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HOW TO: Fix the Error loading /s.v00 Fatal error: 33 (Inconsistent data) in the VMware vSphere Hypervisor

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
MVE^2, Expert of the Year 2017-2011, Scribe 2016-2012, Author of the Year 2017-6,2013-2012 VMware vExpert 2018-2011 27 years of experience.
In my previous Experts Exchange Articles, most have featured Basic and Intermediate VMware and Virtualisation Topics.

If you would like to read my Basic VMware articles,  they are listed here for your convenience.

During this series of articles VMware released VMware vSphere 5.5 and VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.5. These articles are also applicable to VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.x and 5.5. For consistency, I have used VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.1 through this series.

In this article we will show you HOW TO: Fix the Error loading /s.v00 Fatal error: 33 (Inconsistent data) in the VMware vSphere Hypervisor. This method can be used with any version of the VMware vSphere Hypervisor from 4.0 to 5.5.

I feel this is a little more advanced, so I've not included it in the Basic VMware article series, as it does require some basic Linux skills and command usage.

Please note before you make any changes to a Production VMware vSphere Hypervisor Host server, which is hosting virtual machines, it is important to ensure you have valid backups of your virtual machines.

See my Experts Exchange article here - Part 10: HOW TO: Backup (Export) and Restore (Import) virtual machines to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 for FREE if you want to use a quick and free method to backup important virtual machines.

If you perform a Google Search for Fix the Error loading /s.v00 Fatal error: 33 (Inconsistent data) you are likely to stumble across the VMware Community forums, where VMware Administrators have reported this issue, or you will find the VMware Knowledgebase Article (2008817)
Error loading /s.v00 Fata error: 33 (Inconsistent data) in the VMware vSphere Hypervisor
The issue is caused by either a corrupted file or faulty flash media if installed to USB flash drive or SD card, this fault can occur at random.

I'm writing this article, HOW TO: Fix the Error loading /s.v00 Fatal error: 33 (Inconsistent data) in the VMware vSphere Hypervisor, because this has recently occurred to me three times, on different occasions, at different sites with servers from different manufacturers after changing Advanced Settings on the ESXi host. After a server restart the server fails to boot with Error loading /s.v00 Fatal error: 33 (Inconsistent data).

The VMware knowledgebase would suggest reinstalling the ESXi OS. This however would result in a virgin installation and all the configuration would be lost, so reconfiguration would be required before the server could return to production.

This is how I fixed the issue.

Software Prerequisites

a copy of the file from a working installation of the VMware Hypervisor ESXi, e.g. /bootbank/s.v00
USB Imaging Tool by Alexander Beug from http://www.alexpage.de/

One of the following desktop hypervisors

1. Check the existing USB flash media or SD card for damage.

Remove the suspect USB flash drive or SD card from the physical server.
Download and install
USB Imaging Tool by Alexander Beug from http://www.alexpage.de/
Start the USB Imaging Tool application and create an image of the USB flash drive, this will create a backup copy of the flash drive, and whilst it reads the USB flash drive, it will detect and report any CRC checks if the flash drive has been damaged.
Backup ESXi USB flash driveI prefer to work on backups, rather than the production USB flash drive, when recovering installations, so using the USB Imaging Tool, you can use the previous backup image, to restore to a brand new good quality USB flash drive or SD card (e.g. HP, SanDisk, PNY, Lexar, Kingston).

2. Confirm the USB flash drive or SD card is Faulty using a virtual machine

To confirm if the VMware Hypervisor installation is faulty, I connect the backup USB flash drive I've created in Step 1, to a virtual machine, and try to start the Hypervisor. I'm using

in this guide, but any hypervisor can be used.

Create a small footprint VMware ESXi 5.0 Server virtual machine template, as long as the minimum requirements are met, you can BOOT the OS. e.g. 2 vCPUs, 2GB RAM, 40GB (thin hard disk) to test the USB flash drive.
VMware Workstation 9 ESXi Server Virtual Machine SettingsAndy's Handy Tip VMware Workstation cannot normally BOOT from a USB device, because the USB device needs to be available and connected to the VM before the VM is powered-on, and USB devices can only be connected to a VM, when the VM is powered on. Catch22!! So I use the Plop Boot Manager 5.0 LiveCD iso from http://www.plop.at/en/bootmanager/plpbt.bin.htm. Connect the ISO to the CD ROM drive and BOOT the Virtual Machine as normal.
Virtual Machine BOOTED with Plop Boot ManagerEnsure the USB flash drive media to test is inserted and connected to the VM, select USB in the virtual machine.
VMware Hypervisor Bootstrap 1.jpgVMware Hypervisor BootstrapError loading s.v00This confirms the USB flash drive has a corrupted file.

3. Replacing the corrupted file using SLAX

Power down the existing virtual machine, created in Step 2, and connect the Slax Linux pocket operating system Linux from http://www.slax.org/ to the virtual machine.

