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ESXi 4.1.0 - Cannot install VMWARE Toools

Posted on 2010-08-20
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Warning message from host.domain.com: Unable to install VMware Tools. An error occurred while trying to access image file "/usr/lib/vmware/isoimages/windows.iso" needed to install VMware Tools: No such file or directory. If your product shipped with the VMware Tools package, reinstall VMware ESX, then try again to install the VMware Tools package in the virtual machine.

Server PowerEdge T105
Quad-Core AMD Opteron 1354
4GB Memore

Host Details:
Server 2008 SP2 x86

Troubleshooting steps performed:
Redownload, reimage and reinstall esxi

The path "/usr/lib/vmware/isoimages" does exist however, I cannot access the directory to validate windows.iso file exists.


Note:
I have downloaded the tools from VMware and have successfully installed them on the host but, I'm hoping to accomplish being able to install and update the tools in a normal fashion.  

I have read several posts and performed many steps before I decided to manually download the tools so, I'm giving this 500 points bases on the difficulty level.

Thanks in advance,

Brad
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Question by:bradster1969
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 33487396
You can enable SSH via vSphere Client and use WinSCP to browse to your directory to make sure the windows iso exists. If not, you'll have to reinstall ESXi. Have you tried that? I know it's a bit of a hassle, but given it only takes literally 6mins to install, it may instantly resolve this for you.

~coolsport00
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by:coolsport00
ID: 33487401
Scratch that...I just now saw, in between your statements, that you did the reinstall. My apologies :)

~coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 33487449
These KBs can help enable SSH for you:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1017910
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/8375637

~coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:bgoering
ID: 33487824
Has this failed on more than one attempted install of VMware tools? If you get this message try this:

1. Delete the virtual cd drive from the edit settings page of the guest
2. Check the .vmx file for any references to cd drive - delete them if they are there
3. Add a new cd drive to the guest
4. Try the install again

I have seen odd things where a cd device was left pointing to something else and VMware was unable to attach the tools iso image. This process has taken care of it for me.

Good Luck
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Author Comment

by:bradster1969
ID: 33487950
I have already enabled Tech Support Mode and I can see the dirctory "/usr/lib/vmware/isoimages", I cannot, for whatever reason, browse the contens of the isoimages folder.

Here's the results while trying to access the isoimages folder:
login as: root
root@esx1.mynet.com's password:
You have activated Tech Support Mode.
The time and date of this activation have been sent to the system logs.

VMware offers supported, powerful system administration tools.  Please
see www.vmware.com/go/sysadmintools for details.

Tech Support Mode may be disabled by an administrative user.
Please consult the ESXi Configuration Guide for additional
important information.

~ # cd /usr/lib/vmware
/usr/lib/vmware # ls
bin              ima_plugins      licenses         vnckeymap
esxcli           isoimages        settings
floppies         lib              tools-upgraders
hostd            lib64            vmkmod
/usr/lib/vmware # cd isoimages
-ash: cd: can't cd to isoimages
/usr/lib/vmware #
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Author Comment

by:bradster1969
ID: 33487964
I will perform the steps outlined by bgoering later today.
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Expert Comment

by:bgoering
ID: 33487978
try a ls -l /usr/lib/vmware I am interested to see permissions and attributes
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 33488087
Hmm...you can't access that folder? Wierd!...
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Author Comment

by:bradster1969
ID: 33489204
Permissions and attributes:

~ # cd /usr/lib/vmware
/usr/lib/vmware # ls
bin              ima_plugins      licenses         vnckeymap
esxcli           isoimages        settings
floppies         lib              tools-upgraders
hostd            lib64            vmkmod
/usr/lib/vmware # cd isoimages
-ash: cd: can't cd to isoimages
/usr/lib/vmware # ls -l /usr/lib/vmware
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                  6 May 19 00:15 bin -> /sbin/
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 esxcli
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 23 May 19 00:15 floppies -> /produ                          ctLocker/floppies
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 hostd
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                  5 May 19 00:15 ima_plugins -> /li                          b/
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 23 May 19 00:15 isoimages -> /prod                          uctLocker/vmtools/
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                  5 May 19 00:15 lib -> /lib/
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                  7 May 19 00:15 lib64 -> /lib64/
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 licenses
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 20 May 19 00:15 settings -> /etc/v                          mware/settings
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 30 May 19 00:15 tools-upgraders ->                           /productLocker/tools-upgraders
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 vmkmod
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 vnckeymap
/usr/lib/vmware # cls
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Expert Comment

by:bgoering
ID: 33489386
looks like isoimages is a link to /productLocker/vmtools

on my system that is a further link to /locker/packages/4.1.0/vmtools

which is a further link to /store/packages/4.1.0/vmtools

which is a further link to /vmfs/volumes/3c3693e8-f77a642a-1910-5c6bdcb26d3a/packages/4.1.0/vmtools (that long number with dashes wll be different on your system)

The links have broken down at some point... what I would do at this point is just copy the tools to an accessable datastore and mount them (unless you really want to fix the links)

See if you can cd /store/packages/4.1.0/vmtools and see if you can find the isos there... If so I can walk you through putting them where they will be browsable on the datastore

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Author Comment

by:bradster1969
ID: 33489587
The links don't seem to make sense... there are links that are subfolders, you can't reach because the partent folder (link) will link to another location so, I can't see the subfolder link.  In any event, I've tried (unsuccesfully) to track the links and browse folders searching relentlessly for the elusive windows.iso.

