Journaling for a flaky FreeBSD VirtualBox guest.

Alan Gutierrez alan at
Thu Feb 28 07:41:50 UTC 2013

I'm getting to know FreeBSD by running a 64-bit FreeBSD guest in a VirtualBox
machine on my OS X Mountain Lion laptop. On occasion, when waking up from sleep,
the FreeBSD virtual machine will not restart. VirtualBox marks it as "Aborted."

When I restart FreeBSD, I've found on a number of occasions that the `.git`
directory of the project I was working on when my laptop went to sleep has
become corrupted. `git` won't recognize the directory. I try to rebuild the
repository with `git fsck`, but it's usually broken. My `.zsh_history` file has
been corrupted at restart, which I've recovered by removing the last line which
contains binary nonsense.

I run a Linux guest that suffers the same abuse, but does not lose data. 

My question:

If anyone runs FreeBSD in VirtualBox, what VirtualBox settings do you use so
that UFS will work correctly and recover recent writes?

I'm using UFS built by the install media.

 % mount
/dev/ada0p2 on / (ufs, local, journaled soft-updates)
devfs on /dev (devfs, local, multilabel)

I'm using the disk and disk controller setup that VirtualBox suggested when when
I told it I was building a FreeBSD machine. A single IDE drive on an IDE
controller with "Use host I/O cache enabled." The VirtualBox documentation says
that a virtual SATA controller is preferred if you choose to uncheck "Use host
I/O cache enabled."


 * How should I configure my filesystem for maximum durability, since the
 VirtualBox virtual drives appear to be flaky?
 * Does anyone run a similar setup, FreeBSD guest on MacBook host? If you're
 experience is trouble-free, then what virtual controller do you use? Do you
 enable host I/O caching? What file system are you running in FreeBSD?

Alan Gutierrez ~ @bigeasy

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