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Powering on a virtual machine fails with the error: Cannot open the disk (1038189)

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  • Powering on the virtual machine fails.
  • You see the error:

    An unexpected error was received from the ESX host while powering on VM VM_name.
    Cannot open the disk disk_name or one of the snapshot disks it depends on.

    Where Reason is one of these:

    • Reason: Failed to lock the file.
    • Reason: The file specified is not a virtual disk.
    • Reason: The parent virtual disk has been modified since the child was created.


  • The error Failed to lock the file means that another process is opening the file and the process you are using cannot open the file properly.

    This typically occurs if you:

    • Attempt to start a second virtual machine using the same virtual machine configuration .vmx file.
    • Power on a virtual machine with mounted disks using the vmware-mount utility.
    • Try to turn on a virtual machine through the user interface during a snapshot operation.
    • Try to add a virtual disk to a virtual machine that is already in use.
  • The error The file specified is not a virtual disk can occur if the file you are pointing at is not a virtual machine.

    To resolve this issue, remove the disk from the virtual machine and re-add it. When you re-add it, you can use the datastore browser to locate the disk on one of your datastores.

  • The error The parent virtual disk has been modified since the child was created occurs when snapshots are in a bad state, either through manual intervention or through a system failure.

    To resolve this issue, see Resolving the CID mismatch error: The parent virtual disk has been modified since the child was created (1007969).
  • This article is updated regularly with other reasons which may cause this issue. Check this article for updates.
  • If you see a different reason for the failure, open a support request with VMware Support. For more information, see How to file a Support Request in My VMware (2006985).

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  • 92 Ratings

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  • 92 Ratings