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VMware Workstation Server not starting “vmware failed to configure the workstation server”

I have been doing some upgrades on my servers at home recently and decided it was time to ditch vmware server 2.0 and upgrade to workstation 8 (due to hardware limitations I’m not going esxi just yet)

I installed workstation and was going to start the shared VMs section of preferences.  This would allow me to start VMs on the Server start (instead of having to start them manually)

I configured a free port (7443) for the sharing server to run but it would not start.  I kept getting this error “vmware failed to configure the workstation server”.  I did some googling and found a few solutions referencing changing a xml file, or removing it all together.  All of the (very few) solutions I came across just wouldn’t fix the problem!  I even found a few walkthroughs on enabling logging to see if something jumped out in the log, nothing.

I had to fall back on my IT skills and look at the problem with fresh eyes.  I checked windows services and sure enough there is a service called “VMware Workstation Server” that wasn’t started.  I tried to manually start it, but it returned an error saying that one of the dependencies has failed on start up.

I opened up event viewer and sure enough there was an error with a dependency not starting.  The culprit was the VMware USB Arbitrator service!  I did some searching on a fix from vmware and found this page http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2043656 .  The solution was to

  1. Launch a command prompt on the host machine using an Administrator account.
  2. Run this command:
    • In a 32-bit host operating system:

      "C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation\vnetlib.exe" -- install hcmon

      In a 64-bit host operating system:

      "C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vnetlib64.exe" -- install hcmon

  3. Open the Windows service console and start the service manually. The service should now start successfully.

 

Now off to enjoy some linked clone goodness

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