I'm pretty new to using vmware virtualization (been a virtualbox user) so I'm hoping you guys can help me out. I recently got an external usb disk containing a vm for a client, downloaded vmplayer, set it up with "Open a Virtual Machine", ran it, easy as pie.

After working with it a bit this morning, I shut the VM down and now trying to start it back up again I get this: Failed to open virtual machine: Dictionary problem.

I tried removing the vm from my library, now it happens whenever I try to add it back in. In the meantime, I can still access other virtual machines so it seems like the problem might be with the virtual disk.

So two questions:

  • This is obviously not a very helpful error message. Where can I go to get more information? My Application EventLog doesn't contain anything from VMWare.
  • What steps can I take to fix the problem?

Edit: A couple more pieces of information.

  • I did not take any snapshots. I don't think VM Player even has that ability.
  • I have a zip file of (what I assume) is the state of the VM when it was sent to me. I cannot unzip it as it is huge and simply requires more HD space than I have available but I did extract the vmx file and examine it. Other than the UUIDs and the fact that mine reads cleanShutdown = "FALSE" they are identical.
  • The log contains the following lines

    Jun 23 10:11:18.080: vmx| SNAPSHOT: SnapshotConfigInfoRead: Unable to load dict from 'E:....\MachineName.vmsd'.

    Jun 23 10:11:18.080: vmx| SNAPSHOT: SnapshotConfigInfoRead failed for file 'E:....\MachineName.vmx': Dictionary problem (6)

    Jun 23 10:11:18.082: vmx| SNAPSHOT: Snapshot_TimeStampTiers failed: Dictionary problem (6)

3 Answers 3


Have seen this in relation to snapshots creatiung this error. There are several threads in VMware community sites. VMware community Another thread here speaks to it as well VM Discussions

  • Hmm, I have not taken any snapshots, I was not even aware that with Vm Player you could do this Jun 23, 2011 at 21:06
  • I was thinking the VM you received may have had one with the VM
    – Dave M
    Jun 24, 2011 at 13:14
  • It might have, but I haven't done anything with them! Jun 24, 2011 at 14:14

For the record I got this fixed by taking backups of my caches directory, vmsd, vmxf, vmx, nvram files and copying them over the files that I had. I guess some of them had been corrupted.


Try at first load your virtual machine without any physical discs.

Then try to add it in VM->Settings->Add->Hard Disk->SCSI->Use physical disk->PhysicalDrive (your number, take a look at Disk management).

I had same problem, and solved it by adding physical disks on a loaded VM.

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