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Troubleshooting and Frequently Asked Questions for space reclamation in VMware Horizon View (2039907)

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  • View desktops do not reclaim space when you have enabled the space reclamation feature in VMware Horizon View.
  • Space reclamation does not work in VMware Horizon View.


This article provides information on the space reclamation feature in VMware Horizon View.


For the space reclamation feature to work correctly, ensure that:
  • VMware Tools provided with vSphere version 5.1 or later are installed on the virtual machine.
  • The virtual machine is using virtual hardware version 9 or later.
  • In the View Administrator console, the Reclaim VM disk space option is selected for the vCenter Server. For more information, see Allow vSphere to Reclaim Disk Space in Linked-Clone Virtual Machines section in the VMware Horizon View 7.3 Administration Guide.
  • In the View Administrator console, the Reclaim VM disk space option is selected for the desktop pool. For more information, see Reclaim Disk Space on Linked-Clone Desktops section in the VMware Horizon View 7.3  Administration Guide.
  • The virtual machine is powered on before you initiate the space reclamation operation.
  • There is a space that can be reclaimed. This space exists when data is deleted from the guest OS. Sending files to the Recycle Bin does not delete them.
  • The virtual machine is using SCSI disks.
  • Changed Block Tracking (CBT) is disabled on the parent virtual machine.


This is a list of possible issues you may encounter with the space reclamation feature in VMware Horizon View 5.2 or 5.3.

Issue 1

In vCenter Server tasks, you see the error:

Task: Wipe a Flex-SE virtual disk
Status: A general system error occurred: Wipe Disk failed: Failed to complete wipe operation.

Possible cause:
VMware Tools has not been upgraded to the latest version provided with the host, which must be version 5.1 or later.

Upgrade the VMware Tools in the guest OS, then reboot the guest OS.

Issue 2

  • The vmware.log in the virtual machine folder contains messages similar to:

    11-14T18:48:52.922Z| vcpu-0| I120: ToolsRpcDiskWipeProgress: progress response: No wipable disks found
    11-14T18:48:52.922Z| vcpu-0| W110: DiskVigorWipeProgressCB: Wipe progress RPC Error: No wipable disks found

Possible cause:
The virtual machine does not have SCSI disks.

The disk (the OS virtual disk in View) must be SCSI, not IDE. Space reclamation does not work on IDE virtual disks.

Issue 3

  • When space reclamation is launched, you see this event in vCenter Server:

    General system error: Wipe disk failed

  • In the vmware.log file, you see messages similar to:

    <YYYY-MM-DD>T<TIME>.006Z| vcpu-0| I120: ToolsRpcDiskWipeProgress: progress response: No wipable disks found
    <YYYY-MM-DD>T<TIME>.006Z| vcpu-0| W110: DiskVigorWipeProgressCB: Wipe progress RPC Error: No wipable disks found

  • In the VMware Tools log file, you see messages similar to:

    [Nov 23 14:44:55.646] [    info] [vmsvc] Could not initialize backend for drive C:\: 50
    [Nov 23 14:44:55.646] [ warning] [diskWiper] Mount point C:\ is not wipable
    [Nov 23 14:44:55.646] [    info] [vmsvc] Device specifically advertises its NON-TP nature, bailing out.
    [Nov 23 14:44:55.646] [    info] [vmsvc] Failed to get Initialize SCSI Backend TP Device \\.\PhysicalDrive2 status 50.

  • When you run the grep scsi *vmx command, you see output similar to:

    $ grep scsi *vmx

    scsi0:0.present = "TRUE"
    scsi0:0.fileName = "wlabsetest1-checkpoint.vmdk"
    scsi0:0.deviceType = "scsi-hardDisk"
    scsi0:0.ctkEnabled = "TRUE"

CBT is enabled for the virtual machine.

If CBT is enabled on an SE sparse disk based pool, then space reclamation does not work.

To work around this issue, disable CBT on the parent virtual machine and recompose the pool.

Disable CBT for the OS disk (typically scsi0:0 ). For more information, see Enabling Changed Block Tracking (CBT) on virtual machines (1031873).

Note: Space reclamation only affects the OS disk, so disable the CBT on the OS disk only.

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions 

Will the replica virtual machine use space efficient sparse (SE) virtual disks?

No, it does not grow. So, shrink is not needed.

Is space reclamation a resource intensive task?

Yes, this is why it is only performed when there are considerable savings to be gained (the minimum is 1 GB of savings per virtual machine). Additionally, it is serialized as it is an important operation, but not urgent.

What happens if one host in the cluster is not 5.1? Will I be able to turn on the switch on vCenter Server for space reclamation?

You can enable space reclamation on the vCenter Server level. However, when you create an automated pool at pool level, it detects that you have a mixed ESXi environment and disallows the use of the space reclamation feature.

When you mark a virtual machine for space reclamation (using vdmadmin), will the reclamation happen even if the space to be reclaimed is less than the established threshold?

Yes, it runs regardless of threshold.

Will the reclamation happen immediately?

Yes, it runs after a few minutes if blackout is not configured for the same period.

Is there any way to see how much space could be reclaimed for a virtual machine beforehand?


Can the wipe/shrink be initiated from the guest OS?


Can space reclamation be enabled on existing pools?

Yes. For more information, see the Horizon View Documentation Center

vdmadmin -M sometimes has little or no output. Is there any way to make it verbose? And is there a log file for vdmadmin commands?


Why there is a per vCenter Server switch and a per pool switch for space reclamation?

This feature allows you to disable space reclamation on all pools from a single place, rather than having to edit pool settings individually.

I have an existing pool. I want to enable space reclamation but it is grayed out. Why?

Click the question mark [?] character to display the reason.

If you see the error VM disk space reclamation is not available because space efficient disk format is disabled for this pool, see Can space reclamation be enabled on existing pools?

If I manually trigger space reclamation during the blackout window, will the reclamation happen?

No. The blackout window is respected even for manual reclamation tasks.

How do I know when the next reclamation task will happen?

Space reclamation runs once per day for the desktop. The broker has a background process to scan and calculate free space, and when the guest OS free space meets the threshold, it will run within the next two hours. Of course, space reclamation does not run during the blackout period.

Is space reclamation compatible with other storage technologies?

Space reclamation is not compatible with VAAI (vStorage API for Array Integration) introduced in View Manager 5.1.

Space reclamation is compatible with CBRC (Content Based Read Cache), but not with VAAI or CBT (Changed Block Tracking).

These guidelines apply to the space reclamation feature:
  • It operates only on space-efficient OS disks in linked clones.
  • It does not affect View Composer persistent disks.
  • It works only with vSphere 5.1 or later and only on desktops that are virtual hardware version 9 or later.
  • It does not operate on full-clone desktops.
  • It operates on virtual machines with SCSI controllers. IDE controllers are not supported.
  • It operates on Windows XP and Windows 7 desktops only. It does not operate on Windows 8 desktops.

See Also

Update History

02/25/2013 - Updated the Additional Information section with Q13 04/24/2013 - The Purpose section was changed to reflect the fact that this KB is now available for public. 01/16/2014 - Added VMware Horizon View 5.3 to products list, edited document to include 5.3.

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