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I need to give a user access to the console of a Xen HVM domain, for troubleshooting a boot problem. The problem is, the guest boots so fast, it is almost impossible to have the VNC session ready when the problem occurs.

Is there a way to delay the boot process for a couple of seconds?

This is using Xen 4.0.1 bundled with Debian Squeeze.

Thanks in advance!

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Answering to my own question.

I found this solution:

  • Create the guest but leave it in paused state: xm domain.cfg -p
  • Connect vncviewer to the guest
  • Unpause the domain: xm unpause domain

This allows to see everything right from the start.

A couple of seconds delay in the BIOS would have been nice, too.

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Less generic, but for Unix hosts, I use console logging (--log guest --log-dir /var/log/xen for the xenconsoled daemon, see /etc/default/xend) : boot, then consult the log. No race condition, no needed delays, and always there to diagnose even if you decide to have a look after running into the problem. And it's so much useful than VNC screenshots (like for copy/pasting error messages in Google ...).

It's been available right from Xen 4 in Debian Squeeze, that's why I'm mentionning it there, I was missing it a lot in Lenny (Xen 3.2).

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For Unix guests this is a nice solution provided that you only need to watch over the boot process. The problem at hand is with on Windows guest where VNC is required to "F8" into the safe mode for further analysis. Thanks anyway. – Oliver Apr 23 '12 at 9:19

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