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Network adapter disappears from a Windows virtual machine (1020718)

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  • A virtual machine is no longer accessible from the network through RDP or some other method.
  • A virtual machine can only be accessed directly from the VMware vSphere Console.
  • The virtual NIC intermittently disappears from the Network Properties on your Windows guest operating system.
  • The virtual NIC disappears from Inventory on the virtual machine's Properties and appears to have been deleted.
  • In the settings and the configuration file of the virtual machine, the adapter is no longer listed.
  • In the /vmfs/volumes/datastore/vm_name/vmware.log file of the affected virtual machine, you see entries similar to:

    <YYYY-MM-DD>T<TIME>.153Z| vcpu-3| I120: Ethernet0 MAC Address: xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
    <YYYY-MM-DD>T<TIME>.264Z| vcpu-0| A115: ConfigDB: Setting Ethernet0.pciSlotNumber = "-1"
    <YYYY-MM-DD>T<TIME>.369Z| vcpu-0| A115: ConfigDB: Setting Ethernet0.present = "FALSE"

    <YYYY-MM-DD>T<TIME>.442Z| vcpu-0| I120: Powering off Ethernet0
    <YYYY-MM-DD>T<TIME>.444Z| vcpu-0| I120: Hot removal done.

    Note: The preceding log excerpts are only examples. Date, time, and environmental variables may vary depending on your environment.  


When Network adapter disappears from a Windows virtual machine, add an identical NIC to the virtual machine to resolve this issue.


ESX/ESXi 4.x and later version included a feature called HotPlug. In some deployments virtual NICs can appear as removable devices on the System Tray in Windows guest operating systems. Problems can occur if you mistake this device for one that you can safely remove. This is particularly true in VMware View environments, where interaction with the Desktop is constant.

Note: Do not remove virtual NICs from the Windows System Tray.


To resolve this issue, add an identical NIC to the virtual machine.

After adding the NIC, verify that the configuration is available within the guest operating system.
  1. Click Start > Run, type cmd, and click OK. The command prompt appears.
  2. In the command prompt, run these commands to display the devices present:

    set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

  3. Click View.
  4. Click Show Hidden Devices.
  5. Expand Network Adapters.
  6. Verify the network interfaces.
Note: To prevent this from recurring, disable the hotplug feature. For more information, see Disabling the HotAdd/HotPlug capability in ESX/ESXi 4.x and ESXi 5.0 virtual machines (1012225).

To disable the HotPlug capability by editing the .vmx file:

  1. Power off the virtual machine.
  2. Connect to the ESX service console using an SSH client.
  3. Open the virtual machine configuration file (.vmx) using a text editor. The default location is:


  4. Add the line:

    devices.hotplug = "false"

  5. Save an close the file.
  6. Power on the virtual machine.
  1. Connect to the ESXi/ESX host or vCenter Server using the vSphere Client.
  2. Power off the virtual machine.
  3. Right-click the virtual machine and click Edit Settings.
  4. Click the Options tab.
  5. Click General > Configuration Parameters > Add Row.
  6. Insert a new row with the name devices.hotplug and set its value to false.
  7. Power on the virtual machine.
Note: Do not edit the virtual machine configuration file when the virtual machine is running.

Additional Information

For more information, see:

See Also

Update History

03/12/2015 - Added ESXi 6.0 and vCenter Server 6.0 to Products.

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


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