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Verifying ESX/ESXi virtual machine file names (1003757)

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  • You want to rename a virtual machine
  • Unable to power on a virtual machine
  • Powering on a virtual machine fails
  • Cannot power on virtual machine
  • Error when attempting to power on a virtual machine: A file was not found


This article provides steps to verify the files names that are associated with a virtual machine. If there are any discrepancies between what a virtual machine expects to find and what is present, the virtual machine fails to power on.
This article outlines the correct procedure to follow when renaming a virtual machine and its associated files. The article also outlines methods of overcoming problems when these files become corrupted.


A manual name change of any file associated with a virtual machine may render the virtual machine unable to start.
Note: Avoid spaces, brackets, or non UTF-8 characters when naming virtual machines and their associated files.
To check the files that are associated with a virtual machine you can use the configuration file (.vmx file) of the virtual machine.
To find the configuration file location of your virtual machine you can use the vmware-cmd command. For more information on the vmware-cmd command, see the VMware Scripting API .
  1. Connect to the ESX host on which the virtual machine resides using SSH. For more information, see Opening a command or shell prompt (1003892) .
  2. Run this command:

    vmware-cmd –l

    This returns the paths to the configuration files of every virtual machine registered on that ESX Server host. For example, '/vmfs/volumes/storage1/vm1/vm1.vmx' .
After you can find the configuration file, check each file associated with your virtual machine.
You see entires similar to:
NVRAM File nvram = "vm1.nvram"
VMXF File extendedConfigFile = "vm1.vmxf"
Hard Disk (.vmdk file) scsi0:0.fileName = "vm1-000001.vmdk"
Hard Disk (.vmdk file) not located in same directory scsi0:1.fileName = "/vmfs/volumes/46b2f3ea-980a1c90-6724-001122334455/vm1/vm1DriveD.vmdk"
Swap File (.vswp) sched.swap.derivedName = "/vmfs/volumes/46b2f3eb-ced4c7d8-ccdd-001322557733/vm1/vm1-c8466559.vswp"
The file names listed in the configuration file are what the virtual machine expects and needs to find to power on.
If you are seeing File not found errors when trying to power on your virtual machine, the log files in your virtual machine directory indicate which file is causing the issue. For example:

 Mar 27 17:13:38.680: vmx| DISKLIB-LINK  : "/vmfs/volumes/46b2f3ea-980a1c90-6724-001122334455/vm1/vm1DriveD.vmdk" : failed to open (The system can not find the file specified)
To troubleshoot issues with file names of your virtual machine, see Verifying ESX/ESXi virtual machine file integrity (1003743) .


boot-guest-os cannot-rename-vm-files error-reported incorrect-naming-convention manual-name-change-of-file naming-convention rename-vm-files vm-files vm-power-on-fails

Update History

08/29/2013 - Removed Resolution Path out of Normalization Status. Added ESXi to title, and products.

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  • 17 Ratings