[oneiric/precise] gnome-shell hangs when switching to a running VMWare Player Window in Activities menu

Bug #869408 reported by tankdriver on 2011-10-06
This bug affects 39 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
gnome-shell (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

- Start VMWare Player VM
- Click on the Activities Button
- Click on the VMWare Window Preview.
--> everything on the screen hangs, except mouse (and audio player is still playing)

VMWare Player
4.0.0 build-471780

host: prop Nvidia driver
guest: ubuntu 10.04(no updates, old VMWare tools)

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 11.10
Package: gnome-shell 3.2.0-0ubuntu1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.0.0-12.19-generic 3.0.4
Uname: Linux 3.0.0-12-generic x86_64
NonfreeKernelModules: nvidia
ApportVersion: 1.23-0ubuntu2
Architecture: amd64
Date: Thu Oct 6 20:30:03 2011
EcryptfsInUse: Yes
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" - Beta amd64 (20110921.2)
SourcePackage: gnome-shell
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in gnome-shell (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
rw (rwp) wrote :

Exactly the same problem here; confirmed for VMware Player 4 & VMware Workstation 8.

Guest: Windows XP SP3 with latest updates & VMware tools
Host: ubuntu oneiric 11.10 final with nvidia 280.13

Cristiano Cicali (cristiano) wrote :

Also affecting me with vmware workstation 8.

Guest: windows 7 64bit
Host: Ubuntu 11.10 x64

gnome shell from ppa_ricotz

thegemis (gemis-consultant) wrote :

Exactly the same problem here; confirmed for VMware Player 4

Guest: Windows 7 64bit
Host: Ubuntu 11.10
Desktop: Gnome-shell
Video Driver: nvidia-current

Chupacabra (stuntman-mike) wrote :

I can confirm the problem.

Guest: Windows XP
Host: Ubuntu 11.10
Desktop: Gnome-Shell
Video: nvidia

Maddy (madhurya) wrote :

Same here.

Guest: Windows XP Pro (up to date), latest VMWare tools
Host: Ubuntu 11.10
Desktop: Gnome-shell
Video Driver: Nvidia (latest as of now)

Switched to tty1 and top shows all vmware processes running normally with 4 to 5% CPU at most.

Alex Shtof (alex-shtf) wrote :

Same here.

Guest: Windows 7 Home, latest VMWare tools
Host: Ubuntu 10.10
Desktop: Gnome-shell
Video Driver: Nvidia - both 280 (last update) and 285 (ubuntu-proposed)

Is15 (is15) wrote :

Ditto for both my (physical desktop) machines with vmware player :

Guest: Win XP, VM tools up to date
Host: Ubuntu 11.10
Desktop: Gnome-shell
Video Driver: Intel® G41 x86/MMX/SSE2 (and on the other desktop, same symptoms with Gallium open source driver for ATI HD 6770 card)

Gnome-shell appears able to freeze at any point when viewing vmplayer, although trying to switch to or from the vmplayer window may increase the odds.

Laptop Dell XPS 15z, same issue:

Host: Ubuntu 11.10 x64
Video Driver: NVidia (nvidia-current with Bumblebee)
Desktop: Gnome-shell
VMware player: 4.0.1 build-528992
Guest: WinXP, Windows 2003 server

Gnome-shell freezes, I can move only the mouse pointer and switch on tty1. It occurs on application switching to/from vmplayer.

I've experienced this issue as well. The temporary workaround to resolve it is to drop to tty1, log in and do:

killall -9 gnome-shell

This (should have!) the effect of re-loading the GNOME Shell, and everything should start working again.

Changed in gnome-shell:
importance: Unknown → Medium
status: Unknown → New
Changed in gnome-shell:
status: New → Incomplete

I can confirm this bug too, which happens very often only when I use VMWare Workstation (and a Windows guest with vmware-tools, as far as I can tell).

I now use the Nouveau driver.

Most of time, I switch to a TTY and reload gnome-shell with :
$ killall -1 gnome-shell

But sometimes, it is either too unstable or gnome-shell crashes.
I restart it :
$ gnome-shell -d :0

Note that when I use the Nvidia proprietary driver, the TTY also hangs and in such a case I have no other choice than unproperly reboot the computer.

