Installing Debian Testing on VirtualPC 2007


If you tried installing Debian testing or any other recent flavor of Linux on Microsoft’s VirtualPC 2007 you probably hit the wall with the “An unrecoverable processor error has been encountered. The virtual machine will reset now.” error during the machine’s first boot after installation.

The solution?

Add noreplace-paravirt to the boot options in grub’s kernel entry.

You may also want to add clocksource=pit as well to solve timing issues and vga=791 for a 1024×768 resolution text mode.


Booting in a usable terminal

To boot in a usable terminal, select the safe (single-user) mode (just select, do not press enter).


Press ‘e’ to edit the command, select the middle line as shown in the picture below then press ‘e’ again. Add the noreplace-paravirt parameter to the end of the line and press enter to go back to the previous screen. Press ‘b’ to boot using the selected kernel entry.



Once you get into a usable terminal, we need to make those changes permanent. We will have to edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and add noreplace-paravirt in the “default kernel options” and the rest in the “additional options” as shown on the two pictures below.



Starting X

Well, if you continue booting and end up in X you will certainly get nothing but a garbled screen. This happens because VirtualPC doesn’t support the default 24 bit color depth of X and we will have to edit xorg.conf and tell it to use only 16 (or 32?) bit colors.

Just open /etc/X11/xorg.conf then look for the “Screen” section. Add the line DefaultDepth 16 as in the picture below, save and reboot (or just restart x).





image image


I was hoping to see KDE4 here, but it looks like debian development is just too slow. I mean, it actually was debian unstable. Ubuntu has had KDE4 out-of-the-box for months now, and it is pretty stable. Wtf.


Edit: Debian 5.0 has just been released. Hopefully KDE4 will move from experimental to unstable soon.


  1. Great tutorial. Helped al lot. But try: nano /boot/grub/menu.lst instead of gedit. And look for the “section screen” area for ajusting the default depth to 16
    in nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf

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