Windows : VMware Workstation VM fail to boot after crash with snapshot

By | July 13, 2019

Well this is embarrassing, my 11 years old workstation crashed while I had several VMware Workstation guests running (thanks for all those years of flawless runtime!).

All my VMs had auto-snapshots enabled, meaning that VMware Workstation was automatically taking snapshots of my development VMs every day. Guests VMs with snapshot does not react so well when hard crash occur – unfortunately this was my case.

Once I had my new computer up, connected my old data drives and attempted to start the VMs – Surprise! – The following error occurred :

The process cannot access the file because another process has locked a portion of the file

Cannot open the disk ‘X:\Path\To\VM\Guest-000001.vmdk’ or one of the snapshot disks it depends on.

Module ‘Disk’ power on failed.

Failed to start the virtual machine.

First of all, I copied all VMs to a safe location before attempting any further actions. Then, did the following attempts :

1. Remove all “*.lck” files/folders ;
2. Import the VM guest(s) to VMware Workstation ;
3. Take a new snapshot ;
4. Delete the oldest snapshot ;
5. [Optional step based on the state of your vDisk] VMware Workstation may complain about vDisk that require repair – if this is the case, using the Command Prompt. go to :

And run the following command to repair the vDisk :

6. Have a look in the Snapshot Manager if any snapshot remains – delete if required – if it fail, take a new one and delete ;
7. Start the guest VM.

Note : Step 3, taking a new snapshot before removing the existing ones did all the difference in my case, just deleting existing snapshots bricked the vmdk files, taking a new one first worked the magic!

At this point, your old guest(s) VM(s) should be starting without issue, hopefully!