According to the bug across on the GNOME bug tracker, gnome-shell 3.2.2 may fix this issue. I've submitted bug #919414 requesting gnome-shell is updated to 3.2.2 to see if this issue is fixed.

Just retried with the version "" and it doesn't work. Same behaviour.
In my case when the bug appears, the reboot is needed. I didn't find any workaround.

Bo Nygaard Bai (bai-v) wrote :

I can confirm the bug.

This is not Nvidia specific since I use the radeon driver on an ATI card.

I believe the hangs primarily appear when VMware looses focus, but are otherwise completely random. The rate is closer to 1:100 than 1:10.

Killing the 'gnome-shell' process with '-KILL' is a usable work around for me.

Richard Ayotte (rich-ayotte) wrote :

Still crashes with This bug is currently set to incomplete. What information in needed?

In the last days I've upgraded the VMware Player from version 4.0.1 (build-528992) to version 4.0.2 (build-591240) and, in my case, the bug doesn't appear any more.

I've done some other stuff in my system, so I'm not really sure this is the solution, has anyone tried with 4.0.2?

Richard Ayotte (rich-ayotte) wrote :

The bug is still there with 4.0.2 on my system. Can you tell us about the other changes that you made?

Sorry, I was wrong. After some hours the bug was appear again.

BugCoder (bugcoder) wrote :

Exactly the same problem here; confirmed for VMware Player 4.02

Guest: ubuntu 10.04
Host: Ubuntu 11.10
Desktop: Gnome-shell
Video Driver: Gallium open source driver ATI

jkwinn (jeffrey-winn) wrote :

Exactly the same problem here too.

Guest: Any
Host: Ubuntu 11.10
Desktop: Gnome3 gnome-shell
Video: Intel HD
VMware: WS 8.0.X

Raimund Hölle (privat3) wrote :


Host: 3.0.0-16-generic #28-Ubuntu SMP Fri Jan 27 17:44:39 UTC 2012 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
Guest: Windows 7 64-Bit with Vmware-Tools
  gnome-shell 3.2.1-0ubuntu1.1
  xserver-xorg-core 2:1.10.4-1ubuntu4.2
Video driver:
  xserver-xorg-video-intel 2:2.15.901-1ubuntu2.1
VMWare: VMware player 4.0.2 build-591240

Tested without success:
  Disabling 3D acceleration of VM
  Disabling / removing all gnome shell extensions

Workaround: Switch to console (ctrl+alt+Fn) and kill gnome shell thread:
  pstree -alp $(ps -u${USER}|awk '/gnome-shell$/ { print $1 }')
  kill -9 7432
Kill as many threads as needed to reawake the gnome shell.
Killing the whole shell works also, but may affect running processes started by the shell.

See also: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=670231

RE (re-b) wrote :

Same Problem with VMware Player 4.0.2 and Workstation 8.0.2

Host: LinuxMint 12 lisa x86_64
Guest: WinXP and/or Win7

Quick and dirty help:

killall -1 gnome-shell
gnome-shell -d :0

Bo Nygaard Bai (bai-v) wrote :

Just to elaborate on the quick fix for those using Kerberos.

As has been posted by several others, you can drop to the console and kill the gnome-shell process, start a new gnome-shell and return to your desktop.

If you are using Kerberos you should remember to set the KRB5CCNAME environment variable to keep all your windows in the same kerberos session.

The pattern becomes:

(CTRL-ALT-F1 to the console and login)

killall -9 gnome-shell
export $(xargs --null --max-args=1 < /proc/$(pidof gnome-session)/environ | grep KRB5CCNAME=)
gnome-shell -d :0

(CTRL-ALT-F7 to get back to the desktop)

...and all of your gnome-session windows will keep using the same kerberos credentials cache.

SO, what's the point ???

Brel (brel) wrote :

Same thing, although I notice it more when my mouse goes over the VM window and then back out.

I've intel graphics (sandybridge) so presumbly not graphics driver related.

I'm on vmplayer 4.0.2 as well.

