Recover from ESX crash


We got a ESX 4.0 server with a VM running win2000. The RAID in the esx containing the VM files crashed with VMs running.

This specific VM had a primary vmdk file and snapshots.

After recovering files from disks with the help from a disk expert (as we did not have backup), the machine cannot boot. It says Disk read error. The Add to inventory works, it finds the VM and seems to try to boot from the snapshot/delta file.

Any tips what todo?

Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

I assume you purchased a new Hdd? What type did you buy if this is the case.

Can you view the storage by going to Inventory then select Host and Clusters

Have you done this?

Enable the Software iSCSI Initiator
You must enable your software iSCSI initiator so that ESX can use it to access iSCSI storage.
1 Log in to the vSphere Client, and select a server from the inventory panel.

2 Click the Configuration tab and click Storage Adapters
in the Hardware panel.The list of available storage adapters appears.

3 Select the iSCSI initiator to configure and click Properties

.4 Click Configure.The General Properties dialog box displays the initiator’s status, default name, and alias.

5 To enable the initiator, select Enabled
6 To change the default iSCSI name for your initiator, enter the new name.
Make sure the name you enter is worldwide unique and properly formatted or some storage devices might not recognize the software iSCSI initiator.

7 Click OK to save your changes.If you change the iSCSI name, it is used for new iSCSI sessions. For existing sessions, new settings are not used until you logout and re-login.
joebilekAuthor Commented:

Sorry I am not ESX expert so I was probably not too good in describing.

We got new drives and files restored back. The new drives work and I got what I think is all files back. So the Storage is there, I can browse it and see files.

I can add to inventory, and then press Run. Then it says Disk Read Error. Under properties, hard disk it has selected the xxxx-00001.vmdk as start file (only 3 GB, the snapshot file) and not the 211 GB vmdk which holds the rest...

So I am a bit lost..
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Please upload screenshots of your data store VM folder and I can work with you with this snapshot issue.
Big Business Goals? Which KPIs Will Help You

The most successful MSPs rely on metrics – known as key performance indicators (KPIs) – for making informed decisions that help their businesses thrive, rather than just survive. This eBook provides an overview of the most important KPIs used by top MSPs.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If the parent disk is lost and you only have the child eg delta differences snapshot file the VM is not recoverable.

Let me know maybe other options
joebilekAuthor Commented:
hi, the server is called dingen.

Now the dates on all the files are the same, but from the restore it seemed that the top file of 3,2 GB was the file dated exactly the date of crash. This is also the file the inventory sets to boot from..

joebilekAuthor Commented:
I have the vm file of 211 GB, and then the rest of the seems
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Snapshot files chain the parent file so that's why the snapshot file eg 001 is listed in the VM configuration.

Disk read error is this inside the VM or a host error when you start the VM?
joebilekAuthor Commented:
The error happens right when pressing Start and while watching the black console window.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Inside the black window?
joebilekAuthor Commented:
Yes, inside the black console window.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Okay, what you have said, suggests there is a fault with the virtual machine disk, it has been corrupted.

Options available

1. Ensure you have a backup of the existing files, so these could be used by Data Recovery Specialists - e.g. - This recovery is not going to be cheap.

2. Once you have your backup, you could add the virtual disk to another working VM, we call this VM a helper VM. Once the disks have been added to this VM, you can try and use recovery tools to repair the damage.

3. I can give you commands to check the consistency of the parent and child disks at the console. It could be the snapshot (child) disk is corrupted, this could be removed, and may be a possibility the VM could boot.
joebilekAuthor Commented:
Ok. We have copies of these files Yes. So we can work with these files that are online as much as we like.

We have confirmed that if we try to boot from the VM file of 211 GB the VM boots, so theres something wrong with the snapshot file yes.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Snapshot file is corrupted, it cannot be repaired, it's likely this was corrupted when the server crashed.

I would recommend contacting VMware Support or Data Recovery specialist if you are missing important data.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Can you confirm if the disk was mounted?
Follow windows instruction to mount drive here.
Try to download and install VMware Converter Standalone- free!!

Then do a V2V conversion on this Vm back to the same host but rename is _new or something like that. Doing the V2V will recreate the core VM files and possible allow you to boot the VM.

Here is a link the the VMware converter user guide:
joebilekAuthor Commented:
Hello All,

sorry but it seemes the files were irreversibly corrupted. Will need to rebuild. Thanks anyways for all tips and ideas.

It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.