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Mac OSX with vmware: why didn't my windows cdrom/dvd mount properly?

posted May 29, 2011, 1:29 AM by Steve Craig   [ updated May 29, 2011, 1:53 AM ]
For all those ambidextrous OS users out there, here's a helpful tip.  I run Mac OSX as my base OS along with a Windows 2003 virtual machine inside of vmware Fusion.  This works like a champ, and has become my go-to setup.

The entire setup is so stable (knock on wood) that I have only experienced less then 5 complete and total system crashes requiring a hard-reboot of OSX in the 3 years that I've been running the laptop. As a result, I leave the Windows 2003 VM running all the time, and when the captain has turned off the fasten seat-belts sign, I simply close my Mac to put the entire thing into standby when I move about the cabin.

Here's the minor issue with that.  Every once in a while, a friend will give me a cdrom or dvd with some data on it, and I'll pop the disc into the drive and wait for the Mac to mount it so that I can view the pictures or other files in the Finder.

No amout of coaxing will mount the cdrom or dvd as the disc does not even show up as a device.  Here is the terminal output from a diskfree command with nothing other than my single mac hard-drive and my ipod mounted (as you can see, my HD is nearly full and so is my iPod):

ouch:~ $ df -kh
Filesystem      Size   Used  Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/disk0s2   149Gi  147Gi  2.0Gi    99%    /
devfs          118Ki  118Ki    0Bi   100%    /dev
fdesc          1.0Ki  1.0Ki    0Bi   100%    /dev
map -hosts       0Bi    0Bi    0Bi   100%    /net
map auto_home    0Bi    0Bi    0Bi   100%    /home
/dev/disk1s2    15Gi   15Gi  444Mi    98%    /Volumes/iPod

Bear in mind, the cdrom or dvd that I am trying to view IS valid, and IS inside the Mac's optical drive.  Now, when I go for a listing of available disk devices, this is what comes back:

ouch:~ $ ls -tlra /dev/disk*
brw-r-----  1 root    operator   14,   2 May 12 00:16 /dev/disk0s2
brw-r-----  1 root    operator   14,   1 May 12 00:16 /dev/disk0s1
brw-r-----  1 root    operator   14,   0 May 12 00:16 /dev/disk0
brw-r-----  1 steve  operator   14,   5 May 29 04:24 /dev/disk1s2
br--r-----  1 steve  operator   14,   4 May 29 04:24 /dev/disk1s1
brw-r-----  1 steve  operator   14,   3 May 29 04:24 /dev/disk1


As you can see, I only have the primary HD (disk0 etc) and the iPod (disk1) available.  WTF, Mac?

More like - WTF, vmware Fusion!  Fusion was too smart here and is the source of my problems. Whenever I mount some USB device, vmware Fusion asks which machine to mount it to. Nifty!  But, that didn't happen with this DVD - because it was created with a windows filesystem!  Fusion saw the drive, saw it was Windows rather than Mac, and automatically (and silently) intercepted it and mounted it right up to my Windows 2003 virtual machine.

Once I shutdown the Windows 2003 virtual machine and check my disk devices again via "df -kh" and "ls -latr" inside Terminal, voila!  There is "My Disk," ready and waiting (note the previously mounted HD and iPod, along with the new 3GB DVD):

ouch:~ $ df -kh
Filesystem      Size   Used  Avail Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/disk0s2   149Gi  146Gi  2.4Gi    99%    /
devfs          119Ki  119Ki    0Bi   100%    /dev
fdesc          1.0Ki  1.0Ki    0Bi   100%    /dev
map -hosts       0Bi    0Bi    0Bi   100%    /net
map auto_home    0Bi    0Bi    0Bi   100%    /home
/dev/disk1s2    15Gi   15Gi  454Mi    98%    /Volumes/iPod
/dev/disk2     3.3Gi  3.3Gi    0Bi   100%    /Volumes/My Disk

ouch:~ $ ls -tlra /dev/disk*
brw-r-----  1 root    operator   14,   2 May 12 00:16 /dev/disk0s2
brw-r-----  1 root    operator   14,   1 May 12 00:16 /dev/disk0s1
brw-r-----  1 root    operator   14,   0 May 12 00:16 /dev/disk0
brw-r-----  1 steve  operator   14,   5 May 29 04:24 /dev/disk1s2
br--r-----  1 steve  operator   14,   4 May 29 04:24 /dev/disk1s1
brw-r-----  1 steve  operator   14,   3 May 29 04:24 /dev/disk1
br--r-----  1 steve  operator   14,   6 May 29 04:29 /dev/disk2



The point:  if you are running Mac OSX along with VMWare Fusion and a windows virtual machine and can not figure out why cdrom or dvd's are not mounted to your Mac, shutdown the VM and they will appear without issue.
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