboard along side your USB devices and your computer should boot. This works for me.

I keep hopeing that VMware will fix this issue but they havent yet.

June 22, 2008 20:11
I was having the same problem as Scott, but with different hardware. Someone on the VMware Communities forums posted a fix that worked for me here. As far as I can tell, the fix essentially tells Windows to load the VMware keyboard driver before any other.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.