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Our Windows Server 2012 R2 VMware virtual machines have scheduled tasks defined to reboot them weekly using shutdown.exe /r and some of these servers fail to restart some of the time. When I connect to the server via VMRC I see a screen like this:

boot (or shutdown?) screen

I have to power cycle the server to get it to work again. The System event log doesn't contain any errors. The last messages before shutdown are:

The IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules service entered the stopped state.

The kernel power manager has initiated a shutdown transition.

After power-cycling there is a message like this:

The last shutdown's success status was false. The last boot's success status was false.

I tried enabling boot logging, but there are no logs at all for the failed boot in %SystemRoot%\ntbtlog.txt. So either the problem occurs before the first log entry is written or it's actually failing to shut down.

If I manually reboot the server, including by running shutdown /r from a command prompt this works. What else can I do to troubleshoot this?

  • I have also observed this behavior in VMWare hosted Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 guests. The frequency of these hangs may have decreased after I updated the guests to VMWare Tools 9355. I stress "may" because our vCenter admin may have also applied patches to the ESXi hosts at the same time. – JasonAzze Jun 29 '16 at 17:44
  • Yeah honestly the easiest thing to do in these situations is make sure all your drivers and integration tools are 100% up to date. The only other thing you can really do is get an NMI crash dump and find the deadlocked or hung threads. (Or call MSFT and have them do it for you.) – Ryan Ries Jun 29 '16 at 18:00
  • @RyanRies, how do I get an NMI crash dump in VMware? – EM0 Jun 30 '16 at 11:04
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    kb.vmware.com/selfservice/… - and use DumpConfigurator (winplattools.codeplex.com/releases/view/119856) to configure the guest for full dumps first. Only full dumps are useful, not kernel or mini. – Ryan Ries Jun 30 '16 at 12:48
  • We've upgraded all our VMs to VMware tools 9359, but some of them still freeze. So looks like that wasn't the issue. – EM0 Sep 19 '16 at 12:02
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I ended up doing this by taking a VMware snapshot of the machine while frozen and then converting the .VMSN file to a .DMP file using the vmss2core tool. I had to use the -W8 option to get it to read my .VMSN file (-W and -W9600 didn't work).

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