PVS VMs blue screen with VMXNET3 NIC

The title pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?  Your VMs are bluescreening!  How can you fix it?

For starters, you need to have the original VM that you used to build the image (or at least know what the MAC address of it was – you still have the PVS Device, don’t you?).  Find it.  Boot the image in private mode.  It comes up fine, doesn’t it?  Odd…

In 7 and 2008 R2, when the VMXNet3 drivers from VMware are loaded, the device is ID’d to the VM by appending a portion of its MAC address to create a unique device ID.  Since the device ID has changed from the original one, kaBOOM!  PVS bluescreen right when Windows starts to load.  Thank Microsoft, thank VMware, thank whoever – I’m not in the business of the blame game, but rather the fix-it-and-move-on game.

With the proliferation of 10gig networking, and with more and more companies replacing their hardware and upgrading to VMware 5.x, this issue is coming up more and more.

SO – back to the fix.  You have your original VM booted (or at least one with the same MAC as the original, right?  You DO know how to set a static MAC in a VM, RIGHT??), and it’s fine.  Good.

IF that VM is Windows 7 RTM or 2008R2 RTM – go get KB2344941.  IF that VM is Windows 7 RTM or 2008R2 SP1 – go get KB2550978.  If for some unknown reason your provisioned VM is Vista or 2008, go here, and then UPGRADE YOUR OLD AND BUSTED ENVIRONMENT!  🙂

-CG1

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