VMware and Unity Issue: Fixed

15 May 2010
May 15, 2010

I’ve had a history of frustration with VMware Workstation and the Unity mode. I’ve had it work on some machines, not work on others and sometimes even switch from working to not working. And I won’t lie, this has made me a little crazy because — when it works — I really like Unity! A great way to work with multiple machines all on the same screen. No need to flip from one session to the other.

And I like the double-takes when someone spots MS Windows and Linux windows all running on the same display. I’m geeky like that. :-)

I whined about it on Twitter recently and after some back and forth with a twitter user going by @vmw_workstation I agreed to post my issue on the beta forums (I had recently upgraded to the beta version of VMware Workstation with the hope that it would fix my issues).

After logging on to the forums, the first topic I saw was “Unity Problem and RC.” I was skimming through the thread and preparing to pile on when I caught yesterday’s (at the time of this writing) update from “jacobmross”:

I can add that removing Sprint’s SmartView mobile-broadband management tool from my previously non-Unity friendly machine has resolved my issues – so take a quick peak at any network-affecting software you may have installed and see if you can functionally afford to remove any of it.

Well hey, I run Sprint’s SmartView software on most of my machines… it is what enables my Sprint USB gadget to keep my connected when out in the wild.

Unity working!So for grins I uninstalled it this afternoon. After the obligatory reboot I’m very pleased to see that Unity mode works. I’ve fired up a few machines and am happy to see it all works just like I’d hoped it would.

I still have a problem though… I don’t really want to have to decide between unity or Sprint SmartView. Uninstalling SmartView when I’m not using it is certainly an option. Only takes a few minutes (and a reboot…) to do that. And since I have a copy already downloaded to my machine it only takes a few minutes (and a reboot…) to install it.

But yuck. Clearly some sleuthing is in order. If I get a chance I’ll reload SmartView and then have a session with good old Process Monitor and see if I can learn anything. Because seriously, why would a USB modem driver clobber Unity mode? It just doesn’t seem rational.

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6 replies
  1. jacobmross says:

    Have you tried Unity + SmartView with the official release of 7.1 (May 26th-ish) yet?

    I ended up leaving SmartView off of my rig, because I don’t really need it (just borrowed the drivers and setup my own RRAS connection) but I’m curious if it got fixed – I did end up getting confirmation that they were able to reproduce the issue internally, using SmartView as the tool to break it.

    • Chris says:

      Well… I need to do more testing, but I just loaded 7.1 on a machine with SmartView earlier this evening and was surprised to find that Unity worked :-)

      I have another machine (the one on which I first noticed the issue) that I’ll have to test this weekend before I assume the fix was 7.1 though.

      • jacobmross says:

        Sweet – let me know how it works out either way – if it’s still acting up, I’ll see what I can find out.

        • Chris says:

          Well, tested on two laptops — both running Windows 7 and ATI video and Sprint SmartView. The 32bit one has no probs running Unity mode. The 64bit one fails.


  2. jacobmross says:

    I just grabbed SmartView 2.40 from Sprint (released today 2010/06/24) and Unity *IS* working with it installed (and I can verify that the previous release, 2.28 was still not getting along with Workstation 7.1)


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