Search the VMware Knowledge Base (KB)
View by Article ID

Virtual Machines Won't Start on an ESX Server System After Root Partition Is Filled (1987)

  • 3 Ratings


You have ESX Server 2.5 running on a machine that ran out of disk space. After you recovered the disk space, no virtual machines start on this server.
Some error messages you might see include:
Failed to power on the VM. See the virtual machine event log for details.
The event logs says:

Operation failed to change the VM to the expected power state.
Running vmware-cmd start from service console reports:
(VMControl error -15: Protocol error: Malformed response from server)


The configuration file /etc/vmware/config can become corrupted when the root partition runs out of free space. If the file is corrupted, the virtual machines cannot start.

To verify that a corrupted configuration file is the problem:

  1. Log on to the service console as root.
  2. Look at the configuration file (cat /etc/vmware/config). If the file is blank or only has one line, it is corrupted.

To resolve this problem:

  1. Copy a backed-up version of /etc/vmware/config to the system that contains the corrupted file. If you do not have a backup, you may also copy the file from another similar ESX Server system.
  2. Reboot the ESX Server system.
  3. Power on the virtual machines.

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.


  • 3 Ratings

Did this article help you?
This article resolved my issue.
This article did not resolve my issue.
This article helped but additional information was required to resolve my issue.

What can we do to improve this information? (4000 or fewer characters)

Please enter the Captcha code before clicking Submit.
  • 3 Ratings