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Windows 2008 R2 VM Network TCP/IP configuration disappears  when I restart a cloned VM

Posted on 2013-05-29
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Last Modified: 2013-06-25
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BEFORE RESPONDING!

I have a bunch of Windows 2008 R2 (with SP1) virtual machines on VMWare VSphere 5 hosts.  These VMs were originally created with E1000 virtual NICs, and later changed to VMXNET3 NICs.

When I clone one of these VMs
 - The Windows OS sees the NIC as a new adapter, even though the virtual hardware is identitical.   So I have to set the TCP/IP config.
- After I set the TCP/IP config, networking is working (e.g. I can PING www.google.com)
- When I restart the computer (or just disable/enabled the network adapter), several wierd things happen:
   - Networking stops working
   - IPCONFIG shows the network adapater has an autoconfig address (169....).
   - The GUI for setting TCP/IP settings shows the expected IP and netmask, but the gateway is blank.
   - Trying to correct the gateway in the GUI seems to have no effect.
- I find I can then get networking going againg using the NETSH INT IP SET command instead of the GUI...but when I disable/enable (or restart), the config is lost again.

The same thing happens if I simply try to change the network adapter (remove the VMXNET3 adapter, add an E1000 adapter) of a VM without cloning.  

The same thing happens if I try running Sysprep before cloning.

I have found many articles describing similar problems. Some people seem to have been able to resolve this by fiddling with registry entries.  I have tried NETSH INT IP RESET, which is supposed to clear our the IP config completely.  That does not help.

Having to reset the IP config on the VMXNET3 adapter after cloning is not a big issue in itself.  This is actually documented in http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2526142.  There is supposed to be a hotfix, but when I try to apply that I get "not applicable".  I assume the hotfix was superceded by SP1 for Win2008 R2.

I have spend DAYS on this.  Anybody know that is going on??
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Question by:Carlo-Giuliani
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by:rafael_acc
ID: 39206286
Is this happening on the clone only right?  Maybe there is an issue with vmware-tool ...
What about ... 2 options:

1. Reinstall vmware-tools on the cloned vm; restart it (just to make sure) then set tcp/ip settings

2. remove vm-ware tools from source vm; clone vm then test. if it works, install vmware-tools on the clone - test again.

not sure this will help ... it is a shot in the dark to be honest. It is really just one more thing to test among all others tried so far.
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by:Carlo-Giuliani
ID: 39206625
No, actually, it does not only happen on clones.  It also happens if I try to change one of the existing VMs back to an E1000 NIC.
 
But a more important point may be that, when I reset the IP config I am always doing it in  safe mode.  This is because these VMs all have RSA authentication agent installed, and it is not possible to logon when disconnected from the network...except in safe mode.  I have just had the idea to test cloning after uninstalling the RSA client (so that I don't have to use safe mode).  I won't be able to validate that untill late tomorrow.

Even if this fixes my problem, I would love it if somebody can explain what is going on.
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Carlo-Giuliani earned 0 total points
ID: 39208137
OK, I have sort of solved this myself.  The problem does not occur if I uninstall the RSA agent before cloning.  I'm not sure if the issue is the RSA agent itself, or the fact that I have to use safe mode to reconfigure the network adapter if the RSA agent is still installed.
 
I'm still happy to give full points to anybody that can explain this behaviour.
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Expert Comment

by:igumas
ID: 39209022
The hotfix was not superceded by SP1.  There is a different hotfix specific to post 2008 R2 SP1 to resolve the same problem.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2550978

Hope this helps.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Carlo-Giuliani
ID: 39274168
I found a workaround myself.  None of the responses were helpfull.
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