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The Net Takeaway: Ubuntu 7.10 and No Mouse on Virtual PC

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Ubuntu 7.10 and No Mouse on Virtual PC · 09/28/2007 12:30 AM, Tech

I hope I don’t have to keep writing this same post over and over again. I just tested Ubuntu 7.10 beta, and like 7.04, the mouse is not recognized in Microsoft Virtual PC.

As I said in Ubuntu 7.04 and No Mouse on Virtual PC, the kernel has a bug which means that the mouse is not recognized in Virtual PC. In addition, the same graphics bug is present (when you get past the [OK] text stuff, you get a scrambled screen) but if you choose the “safe graphics” mode while installing from the LiveCD, you can at least test it in comfort… once you get the mouse working.

So, just like I said there, the workaround is simple, but annoying.

From https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux-source-2.6.20/+bug/87262 which points to https://bugzilla.redhat.com/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=223606, where both say to include the kernel parameter i8042.noloop on the boot. This can be done manually each time on the liveCD (Press “f6” for additional options at the boot screen, and hand type it in on that text line) or if you install it, you can manually add this to the boot config file. On my tests with VirtualPC, this allowed the mouse to work as expected!

http://grumpymole.blogspot.com/2007/05/ubuntu-how-to-edit-grub-boot-parameters.html tells how to edit the boot config file.

Yes, it is very annoying that after all this time, neither bug has been fixed. I’ll log them again, and we’ll see what happens.

They don’t call it “Open Sores” for nothing.

PS: That graphics issue? Its because the default bit depth (colors) for Ubuntu is 24-bit, which Virtual PC does not support. Yes, Ubuntu could check to see if the graphics card supported 24-bit color before tossing the user into this, but since most real hardware supports 24-bit color, its another “mostly affects MS VirtualPC people” issue. Anyway, if you install Ubuntu to a drive, you can just configure the colors properly inside Ubuntu and the boot will go smoothly after that. Basically:
1) Start a command prompt window (Applications, Accessories, Terminal for most folks)
2) cd /etc/X11
3) pico xorg.conf (pico is the easy editor most linux people don’t talk about; nano is another similar editor)
3a) If you get a complaint, try running sudo pico xorg.conf, which is a way of saying “really, let me do this”, so to speak.
4) In the “screen” section, change the defaultDepth from 24 to 16.
5) CTRL-X to exit (saving when prompted of course)
6) Either type reboot, or just use your favorite way to exit

If you love the LiveCD approach, then keep “Starting in Safe Graphics mode”

PPS: Another nice summary with a step by step is at Virtually Vista by Mike Kolitz of Microsoft.

PPPS: Finally, the Ubuntu wiki pulls together a bunch of helpful info around Ubuntu and VPC: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HowToConfigureUbuntuForMicrosoftVirtualPC2004

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  1. For those who’d like complete step by step instructions, I’ve got a post up with screen shots at http://arcanecode.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/installing-ubuntu-710-under-virtual-pc-2007/

    Hope it helps,

    Arcane
    Arcane Code    Oct 19, 10:57 PM    #


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