We will use the Slax Linux pocket operating system to mount the VMware Hypervisor (ESXi) partitions to fix the corrupted file, by replacing with a known working version.
SLAX BOOT1SLAX BOOT2SLAX BOOTedEnsure that the backup USB flash drive containing the VMware Hypervisor OS is connected to the virtual machine, I've also copied a working copy of the file s.v00 to another USB flash drive, ensure this is also connected to the virtual machine.
terminal mode, and dmesg reports usb devciesOpen a terminal, and run the command dmesg, you should be able to see the two connected USB flash drives. In this guide, device [sdb] is a Kingston DT 100 G2 4GB flash drive which contains the faulty OS, with the corrupted file, and device [sdc] Kingston DataTraveler 2.0 16GB flash drive contains the new file s.v00.

In the next few steps we will mount the USB flash drives partitions, and checksum the files, and finally copy and replace the corrupted file.

Type the following in the terminal windowterminal mount commandsmkdir /mnt/sdb5 - create a folder directory for the mounted partition for the ESXi.
mkdir /mnt/sdc1 - create a folder directory for the mounted partition.
mount /dev/sdb5 /mnt/sdb5 - mount the ESXi OS flash drive partition.
mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/sdc1 - mount the flash drive partition.

Type the following commandschecksum commandsls -al /mnt/sdc1/s.v00 - check flash drive for file s.v00
md5sum /mnt/sdc1/s.v00 - checksum file ensure matches working copy from host.
ls -al /mnt/sdb5/s.v00 - check corrupted version
md5sum /mnt/sdb5/s.v00 - checksum corrupted file.

Type the following commands to copy the working copy of the file s.v00 to the ESXi OS faulty media.
copy commandscp /mnt/sdc1/s.v00 /mnt/sdb5
md5sum /mnt/sdb/s.v00
umount /mnt/sdb5
umount /mnt/sdc1

Exit terminal mode, disconnect the USB flash drives from the SLAX virtual machine.

Repeat Step 2 above.

You should find the server successfully boots, and the ESXi USB flash drive installation media, has been successfully repaired.

Congratulations, you have successfully Fixed the the Error loading /s.v00 Fatal error: 33 (Inconsistent data) in the VMware vSphere Hypervisor.

Thank you for reading my article, please leave valuable feedback. If you liked my VMware article and would like to see more Articles from me, please click the Yes button near the: Was this article helpful? at the bottom of this article just below and to the right of this information. Thank You. Do not forget if you have a question about this article or another VMware, Virtualisation, Windows Server 2012 question, why not post a Question for me and the other Experts Exchange Experts in the VMware, Virtualisation, Windows 2008, Windows 2012 Zones. I look forward to hearing from you. - Andy :- twitter @einsteinagogo

Expert Comment

by:Joost Kuin
Hi Andrew,

I have a problem similar to what you describe in this article.
However, in my case the file that seems to be corrupted is: "vmware_f.v00"
screenshotI can't seem to find an original correct copy of this file.
It is not anywhere on the install ISO nor could i find it on a running host of the same version of ESXi 5.1.799733
Do you know where to find  "vmware_f.v00"?

Thanx in advance!
LVL 129

Author Comment

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
@sabofx Please post a question and myself or other Experts will be glad to assist.
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Expert Comment

Did you try booting from the altbootbank first?
At boot hit shift+r and then y to revert back.

You can also try an "in place upgrade" i.e. boot to the installer and choose to upgrade using your current install media. This will preserver the current config while refreshing the boot files.

You may have to reapply some updates - run a check in vum.

If both of those fail you probably have bad media and should replace it, reinstall, and then restore config from the community config backup script or host profiles or third party backup.
LVL 129

Author Comment

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
@Member_2_7965906 The article is how to fix the issue, many ways to skin a rabbit!

Expert Comment

Hi. Thanks a lot for writing this article!
I managed to replace the file, but still get the same error.
Is there a way to check that I get the right version of the s.v00 file?
LVL 129

Author Comment

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Than ks for reading my article, and finding it useful, I think it would be better to post a question, and we can discuss the issue at length, and maybe solve your issue.

Expert Comment

by:Patrick Mwirumubi
Hi Andrew,
This is a fantastic read. I am faced with the same issue the difference is the file that it is trying to load is sb.v00.

Error while booting
I found the file in VMware-VMvisor-Installer-201512001-3248547.x86_64.iso  (i suggest you get the file from the version of ESXi iso that you installed from) as it is the same size as the one on the partition where it will be replaced. Note that this file is on an inaccessible partition through windows but once mounted in Linux as shown in Step 3 you can copy it on there.

After this my VMware Esxi 5.5 booted without a problem.
LVL 129

Author Comment

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Glad you liked my article.

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