Top five Microsoft server virtualization problems and solutions

Make short work of any virtualization problems you may encounter by studying the solutions to the five most common Microsoft server virtualization issues.

Sometimes the simplest virtualization problems are the ones we encounter most often. This is especially obvious when reviewing the top Hyper-V-related issues called into Microsoft's Product Support Services in the final quarter of 2009. Let's take a spin through five of the more interesting Microsoft server virtualization problems. Keep in mind that these problems relate primarily to Windows Server 2008 RTM and not R2.

1. Microsoft server virtualization installation
Virtualization problem: When users attempt to start a new virtual machine (VM) after the Hyper-V role is installed, they receive the following error message: The virtual machine could not be started because the hypervisor is not running.

Solution: Hardware virtualization extensions or Data Execution Prevention (DEP) have not been enabled within that server's BIOS. Enable these processor features to eliminate the error.

Remember that hardware virtualization extensions and DEP can default to "off" for new servers. Enabling these and powering down the computer, as opposed to rebooting it, will ensure that everything is ready for Hyper-V use.

2. Virtual devices
Virtualization problem: In Device Manager, a synthetic NIC was listed as an unknown device.

Solution: Install the Integration Components to the virtual machine.

It is considered a best practice that every virtual machine, no matter the operating system (OS) on which it is configured, should get a separate installation of the Integration Components (IC). This installation should occur immediately after the OS installation. While some ICs are available natively in some operating systems, making this step part of your default build will ensure that ICs are always up-to-date in every VM.

3. Microsoft server virtualization snapshots
Virtualization problem: One or more snapshots associated with a virtual machine were lost.

Solution: Restore snapshots from backup. The cause for this problem may be related to a parent VHD file that was edited or expanded after snapshots were taken. You should never edit or expand a parent VHD file that has associated snapshots.

Remember that snapshots are intended to be short-term solutions. Using snapshots for long-term backup or other storage can cause problems like this.

4. Integration components
Virtualization problem: An attempt to install the Integration Components to a Windows Vista Service Pack 2 guest on a Windows Server 2008 RTM server fails with this error: An error has occurred: One of the update processes returned error code 1.

Solution: Upgrade the Hyper-V server to Service Pack 2, or install the Integration Components from Service Pack 2 to upgrade the VM.

Microsoft strongly suggests that all Hyper-V servers be upgraded to Service Pack 2. This upgrade includes the necessary components to upgrade Vista virtual machines, as well as fixes a large number of other issues with Hyper-V.

5. Virtual machines and anti-virus solutions
Virtualization problem: One of the following three errors may be experienced on a Hyper-V server when attempting to create or start a virtual machine:


  • The requested operation cannot be performed on a file with a user-mapped section open. ( 0x800704C8 )
  • 'VMName' Microsoft Synthetic Ethernet Port (Instance ID {7E0DA81A-A7B4-4DFD-869F-37002C36D816}): Failed to Power On with Error 'The specified network resource or device is no longer available.' (0x80070037)
  • The I/O operation has been aborted because of either a thread exit or an application request. (0x800703E3)

Solution: These errors can be caused by anti-virus solutions that have been installed to the parent partition of the Hyper-V server and are configured to perform real-time scanning of virtual machine files. To resolve the problem, exclude the following files and folders from real-time scanning:


  • Default virtual machine configuration directory - C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Hyper-V
  • Custom virtual machine configuration directories
  • Default virtual hard disk drive directory - C:\Users\Public\Documents\Hyper-V\Virtual Hard Disks
  • Custom virtual hard disk drive directories
  • Snapshot directories
  • Vmms.exe (Note: May need to be configured as process exclusions within the antivirus software)
  • Vmwp.exe (Note: May need to be configured as process exclusions within the antivirus software)
  • C:\Clusterstorage (if Cluster Shared Volumes are enabled)

These are only a sampling of the top issues reported to Microsoft in 2009's last quarter. The other issues can also be illuminating when dealing with certain issues.

Dig Deeper on Improving server management with virtualization