Category: VMWare


Software hive will not load


When a company is acquired; it tends to bring in problems from their past for you to clean up.

Such was the case of a Windows XP 64bit virtual machine. It would not boot. It would hang during the startup, crash and reboot.

There was no BSOD to trap which was rather odd considering the way XP handled such things so it had to be multiple problems.

The first issue was to try and boot the VM. With a physical machine, you simply booted off the installer CD. Luckily, VMware allows for this by giving you the ability to mount an ISO via the virtual cdrom drive.

One nice thing about the 64bit OS? Didn’t have to load drivers via an flp file as I previously had to do with a 32bit install.

I was able to boot off the cdrom and got into the recovery console. It did show the Windows install which I selected. Once it loaded and gave me a prompt; I ran a chkdsk /r which found a few problems and corrected them.

After that I tried a reboot and got a BSOD which quickly disappeared.

A funny side note: there is a way to slow down the reboot so you can read the message. The Net is full of articles about how to handle this. For a physical setup, this makes sense. However, I found several articles for virtual machine problems. Sometimes in debug mode; people overlook the obvious.  Why not take a screen capture?

When the VM tried to load again and the BSOD appeared; I took a screen capture and found the message stated:

STOP: c0000218 {Registry File Failure}
The registry cannot load the hive (file):
\SystemRoot\System32\Config\SOFTWARE
or it's log or alternate.
It is corrupt, absent, or not writable.

I researched this and found some solutions which required many steps and there was a question if this VM was really even needed as the problem had been around for awhile.

The VM needed to be up in order to answer the question. I did find a simple solution which allowed this to happen.

  1. Boot to your CD and choose R (Recovery Console), at the command prompt, type the following:
  2. ren c:\windows\system32\config\software software.old
  3. copy c:\windows\repair\software c:\windows\system32\config

    Reboot

This VM did need a reinstall of java and the gpupdate /force needed to be run.

Now the users are reviewing the need of the VM.

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I had been away from the virtual world due to requirements of the job. My return saw the need to establish a virtual machine and then clone it. Basic task.

One question raised was the need to run sysprep as it appeared VMware’s clone process had the ability to generate new SID information. I didn’t find a obvious answer on the Net and cluster owner said probably not.

I tried the clone wizard and was rewarded with a message this option can only be used with Vista and above.  This was a Windows 10 VM so I thought this was the result of the cluster running version 5.1

I thought ok let’s just use sysprep.

As a precaution I made a copy of the VM and ran sysprep. It ran without issue. However, when I tried to login with the local administrator; I was informed the account was disabled!  DOH! Standard practice of sysprep. Did I mention there wasn’t an answer file?

Not a huge problem if it was only one VM. Just need to boot of an ISO and enable the account.

I had many clones to create so this was not an option.  The clone and the image were deleted and the copy restored.

I decided to try the clone wizard again as I remembered there was an option where you could submit one time commands. This would be a good place to try:

net use administrator /active:yes

I also had a thought on the clone wizard steps as one of them was adding the host to the domain. I thought this is what triggered the Vista message. This time I would clone the VM and leave it in a workgroup.

This time the VM was cloned without an error and I was able to login as the local administrator.

I suspect the Net command was not needed as the password assigned on the main image worked on the clone. I didn’t have any time to experiment; but, I left the command in the one time options as a precaution.

The rest of the clones were created without issue.

Time to re-familiarize myself with VMware!

Vmware certification.


I have decided to seek certification with vmware.  I have others  but they have expired so I am am going to upgrade. Over time I am going to add more links for interesting things I find as I go through the process.

The first of the series is the VCAP study sheet from the WAHL Network.  The link has a few other links to interesting data sheets and information. VCAP isn’t on my list just yet, I am starting with VCP first.