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VM Hung on Startup


Permalink 10:03:02 pm by guy, Categories: VMWare

Recently I had a VM on one of our ESX3 servers that I tried to start up. When I tried to start it it just hung. The VM didn’t start but options to cycle power, start, restart, or shutdown were unavailable for the VM so I really couldn’t do anything. I certainly didn’t want to shut down the ESX3 Server as a method to resolve the problem, so I searched for solutions.

The only thing that I could come up with was to kill the VM. I did my normal Google searches and found the following procedures. If I remembered where they came from I would give credit.

Lets pretend the VMName is SVApp01 and it is located at /vmfs/volumes/VM-SCSI_OS_1/SVApp01/

  • Login to the service console for the ESX Server hosting the hung VM
  • Check the VM state by typing
    vmware-cmd /vmfs/volumes/VM-SCSI_OS_1/SVApp01/SVApp01.vmx getstate
  • Type ps -ef | grep SVApp01
  • The second column is your pid of the vmkload_app of the Virtual Machine, you can also type ps –eaf to see all running processes
  • Type kill -9 XXX where XXX is the pid your found in the last step
  • Check VM state again, it should now be off
  • Type vmware-cmd /vmfs/volumes/VM-SCSI_OS_1/SVApp01/SVApp01.vmx start to power on the VM (or do it through Virtual Center or the Web Interface.

I have not tried this method, but I’ll include it anyway:
ESX 3.0 Alternate method

  • Login to the service console
  • Get the vmid of the VM you want to kill by typing vm-support –x
  • Kill the VM and generate core dumps and logs by typing vm-support –X XXX where XXX is the VMID you found in the last step.
  • You will be prompted if you want to include a screenshot of the VM, send an NMI to the VM and send a ABORT to the VM, you must answer Yes to the ABORT question to kill the VM. The entire process will take about 5-10 minutes to run. It will create a tar archive in the directory you run it in.

Another possibility:
If you are using Virtual Center and the VM that appears hung inside VirtualCenter but does not appear to be running at all when checking the running processes from the console then log into the Virtual Center server and restart the “Virtual Center” service. When It restarts you should be able to control the instance again.

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I'm a generalist, at least if I'm honest. In my job I am primarily a developer, but also a sysadmin, and (as little as possible) technical support. I know a little about a lot of things, a lot about some things, and everything about nothing. Here I will post random learnings...


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