ESX 3.5 Update 2 and ESXi 3.5 Update 2 issue with product license to expire

 You got the following error when powering on a VM:

Unable to Power On virtual machine with “A General System error occurred: Internal error”

An issue has been uncovered with ESX 3.5 Update 2 and ESXi 3.5 Update 2 that causes the product license to expire on August 12. VMware is alerting customers and partners of this issue. VMware regrets the inconvenience caused to customers. Updated product bits with correct licensing will be made available for download as soon as possible.


The work-around: turn off NTP (if you’re using it), and then manually set the date of all ESX 3.5u2 hosts back to 10th of August. This can be done either through the VI Client (Host -> Configuration -> Time Configuration) or by typing date -s “08/10/2008” at the Service Console command line on the ESX hosts.


This seems to affect initial VM power-on (including from suspended state) and VMotion.

On the VMTN forum there is a thread post about this problem, check it here


VMware has created a KB article:

Unable to Power On virtual machine with “A General System error occurred: Internal error”


How-to extend the VMDK and the Windows disk

I see a lot of environments where the Virtual Machine (VM) disk space must be extended.

Prior ESX 3.5 the way to extend a VDMK was to use the vmkfstools command with the -X parameter from the VMware ESX server console. With the coming of ESX 3.5 it is possible to extend the VMDK file when the VM was shutdown. Now  with VMware ESX 3.5 Update 2 it is possible to online (hot) extend the VMDK file.

In the Virtual Infrastructure Client (VIC) go to the VM and edit the settings, click on the disk there is a property New Size (figure 1).


Figure 1. The VM disk extend function

The first step is to see if there is enough free space on the LUN (datastore). You can check the disk space (realtime) by using the command vdf -h on the ESX server console or in a SSH session. Keep in mind to have a average of 10% free on the LUN for snapshots and swap files etc. 

If the disk space on the LUN is okay you can extend the disk. In this example we extend the 16GB disk to 20GB.


Figure 2. The VM disk extend function

When the VMDK is extended the disk space must be added to the Windows volume.  In the Windows Disk manager when using VMware ESX 3.5 Update 2,  use the “Rescan Disks” function to discover the new added space when you use the hot extend function. The new added space is seen as Unallocated


Figure 3. Windows disk manager

To extend the volume by using diskpart use the following commands:

  • Start – run – type diskpart
  • type list volume
  • type select volume 1
  • type extend When trying to extend the C partition with diskpart you got the following message “The volume you have selected may not be extended”


    Figure 4. Diskpart tool

    It is not possible to extend the system- and bootvolume by using the diskpart built-in command (for MS Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 2008 and higher you can extend the volume by using diskpart). For MS Windows XP and MS Windows 2003 there are other options you can use:

  • Add the system- and bootdisk volume to the other Virtuele Machine (VM) as disk.  Start the other VM and use the diskpart command to extend this disk or use an 3e party partition tool.
  • Use the command line tool from Dell called Extpart. Usage:  expart [drive] [sizetoextend]  
  • Use the Gparted tool. You can download the ISO file from here.  When the download completes upload the ISO file to your storage and attach and connect the ISO the to the VM.
  • image

    Figure 5. Connect the ISO file to the VM

    Start the VM, the ISO gets started


    Figure 6. Start the Gparted tool

    – Press Enter


    Figure 7. Keymap choice

    – Press OK


    Figure 8. Keyboard layout

    – Select your keyboard layout


    Figure 10. X-windows graphical warning

    – Press Enter


    Figure 11. GParted Parition tool

    – The partition layout is displayed. Select the disk the extend and press Resize/Move


    Figure 12. Partition resize window

    – Enter the new size or drag the bar the the right and press the Resize/ Move button


    Figure 13. Partition resize

    – Click the Apply button


    Figure 14. Partition resize warning

    – Press Apply


    Figure 15. Partition resize process

    – If the extending process completes and is successfully, restart the system and disconnect the ISO from the VM and restart the VM.


    Figure 16. Windows Disk Manager

    – After the restart open the Windows disk manager and you see the new space is added to the volume.

Enable SSH for VMware ESX 3i

There is a hack to enable SSH for VMware ESX 3i. After reading the VMTN forum. Here is the procedure to enable SSH

– Boot ESXi  and wait till the till"loaded

– Press ALT-F1, you see the console screen

– Type unsupported and press ENTER

– Enter the root password

– Enter the following command vi /etc/inetd.conf

– Search for the #SSH row

– Remove the # from the SSH row

– Save the config by entering :wq!

– Type ps | grep inetd on the console

– Send a hangup signal by using the following command kill -s HUP <PID>

Open now your favorite SSH client (for example Putty) and SSH to the VMware 3i server.