I had problems using killall (inconsistant recovery). Now I launch gnome shell from the console with 'gnome-shell --replace'. When the system freezes, I go to the console and Ctrl-C the gnome-shell process and restart it. As a side benefit, I get to see the gnome-shell error messages and from what I can tell, nothing gets consistenly logged when the system freezes.

nldquy (nguyenledinhquy-yahoo) wrote :


probook@probook-HP-ProBook-4530s:~$ uname -a
Linux probook-HP-ProBook-4530s 3.2.0-17-generic-pae #27-Ubuntu SMP Sat Feb 25 05:55:05 UTC 2012 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

Workaround by

Edit vmplayer preferences file at "~/.vmware/preferences". Add the following line:

pref.vmplayer.exit.vmAction = "disconnect"

After starting up the virtual manchine, close vmwareplayer windows. Rdp or vnc to the guest instead of using vmware windows.


Alex Shtof (ist-alex) wrote :


Ubuntu 11.10
Gnome shell
nvidia-current driver

What's missing to go on?

David (nospam2k) wrote :

I just thought I would add to this that the problem occurs also in Arch Linux and Fedora Core 16. It seems to be specific to gnome-shell and switching to the launcher especially when there is activity in the vm. I can almost reliable crash gnome-shell by starting a file copy (windows xp) on vmplayer and then switching to the launcher (upper left corner). Do that a couple of times and it will crash. Of course you can ctl-alt-f1 into another session and sudo killall -9 gnome-shell and ctl-alt-f7 and if gnome-shell doesn't come back, you can at least shutdown the vm so as not to corrupt the vm.

L (lxyu) wrote :

Same problem in Archlinux + Gnome Shell.

bratgers (bart-ratgers) wrote :

Same problem too.

Host: Ubuntu 11.10
Desktop: Gnome3 gnome-shell
Video: Intel HD
VMware: Workstation 8.0.2 /Workstation e.x.p build-646643 / VmWarePlayer

Dan Elder (dantheelder) wrote :

This affects OpenSUSE 12.1 as well, definitely not an Ubuntu specific bug

Host: OpenSUSE 12.1 (x86_64)
Desktop: Gnome3 ghome-shell (
Video: Nvidia (nouveau)
VMware: Workstation 8.0.2 /Workstation build-591240 / VmWarePlayer

Enrider (enrider) wrote :

When do they repair this bug?
It is passed almost one year from the first detection.

Host: Ubuntu 11.10 (x86-64)
Desktop: Gmome3 gnome-shell 3.2.1
Video: Intel HD
VMware Palyer 4.0.2

RedTraxx (redtraxx) wrote :

Same problem too.
The desktop hangs also suddenly from time to time when leaving/entering vmware.

Host: Linux Mint 12 (Lisa)
Desktop: Gnome3 shell
Video: Intel/Nvidia via Bumblebee 3.0
VMWare Player: 4.0.2 build-591240
System: Dell XPS15 (L502x)

Is15 (is15) wrote :

Using Precise and Gnome 3.4, after 5 hours of intensive task switching between vmware player and other linux programs, no crashes yet. I would normally have had to restart the shell a few times at the very least during this sort of workload.

It's possible gnome-shell 3.4 contains the fix to this problem - can anyone else confirm / refute?

Gnome-shell 3.4.1
vmplayer 4.0.2 build-591240
Ubuntu 12.04 kernel 3.2.0-24
generic drivers on ATI graphics

Chun-Yu (cshei) wrote :

Problem seems to be gone here in 3.4.1 as well.

gnome-shell 3.4.1
VMWare Workstation 8.0.2
Gentoo - vanilla 3.3.4 kernel

Richard Ayotte (rich-ayotte) wrote :

I can't seem to crash it in 3.4.1 either. Looks like this one might be fixed.

gnome-shell 3.4.1
vmplayer 4.0.2
Ubuntu 12.04 3.2.0-24-generic
nVidia drive 295.40

Is15 (is15) wrote :

Hmmmm, I may have been a little premature - I have had two shell-hangs now, 1 each on a different machine - both with the below configuration. It's a lot less frequent than before, but I still seem to be getting some.