Is there a search I run?

I have re-downloaded and re-installed 3 times with the same result.  This doesn't make sense.

One last bit of infomation I discovered...

alt+f11 - there are some erros in red:
0:00:08.496 cpu1 :9064)Boot partition /bootbank cannot be found

???

Brad


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Expert Comment

by:bgoering
ID: 33489611
This works on my system....

/etc/vmware # cd /
~ # find . -name windows.iso
./vmfs/volumes/3c3693e8-f77a642a-1910-5c6bdcb26d3a/packages/4.1.0/vmtools/windows.iso
./vmfs/volumes/c2a427e4-2d317086-fef9-b5750d88536c/packages/4.0.0/vmtools/windows.iso
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Expert Comment

by:bgoering
ID: 33489670
Now that error message does sound like a bit of a concern. How did you get to this ESXi? Is it an upgrade from an earlier ESX version or a fresh install? ESXi installable or embedded. One thing you might try (if you haven't already) is to get the Dell customized install image for ESXi from http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/download.aspx?c=us&cs=2684&l=en&s=pub&releaseid=R270743&SystemID=PWE_R815&servicetag=&os=EX41&osl=en&deviceid=23519&devlib=0&typecnt=0&vercnt=1&catid=-1&impid=-1&formatcnt=0&libid=47&typeid=-1&dateid=-1&formatid=-1&source=-1&fileid=399336

Sometimes folks have better luck with the Vendor customized version. Let me know if you want to try that path
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Author Comment

by:bradster1969
ID: 33489679
Still no luck - you are using esxi 4.1.0 free version, correct?
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Expert Comment

by:bgoering
ID: 33489689
That is kind of correct - I installed it as the Free version (this is my home lab - can't afford much else here) but later installed vCenter server and reverted free version to "trial" mode for some testing.

It was previously ESXi 4.0 installed on the hard disk, the ESXi 4.1 I installed to an internal USB key - that is why you see paths to tools in my post above - I left the 4.0 on the box.
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by:bgoering
ID: 33489700
can you post the following?

ls -l /
ls -l /vmfs

and the contents of /etc/vmware/esx.conf

this has got me bothered now, especially with the bootbank error
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Author Comment

by:bradster1969
ID: 33489760
~ # ls -l /
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 bin
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 23:33 dev
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 00:07 etc
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 lib
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 lib64
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 12 Aug 19 17:07 locker -> /tmp/scratch
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 May 18 23:57 opt
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root             131072 Aug 20 23:33 proc
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 23 May 19 00:15 productLocker -> /locker/packages/4.1.0/
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 sbin
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 12 Aug 19 17:07 scratch -> /tmp/scratch
drwxrwxrwt    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 23:08 tmp
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 usr
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 var
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 vmfs
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 19 17:06 vmimages
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 18 May 19 00:15 vmupgrade -> /locker/vmupgrade/
~ #
~ # ls -l /vmfs
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                  5 May 19 00:15 devices -> /dev/
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 23:34 volumes


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Author Comment

by:bradster1969
ID: 33489763
See attached esx.conf file

esx.conf.txt
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by:bgoering
ID: 33489786
Hmmm - it looks a bunch different than mine - but I am going to do a fresh install of ESXi 4.1 in a VM and see what that looks like. And i should have asked for "ls -l /vmfs/volumes" I must be getting tired :)

Did you have any luck with that "find" command I posted earlier?
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Author Comment

by:bradster1969
ID: 33489878
Yes!  I had lots of luck, but it was all bad ;).  Nothing to report.
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 33489957
At this point "bradster" (sorry, was away picking up my son), I would just download the VMware Tools from VMware and run them manually...at least until we can figure out what the heck is going on. I had this happen on an ESXi 4.0 host, but didn't track down the 'why' it wasn't working. It was a production host and I wanted to get it (and the sole VM that's on it) up so I downloaded VMware Tools, installed it in the VM, and was done with it.
http://packages.vmware.com/tools/esx/index.html

~coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:bgoering
ID: 33490133
I guess at this point I don't have the best news for you. My freshly installed ESXi 4.1 looks pretty much like my other one. Here is the output from listing the root folder:

~ # ls -l /
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 49 Aug 20 21:10 altbootbank -> /vmfs/volumes/aaf08f7c-0aa40d3d-5a13-7502f2c6b8d8
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 21:10 bin
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 49 Aug 20 21:10 bootbank -> /vmfs/volumes/fee55972-15645eff-c336-8a6ba97424df
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 21:13 dev
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 21:13 etc
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 21:10 lib
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 21:10 lib64
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                  6 Aug 20 21:10 locker -> /store
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 May 18 23:57 opt
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root             131072 Aug 20 21:13 proc
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 23 May 19 00:15 productLocker -> /locker/packages/4.1.0/
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 21:10 sbin
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 49 Aug 20 21:10 scratch -> /vmfs/volumes/4c6eef46-d06eb055-10e1-000c29bba944
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 49 Aug 20 21:10 store -> /vmfs/volumes/3c3693e8-f77a642a-1910-5c6bdcb26d3a
drwxrwxrwt    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 21:12 tmp
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 21:10 usr
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 21:10 var
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 21:10 vmfs
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root                512 Aug 20 21:10 vmimages
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     root                 18 May 19 00:15 vmupgrade -> /locker/vmupgrade/
~ #

The symlinks if you follow them go to /locker /store and lead into /vmfs/volumes - which is where I find my iso files.

