Howto: Uninstall the SLES Virtual Machine Driver Pack for Windows on Xen

Disclaimer: I recently fell off the turnip truck with respect to Xen, the virtualization platform included with SLES 10. All my past virtualization experience has been with VMware or Virtual Server, so this may be blatantly obvious to the rest of the IT world…

We are running Groupwise Mobile Server (GMS) on a Windows Server 2003 R2 guest loaded on a Xen/SLES10 Linux server. The GMS keeps bluescreening every time a user attempts to sync a Palm (but not iPAQ/PocketPC) device. The BSOD says the problem lies with ndis.sys, the guest’s nic driver. It was suggested to us to uninstall the paravirtualization driver pack to see if the problem kept occuring.

Little did we know that actually figuring out how to uninstall the driver pack from the Windows guest would be so difficult. I thought I could go into Yast on the host or Add/Remove programs on the guest to uninstall and that would take care of it, but that was not the case.

To uninstall the paravirtualization drivers on the Windows guest:

1 Make sure the installation CD is detached from the virtual machine.

2 Browse to c:\Program Files\Novell\XenDrv

3 Double-click uninstall.exe

You will be prompted to reboot the system.

4 Close all applications that are running and click OK

The system restarts. The Found New Hardware Wizard appears, indicating that it has found new hardware.
5 Click Yes, this time only, then click Next. The wizard asks to install software for the PCI Device.

6 Click Cancel.

The driver pack is now uninstalled from your system.

This also may seem blatantly obvious, but once the driver pack is completely uninstalled from your guest OS, you’ll lose the benefits of the paravirtualized drivers.

On a related note, if you want to upgrade the Driver Pack, you need to uninstall the current pack before you install the new one.

Since we uninstalled the driver pack the VM hasn’t blue screened once, which is good. But I’m bummed about not getting the benefits of the paravirtualized drivers. If anyone has any idea how to solve this, I’d love to hear about it at thebackroomtech[at]gmail[dot]com

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