VMWare crashing when adding a USB device

I use VMWare on a Linux host (Kubuntu 6.06.2 LTS) with a Windows XP guest. In Windows I have HotSync running to synchronize my PalmOS device with the computer.

I noticed that every so often, when connecting my Palm to the USB connector, the Windows guest would crash - VMWare would pop up an error message and kill the guest. When this happened, my only workaround was to get network synchronization working, a tedious and power-draining process. I would then have to use network hotsync until I decided to chance the USB hotsync. I have gone the better part of a year hotsyncing over my local network.

I finally figured out the problem. When my Linux system received a major kernel update (usually a revision, where uname -r's output would change), VMWare would not start, and I needed to rerun the configuration script. But when my system received a minor kernel update (security hotfix, usually), VMWare would still run, the Windows guest would still load properly - but would crash the next time I tried to hook up a USB device.

Solution: after every kernel update, rerun vmware-config.pl to recreate the necessary kernel modules.

Written by Andrew Ittner in misc on Sat 30 August 2008. Tags: technology, linux