I recently upgraded my Parallels Desktop 8 virtual machine from CentOS 6.3 to 6.4, and after restarting I found that CentOS wouldn’t boot properly.

I received the following error when running the “startx” command:

(EE) module ABI major version (10) doesn’t match the server’s version (13)

Turns out this error is related to the (non-native) video driver used by Parallels Desktop. The problem is caused by changes to the ABI for the X.org video drivers.


If your Linux system boots to a command prompt, e.g., runlevel 3, the solution is relatively easy. Simply run the Parallels Tools installation routine and uninstall Parallels Tools. After rebooting, install Parallels Tools again, and the boot problem should be fixed.

However if your system normally boots to the GUI, e.g., runlevel 5, you need to temporarily modify the kernal parameters to boot to runlevel 3 so you have access to the command prompt.

The following should get you to a command prompt:

Start the virtual machine.

At the boot countdown, press any key to get the boot menu. You’ll probably have to click the screen to get your key press to activate the menu.

Press a Key at the boot countdown.

Press a Key at the boot countdown.

When the boot menu appears, press the “a” key to modify the kernel arguements.

Select the Kernel version to boot

Press the “a” key to modify kernel boot arguements.

At the prompt, append a “3” to the end of the line. This instructs the kernel to boot to runlevel 3. Your boot command should look similar to the following:

crashkernel=auto rhgb quiet 3

Press the Return key to proceed with the boot.

Once you get to the command prompt, run the following command to uninstall Parallels Tools:

sudo /usr/lib/parallels-tools/install -r

Once Parallels Tools has been uninstalled, reboot the system.
Install Parallels Tools again, and the boot problem should be fixed.

The CentOS Wiki lists this as a known issue with CentOS 6.4 (see section 5).

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