How to Fix VMware Won’t Open Virtual Machine | Workstation

It is very common that you run into some errors when using virtual machine. Do you know what to do if your VMware won’t open virtual machine? I will introduce several solutions in this article.


By Crystal / Updated on March 8, 2023

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Case: VMware Workstation won't open virtual machine


I use VMware Workstation 14 Pro, and there’s one ubuntu virtual machine that maybe last time I didn't shut down correctly, which resulted in my failure in booting it again right now. Now when I boot the virtual machine, it stuck and flickers in a 5-second period, with the background showing loading from-time-to-time.

- Question from

Have you ever encountered a similar situation that VMware won’t open virtual machine, just like the above case? It often happens after you just created this virtual machine, migrated it, or performed P2V VMware migration. This is a common and broad issue, and there are many reasons that could lead to it.

In this article, I will summarize the possible reasons for the problem of VMware won’t open virtual machine, and introduce methods to solve it on Workstation.

How to fix VMware won't open virtual machine

Possible reasons for VMware won’t open virtual machine

If you find your VMware won’t open virtual machine, the first thing you need to confirm is that whether this issue is affecting multiple virtual machines or just one. This can limit the causes to the host or the guest machine. Then you can troubleshoot according to the specific situation. The possible causes are many.

According to users who encountered this issue, there are the following possible reasons:

  • Antivirus software you use excludes the VMs directory.
  • VMware authorization service failing to start or no administration rights.
  • Some hardware that the operating system need on boot is missing.
  • The virtual disk of this virtual machine is corrupted.

Depending on different causes, the error message may also be different. In the next part, I will introduce how to fix VMware won’t open virtual machine according to different error messages.

How to resolve the problem “VMware Workstation Internal error”

In fact, there are many users encountered VMware Workstation Internal error when their VMware won’t open virtual machine. This is usually caused by aggressive antivirus software, or the VMware authorization service not running properly in Windows.

VMware Workstation Internal error

Therefore, check your antivirus software to see its quarantined list. If this software is why your VMware won’t open virtual machine, then you may need to allow VMware through the firewall.

If it is not cause by antivirus software, then it is most likely caused by the VMware authorization service. To fix this problem, you can follow the following steps.

1. Open Run box (Win+R) and run services.msc to open Windows Services.

2. Find VMware Authorization Service and right-click on it to open Properties.

3. Click Start to start this service.

4. Also, make sure the Startup type is set to Automatic.

VMware authorization service

Except for VMware authorization services, VMware Workstation internal error can also be caused by running VMware Workstation as a non-administrator. You can try running VMware Workstation as an administrator.

What to do if “This virtual machine appears to be in use”

Except for VMware Workstation internal error, other users also received the error “This virtual machine appears to be in use” when power on a VMware Workstation VM, but it was not in use. And if click “Take Ownership” button to obtain the ownership it mentioned, it immediately returns with a dialog box indicating “Taking Ownership of this virtual machine failed."

take ownership of this virtual machine failed

This may because some files are “locked”. 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 restart VMware Workstation and try to power on the virtual machine again.

What to do if the virtual disk of this virtual machine is corrupted

You may also cannot open the virtual machine if the virtual disk of it is corrupted. This is dangerous because it may lead to VM data loss.

The best way to resolve this is to restore the virtual machine from virtual machine backups. Backups ensure the integrity of your virtual machines, furthermore, keep regular backups are also necessary. The more recent your backups are, the less VM data you might lose.

For VMware Workstation VMs, you can back up virtual machines by directly copy the VM folder or export the virtual machine as OVF.

Export to OVF

However, if you are using VMware ESXi, you can try a professional software to backup VMware ESXi VMs, for greater safety.

Effective Agentless VMware ESXi backup solution

When it comes to VMware ESXi, experts tend to use dedicated software to protect their VMs in an image-level, agentless way. AOMEI Cyber Backup is such a professional backup software that allows you to cover multiple VMware ESXi VMs in one task. You can also create backup schedule using it. More »

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You may usually run into problems when using virtual machines. Do you know what to do if your VMware won’t open virtual machine?

In this article, I summarized several possible causes for the error VMware won’t open virtual machine, and introduced solutions to resolve it.

However, if you want to better protect your VM data, it is commonly agreed that regular backups following the 3-2-1 backup rule is an effective measure.

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.