The find command finds the tools where I expect them to be

~ #
~ # find . -name windows.iso
./vmfs/volumes/3c3693e8-f77a642a-1910-5c6bdcb26d3a/packages/4.1.0/vmtools/windows.iso
~ #

for some reason - your system seems to be missing a bunch of symbolic links, if you noticed there should be one for /bootbank that your system is complaining about.

I haven't been able to find anything on this particular problem, even though I know what the problem is (more or less)

If you are up to it, you might plug a spare USB Stick into one of the USB ports and reinstall ESXi to the USB stick - that is actually how I am running my lab server at home. See if it creates things as it should with a different install location.

Good Luck
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Author Comment

by:bradster1969
ID: 33493837
After a reinstall, the system still has the /bootbank error.   The best part about this is, every time I reboot, I have to re-configure as if it was a new install.  This has got to be the weirdest installation I've ever seen.

Anyone see this error before?
0:00:01:48.222 cpu3:8322)Boot partition /bootbank cannot be found

This error is presnt on the console by typing alt+f11
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Accepted Solution

by:
bgoering earned 500 total points
ID: 33495254
As noted your symbolic links seem to be missing from your "ls -l /" output. bootbank and altbootbank are two such symbolic links that should point to /vmfs/volumes/Hypervisor1 and 2. Note that "HypervisorN" entries in /vmfs/vollumes are also symbolic links that point to GUID ids also in /vmfs/volumes. The third Hypervisor3 entry in /vmfs/volumes is a link to the area where various things (including your vmware tools iso files) are stored.

Now your note about having to reconfigure on reboot is because the system can't find /bootbank, the symlink is missing. on a "working system" bootbank will contain a file called state.tgz (local.tgz on ESXi embeeded systems) that contains the configuration info for ESXi. At boot time the system looks for this file in order to restore its configuration. As part of normal operations ESXi will refresh the state.tgz hourly, and it will also be refreshed as part of an orderly shutdown process. I have created situations in my lab environment where configuration changes were made,, the ESXi goes down hard (pull power plug) and the recent changes are lost. Anyway I digress from your issue.

I have no idea why your install is not creating the symlinks that it needs on your local hard drive. Again I would recommend plugging a USB flash drive into your server, reinstall ESXi onto the flash drive (when the installer sees more than one drive it gives you an option where to install) and see if it behaves better. If this causes it to work properly you can either run that way, or you can delete all the partitions on your local hard drive and try the reinstall again to see if it is some problem with what it is finding on your local hdd that is causing the isuue (this is what I suspect). Note that when you delete the partitions on your local hdd you will lose your local datastore - If you have VMs there you wish to keep then first copy them off with SCP or VEEAM FastSCP before you delete your partitions.

The install to USB key is a pretty quick test to see if that helps your situation.

Good Luck
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Author Comment

by:bradster1969
ID: 33525165
The datastores are all ISCSI so there is no risk to any data.  This is a test environment and there essentially is no urgency on this system.  I need to procure a flash drive, this will take me about a week.   I will provide an update once I've tried this with the flash drive.

Couple more things to note....

ESX 4 won't install, it doesn't recognize the hard disk.  It is installing to the local SATA drive via the on-board SATA controller.  As mentioned before, this is a Dell T105.  I believe there is a compatibility issue with the SATA controller
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 33525327
That's what it sounds like; you can check the VMware HCL for your model controller to see if it's compatible:
http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php

~coolsport00
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Expert Comment

by:bgoering
ID: 33525409
At the start of this I did verify the T105 was on the HCL, but had no controller info so didn't check for that. If the server is listed as compatible, I had always thought any configuration of the server (from the manufacturere) would also be compatible. But, as coolsport00 says, it doesn't hurt to check the HCL.

Seeing as the ESX install isn't finding the hard disk - that may certainly be the case. But won't make a lot of difference because it should see the USB key.

Keep us posted!
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Author Comment

by:bradster1969
ID: 33527840
bgoering: as you mentioned the T105 is listed in the HCL but, there is an optional 6i sata/sas combo card that ships with this model.  My server doesn not have this card but I do see the optional controller in the HCL.

I will report back when I get the flash drive.
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Author Comment

by:bradster1969
ID: 33679123
Installing on the flash drive works perfectly and will allow me to accomplish what I need to do.  I appreciate every one's patronage in resolving this issue.

For the record, the T105 is listed on the HCL however, will NOT work without the accompaniment of the optional 6i sata/sas combo controller.
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