Gnome-shell 3.4.1
 vmplayer 4.0.2 build-591240
 Ubuntu 12.04 kernel 3.2.0-24
 generic drivers on ATI graphics

Ivan R. (mavrik) wrote :

Same for me, Ubuntu 12.04, Workstation 8.0.2, Nvidia drivers.

Richard Ayotte (rich-ayotte) wrote :

I spoke too fast. Still crashing, even with vmplayer 4.0.3.

Richard Ayotte (rich-ayotte) wrote :

I've switched to VirtualBox. It's faster, has great USB support, is packaged and supported and it's solid as a rock.

Geert Wirken (geertw) wrote :

I have disabled VMware's feature to automatically grab and ungrab the mouse cursor and it seems like the bug addressed here is not occurring anymore, but I haven't thoroughly tested this yet.
This setting can be changed (in VMware workstation) by opening Edit -> Preferences -> Input -> Automatically grab and ungrab the mouse cursor. I am not aware of a similar setting in VMware Player. Perhaps it is worth for others to try working with this setting turned off.

Meantime there were some software updates, but I still have the problem:

- gnome-shell 3.4.1
- vmplayer 4.0.4 build-744019
- Ubuntu 12.04 kernel 3.2.0-25
- Laptop Dell XPS 15z

Geert Wirken (geertw) wrote :

The observation I posted about a week ago is not correct unfortunately. The problem seems to appear less often, but I still had one occurrence where I had to restart gnome-shell.

nldquy (nguyenledinhquy-yahoo) wrote :

if you run into crashing situation, don't need to restart your machine. Try to open console by Ctrl Alt F1, log in from console, kill all gnome-shell then do

export DISPLAY=:0
gnome-shell --replace

Comeback to your working gnome-shell by Ctrl Alt F7

Petro Hagenauw (phagenauw-n) wrote :

Can confirm problem also occurs on latest openSUSE 12.2 with vmware workstation 9.

Changed in gnome-shell:
status: Incomplete → New

It's one year of system crashes...

Happy Birthday!

Massimiliano Carra (massyc) wrote :

I confirm the problem occurs on Debian Wheezy (kernel 3.2.0-3-686-pae) with VMWare Workstation 8.0.2 build-591240.
NVIDIA proprietary drivers version 295.75

I can confirm that this bug is still here with kernel 3.5.0-18-generic and Quantal release using VMWare Workstation 9.0.0 build-812388. It freezes very often, several times a day. Pretty unusable....

having same issue with kernel 3.2.0-41-generic (64 bit) on precise 12.04 and vmware player 5.0.2. can start windows virtual machines, but after logging on the gnome-shell crashes...

Woonjas (woonjas) wrote :

VMware player 5.0.2 (64bit)
Ubuntu 11.10
kernel 3.0.0-32

This is exactly why I stopped using vmware a couple of years ago, virtualbox does not have this problem.

dino99 (9d9) on 2013-05-28
tags: added: precise
removed: oneiric

Not only gnome-shell hangs, but the whole NVIDIA video driver. I can switch a text console (no visible output eighter), login blindly, and kill -9 -1 for all my apps, this resets the video, and all visible again. It happens several times a day. Very annoying...

Just after I started to use vmplayer!

I can start and use everything, but after a while the hang happens.

Host: 13.04 64bit kernel 3.8.0-22-generic
prop. Nvidia drivers, GeForce 210

VMwareplayer: 5.0.2 build-1031769

Guest: Debian 7.1 64bit

Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

Thank you for reporting this bug to Ubuntu.
Ubuntu 11.10 (oneiric) reached end-of-life on May 9, 2013.

See this document for currently supported Ubuntu releases:

We appreciate that this bug may be old and you might not be interested in discussing it any more. But if you are then please upgrade to the latest Ubuntu version and re-test.

Changed in gnome-shell (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Changed in gnome-shell:
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in gnome-shell (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Invalid
status: Invalid → Won't Fix
summary: - gnome-shell hangs when switching to a running VMWare Player Window in
- Activities menu
+ [oneiric/precise] gnome-shell hangs when switching to a running VMWare
+ Player Window in Activities menu
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