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Troubleshooting when virtual machine options are grayed out in vSphere Client (2048748)

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In vSphere client, you experience these symptoms:
  • Virtual machine operations are grayed out.
  • You are unable to perform operations on the virtual machine.
  • Menu options are grayed out when you right-click the virtual machine.
  • You see the error:

    Another task in progress


This article provides troubleshooting steps when virtual machine options are grayed out in vSphere Client.


This issue occurs when:
  • Permissions are not set correctly.
  • There are virtual machine tasks running in the background.
  • The .vmx file is corrupted.
  • There are invalid arguments in the .vmx file.


Note: The virtual machine must be powered off to edit the .vmx file as required.

Permissions are not set correctly

To troubleshoot this issue:
  1. Ensure there are sufficient permissions on the virtual machine. In vSphere Client, select the virtual machine. Click the Permission tab. Ensure that sufficient permissions are applied to the user/group.
  2. If permissions are defined at a host, cluster, datacenter or vCenter level, apply the required permissions to the user or group to edit the virtual machine settings.
There are virtual machine tasks running in the background

Virtual machine tasks that cannot be seen in the vSphere Client Tasks & Events tab or in the Recent Tasks pane may be running in the background.

To check if other virtual machine tasks are running in the background: 
  1. Log in to the ESXi host using SSH or on the console. For more information, see Tech Support Mode for Emergency Support (1003677) or Using ESXi Shell in ESXi 5.0 and 5.1 (2004746).
  2. List all registered virtual machines by running the command:

    vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms

    Note: Make note of the vmid for the problem virtual machine.

  3. To check tasks running on the virtual machine, run the command:

    vim-cmd vmsvc/get.tasklist vmid

    Note: If a task is running on that virtual machine, you see output listing the tasks. For example:


    Note: Wait for the task(s) to finish before performing operations on the virtual machine.

    If there is no task running on that virtual machine, you see output:

    (ManagedObjectReference) []

The .vmx file is corrupted

The .vmx file associated with the virtual machine may be corrupted. The .vmx file size displays as zero and the content may be garbled or empty. For more information, see Powering on a virtual machine fails with the error: A general system error occurred (1006232).

There are blank lines or invalid arguments in the .vmx file

To check if the .vmx file contains blank lines or invalid arguments:

Caution: Take a backup of the .vmx file before modifying it.

  1. Open the .vmx file using a text editor.
  2. Search for any blank lines and delete them.

    Note: To delete a line using vi editor, press d twice.

  3. Compare the .vmx file with a working virtual machine .vmx file and see if there is any invalid arguments.
  4. To apply the changes, reload the .vmx file by running the command:

    vim-cmd vmsvc/reload vmid

    For more information, see Tips for editing a .vmx file (1714).

    : The default location of the .vmx file:


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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  • 39 Ratings