How to Fix Configuration File Cannot Be Found VMware

Have you ever received the error: configuration file cannot be found VMware, or cannot open the configuration file? This article covers 3 solutions to fix it.


By Crystal / Updated on March 8, 2023

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Case: Configuration file cannot be found VMware


I run the New Virtual Machine Wizard to create a new virtual machine, and specify a Typical machine configuration, with ample disk space available. However, when I split disk, every time I get “Error opening virtual machine.vmx. The configuration file for this virtual machine cannot be found. It might be missing from the virtual machine directory, or the path specified to access this virtual machine might be incorrect.” Any ideas what's going on?

- Question from

If you want to get started with virtualization, then you are possible to choose a product from VMware. VMware has a type-1 hypervisor ESXi and a type-2 hypervisor Workstation, allowing you to create multiple virtual machines on a single physical hardware, installing different operating systems for testing or development.

However, sometimes you may find yourself cannot power on a virtual machine, and see the VMware configuration file problems such as:

  • Cannot open the configuration file vmx.file.
  • An error occurred while opening configuration file: Could not find the file
  • VM configuration file cannot be found VMware.

Configuration could not be found

This could be a problem with read and write file permissions or data storage. This article will cover 3 solutions to it.

Solutions to the error configuration file cannot be found VMware

There are different solutions to the same problem caused by different reasons. If you get the error of VM configuration file cannot be found VMware or just cannot open, when opening a virtual machine or doing other operations, there are also many possible causes for it and their solutions.

Recreating a new virtual machine or restoring the VM from a backup can fix most errors. But before that, the first thing you need to check is that if you are trying to power on a virtual machine that is already powered on on another host. This may be a temporary issue with the storage where the virtual machine is located.

Could not open configuration file

To check this issue, you can retry the boot operation after a period of time. If it still doesn't work, then this may indicate that the configuration file is locked. You can continue read on to learn about the solutions.

Unlock the locked VM file

If you are unable to open a VMware virtual machine, and received the error “This virtual machine appears to be in use”, but you have confirmed that it is not in use. This may because some VM files are “locked”.

The purpose of file locking is to prevent concurrent changes to critical virtual machine files and file systems. In certain circumstances, these locks may not be released when the virtual machine is powered off. As such, the files cannot then be accessed by other hosts while locked and the virtual machine fails to power on.

To fix this problem, according to many users, the effective way is to navigate to the folder that mentioned in the error message, and delete any .lck/.lock files or folders in this folder, then re-login your host and try to power on the virtual machine again.

take ownership of this virtual machine failed

Create a new VM using its VM files

If removing the lock on the VM file still does not solve your problem, then you can try to recreate an identical virtual machine. It will not cause data loss, and also solve the problem, or at least exclude the cause of configuration file corruption.

The operation on VMware Workstation is very simple. You just need to find the VMDK file of the target VM and open it with Workstation. On ESXi it is a bit more complex, therefore here I present the steps as below.

1. Access the VMware ESXi web client, navigate to Storage page and click Datastore browser.

Open Datastore browser

2. In the pop-up window, click Create directory to create a folder for the new VM.

Create directory

3. Click Upload and specify the VM files to this folder.

Upload files to datastore

4. Click Close the Datastore browser window, and then click Register a VM to open the wizard.

Register a VM

5. In the pop-up window, navigate to the newly created folder, select the VMX file and click Register.

Register VM

6. Navigate to Virtual Machines, and Refresh the VM list.

Now you can see the new VM with the same name as the VMX file. You can right-click on its name and Rename it.

Rename VM

7. Power on the restored VM. There will be pop-up window, select I Moved It and click Answer.

Restore the VM from usable backup

Taking regular backups is meant for protect data from unexpected errors just like this one. In addition to using the VM files to create a new VM, restoring the VM from an available backup can also recover it to a usable state.

If you are using VMware ESXi, you may find that there is no official backup option available. Many IT staffs prefer to perform full VM recovery from image-based backup created by dedicated backup tools. Here I introduce you to AOMEI Cyber Backup, the free VMware VM backup software to restore VMs from backup.

It allows you to create independent image-level backup without agents, centrally manage data protection of all VMs on a paid or free ESXi host, and restore entire VM from any selected restore points. Furthermore, you can use AOMEI Cyber Backup Free Edition with no time limit.

Download FreewareVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

1. Access AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, and navigate to the backup task you want to restore, click ... > Restore to open the wizard.

Restire from backup task

Tip: Or you can click Backup Management > History Versions. Specify a VM and select a restore point from the left list.

2. Choose to Restore to original location, and click Start Restore to recover the virtual machine in place.

Select restore target

While the Free Edition covers most VM backup needs, you can also upgrade to enjoy more:
Batch VM backup & restore: batch backup and restore large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server or on standalone ESXi hosts.
Backup cleanup: Configure a retention policy to auto delete old backup files and save storage space.
Restore to new location: Create a new VM in the same or another datastore/host directly from the backup to perform out-of-space recovery, saves the trouble of re-configuring the new VM.

Restore to new location


If you received the error: configuration file cannot be found VMware, or cannot open the configuration file when open a VMware virtual machine, it might be a problem with read and write file permissions or data storage. This article covers 3 solutions to fix it.

Restoring the entire virtual machine from an available backup is the easiest and most efficient method. Taking virtual machine backup frequently is the most efficient way to keep your data safe. If you use VMware ESXi, you can try agentless free solution AOMEI Cyber Backup to manage the VM backup and restore for you.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.