Unsolved Mysteries

From the Field: Uninstalled VMware View Agent, lost the war

Hey again!

This post will start a new blog tag for me: Unsolved Mysteries.

I migrated from SQL Express to SQL 2008r2 and upgraded View and vSphere to 5.3/5.5 for a client this past week. Everything went exactly according to the plan I had outlined prior to the beginning of the engagement.

Excited by the progress and the new features available in View 5.3, the client uninstalled the View Agent 5.0.1 that he had installed in his own personal Win7-32bit View desktop. Once uninstalled, he had no mouse or keyboard control in the vSphere console.

He came to me the next morning and explained what he had done the previous night – I suggested RDP which worked as expected. He installed View Agent 5.3 from within the RDP window, and Windows blue screened. Upon reboot, he still had no keyboard or mouse control. He hadn’t taken a screen shot prior to making the changes. The issue was passed to me to see if I could salvage the machine.

In short, the answer was no.
I cloned the machine off and started troubleshooting.

I had keyboard in the BIOS and the windows bootloader.
I noticed that the PS/2 Keyboard and mouse had yellow exclamation marks on them… traditionally this is driver related. 
Have console video throughout.
Definitely a Windows issue- Same issue on web and “fat” vSphere client.

In the course of a day, I had:

  • Uninstalled and reinstalled VMware Tools
  • Upgraded to VM Hardware version 10 and installed tools
  • Ran a selective startup and narrowed down to essential items for statup
  • Manually removed the “UpperLimits” DWORD value on the keyboard and mouse objects in the registry
  • Changes the DWORD value for start key on i8042 PS/2 KB and Mouse (From 3 to 1) in the registry
  • Ran a Virtual to Virtual conversion- Problem remained in converted machine

This will bug me for quite some time- it isn’t often that I leave a mystery unsolved. The client is okay using RDP until he gets around to rebuilding this machine. 

The twist? This has happened to another administrators desktop in the environment, and a VMware support case concluded that the desktop was lost and needed to be redeployed from template.

Sigh.

At least the other desktops were upgraded without this issue recurring… although we took snapshots before making changes after this ordeal!

Has anyone else run into anything similar to this?