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Understanding the message: The CPU has been disabled by the guest operating system (2000542)

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  • A VMware virtual machine stops running and reports the error:

  • The CPU has been disabled by the guest operating system. Power off or reset the virtual machine.
Note: For additional error and log entries, see the Additional information section.


This article intends to only assist with gathering troubleshooting information that must be provided to the guest operating system vendor and to resolve the issue you must contact the guest operating system vendor.

The error message is seen when a guest operating system running in a VMware virtual machine intentionally halts the virtual CPU by executing the instructions CLI and HLT in succession. This can occur during a critical error or fault within the Guest OS.

Technical Details

The CLI (Clear Interrupts) instruction clears the interrupt flag, preventing further interrupts from being serviced until they are re-enabled. The HLT (Halt) instruction halts the CPU until the next interrupt is fired. This combination will prevent any future interrupts from being serviced, intentionally hanging the CPU. When executed on a VMware virtual machine's vCPU, this combination results in the vCPU stopping and a message reported in the logs and user interface.

Issuing the HLT instruction requires ring 0 access, and can only be run by privileged system software such as the Guest OS kernel. Issuing the CLI instruction requires ring 0,1,2 access, and is often restricted to only ring 0 during Guest OS kernel startup. This message usually indicates a critical fault within the Guest OS kernel, though more detailed analysis is required to determine the root cause.


This event is caused by actions in the guest operating system. To determine the, collect all information from the virtual machine prior to beginning analysis.

This error can occur in:
  • Windows virtual machines - Caused by the guest operating system crashing (BSOD).
  • Linux virtual machines - Caused by kernel panic can also generate those messages.
Note: For kernel panic, check if guest is configured to capture a kernel dump core file. Refer to your guest OS vendor documentation for the procedure on how to capture and analyse the core dump file.

Collect information from the current outage:

  1. Identify the virtual machine and time of the outage.
  2. Take a screenshot of the virtual machine's console and note the error messages.
  3. Suspend the virtual machine and copy the checkpoint suspend (.vmss) and memory image (.vmem) (if present) from the virtual machine directory. Set the files aside.
  4. Convert the checkpoint suspend files (.vmss and .vmem) from the virtual machine into a core dump file using the vmss2core utility. For more information, see the Debugging Virtual Machines with the Checkpoint to Core Tool technical note.
  5. Resume the virtual machine to the suspended state, then reset the virtual machine to start the GuestOS.
  6. Collect logs from the GuestOS kernel leading up to the outage. For more information, engage the guest operating system vendor.
  7. Collect logs from the host leading up to the outage.

Additional Information

You see these additional symptoms:

In the virtual machine's log file, you see message similar to:

Vix: [nnnnnnn vmxCommands.c:nnnn]: VMAutomation_HandleCLIHLTEvent. Do nothing


CPU disabled, Guest OS Reset

See Also

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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