VirtualBox bug freezing display

While working on a virtual machine running Ubuntu 12.04 recently, I encountered some behavior in Chromium and Chrome that made me start to regret uninstalling Firefox. When links or menu items were clicked, the browsers would appear unresponsive as if they were frozen. If the browser window was moved or minimized, the rendered portion of the page would stay where it was on the screen, blocking other items. Quite often, these problems would lead to VirtualBox crashing entirely. Even relatively simple pages could cause Chromium and Chrome to hang and crash.

Based on the posts, this VirtualBox bug seems to be tied to VirtualBox’s 3D acceleration handling and has been seen in Linux Mint and Xubuntu as well. Luckily, these rendering issues can be avoided by disabling 3D acceleration.

Bug workaround

Rather than completely disable all 3D acceleration, it turns out there’s a command line switch that will tell Chromium and Chrome what to do!

--blacklist-accelerated-composting

Open the appropriate file for your situation.

/usr/share/applications/google-chrome.desktop
/usr/share/applications/chromium-browser.desktop

Just append the flag to the end of the Exec= lines in your file.

[Desktop Entry]
...
Exec=google-chrome-stable %U --blacklist-accelerated-compositing
...
[Desktop Action NewWindow]
...
Exec=google-chrome-stable --blacklist-accelerated-compositing
...
[Desktop Action Incognito]
...
Exec=google-chrome-stable --incognito --blacklist-accelerated-compositing
[Desktop Action TempProfile]
...
Exec=google-chrome-stable --temp-profile --blacklist-accelerated-compositing
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