What should I do if my appliance boots to a blank screen?

The AeroFS Appliance is delivered as a 64-bit virtual appliance in the Open Virtual Appliance format. In most cases, importing and starting the appliance for the first time is just a few clicks.

Unfortunately, if the host cannot boot the virtual appliance for any reason, the result will usually be the same: a black screen with a blinking cursor, and no progress.

When confronted with a virtualization problem like this, here are the steps we follow:

  • The host machine requires a 64-bit Intel x86 CPU, with hardware virtualization instructions (Intel VT-x). It is now quite rare to find a computer without hardware virtualization support - however your BIOS may have this feature disabled by default.

    Boot to your computer's BIOS configuration and look for a setting that may be called "virtualization extensions", "Intel Virtualization Extensions", or something similar. It might be found in a "Processor" or "Chipset" section of the bios. Unfortunately there is no standardization among the BIOS vendors.

    If you're curious, there is a short and useful document from VirtualBox with more information on hardware virtualization.
  • Make sure you are running a recent version of the hypervisor. Support for 64-bit systems was uneven in some older releases, and the virtualization vendors have been actively releasing fixes and performance improvements.

  • Generally speaking, you should not try to run multiple hypervisors simultaneously on one host machine.

Some VirtualBox users have reported problems running guest OS'es when Hyper-V is active on the same host machine. This is most likely a result of the same VT-x instructions mentioned above.

Even if it doesn't prevent booting the guest appliances, one of the environments will have to run in software virtualization mode, which will hurt performance. To fix this, we simply suggest running the AeroFS Appliance in the same virtualization environment as your existing guests.

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