VMware “Cannot open the disk ‘XXXXXX.vmdk’ or one of the snapshot disks it depends on.”

Update: According to many of the comments, a number of people are finding this post when searching for help with a VM that will not power on. This post was written for a specific scenario related to missing snapshot files, but if you are merely trying to power on a VM that was working recently, you may be able to resolve the problem by simply delete any folders containing .LCK in the name from your virtual machine’s folder, which would preserve any snapshot data.

From time to time, I want to copy just the minimum files for a VMware virtual machine: the two .vmdk files and the .vmx file. After moving those files to a new location or deleting a snapshot file, attempting to boot the virtual machine returns the following error message:

Cannot open the disk ‘XXXXXX.vmdk’ or one of the snapshot disks it depends on.
Reason: The system cannot find the file specified.

I’ve found that following the steps below fixes the problem and allows me to boot the virtual machine as it existed at the time of creation. DO NOT USE these steps if you need to retain any changes made to the virtual machine since the last snapshot:

Open the *.vmx file in a text editor and find the line that refers to the old snapshot file, which will look something like:
scsi0:0.fileName = “XXXXXX-000002.vmdk”
or
ide0:0.fileName = “XXXXXX-000002.vmdk”

Change the value to the filename of the ~1kb .vmdk file (which happens to be the same as the name of the VM). For example, if your virtual machine was named “Windows XP Professional”, the line would read:

scsi0:0.fileName = “Windows XP Professional.vmdk”

Power on the VM. It should boot normally, but because the snapshot file is missing, the machine will boot to an earlier state.

38 thoughts on “VMware “Cannot open the disk ‘XXXXXX.vmdk’ or one of the snapshot disks it depends on.”

  1. KenPem

    If this happens as the result of a crash, rather than intentionally as a “boot-clean” restart, and you’re trying to recover, then a less-destructive thing to try first would be to delete any .LCK folders within the main VM folder. If this works, you should get your system back in an up-to-date state.

  2. Pietro

    I was checking your solution but everything was fine in my file. I ended up doing the same as KenPem. I have deleted the .lck files and it did the trick.

  3. tom

    Hello I am trying to recover from a crash of a Vmware 2.0 vmdk file… I’ve tried removing the lck files/folders but this didn’t work it. When the crash happened it recoved itself but reverted back to a snap shot taken 3 months ago… I need to get the files from the last thee months… I restored a backup of this VMDK taken just prior to the crash, but it won’t start in VMware – each time it errors and the Virtual Host service needs to be restarted. Attempting WinMount but it says… Winmount can not mount this file… Is it because it’s version 2.0? How can I reach in this 55GB file to recover some important work done this past month?

  4. Ed

    My host application crashed bringing down the guest VM machine. When i try to restart the VM machine it gave the ff. msg:
    “Cannot open the disk. ‘D:\Programs\Virtual Machine*”
    Reason: Failed to lock the file.

    SOLUTION:
    Delete any .LCK folders within the main VM folder. If this works, you should get your system back in an up-to-date state.

    Just like the above thread suggested. This works fine for me…Hope this helps anyone out there ;)

  5. DaveC

    I wanted to thank you for this tip. You saved me hours of time. I know that this was posted years ago, but it still works today. Many thanks Oliver!

  6. Lins

    .lck folder trick did not work for me. after relaunching the application, the .lck folder reappear again

    The instructions on from the OP is not clear.
    I found all the files, what to do with them?
    is it to change scsi0:0.fileName = “Windows XP Professional.vmdk” to scsi0:0.fileName = “~1kb.vmdk”
    or what exactly.

  7. Riyaz

    Hi, I have 2 virtual machine on vmware 1.0.3 doing cluster in a box setup. for that i have created two scsi hdd’s on the first vm server from settings (one for cluster&one for quarom)the problem is that when i start first server its ok its starts with added scsi hdd’s, but when i start second server i get message {cannot open the disk”E:\virtual Servers\SAN\Storage1.vmdk” or one of the snapshot disks it depends on Reason:Failed to lock the file}. my virtual machines are in E:\virtual servers folder and storage goes to folder E:\virtual servers\SAN folder. is there any problem in the settings?.please help. also if i go settings on the virtual server i get (
    memory 384mb/hard disk scsi 0:0/hard disk scsi 1:0/hard disk scsi 2:0/cd rom ide 1:0/floppy/ethernet brigded/ethnernet host only/processors 1.
    is it possible to have scsi shared hdd facility on vmware 1.0.3?..your valuable response will be highly appreciated.

  8. hiper

    I had the same problem, but I noticed that my harddisk had no space available, I did a cleaning and VMW is working again.

  9. Tom

    Thank you for the info it work like a charm!!! I spent hours following different methods from other threads and those didn’t work!

    Thanks again!!

  10. Alfast

    Thanks to KemPem! After deleting .LCK folders my virtual machine started without any problems.

  11. Shahbz

    when i power on my machine it will show this error please help me out ..
    Unable to open file “C:DownloadsMac OS X Lion 10.7.4 VMware ImageMac OS X Lion 10.7.4 VMware ImageMac OS X LionMac OS X Lion.vmdk”: One of the disks in this virtual machine is already in use by a virtual machine or by a snapshot.

  12. atousa

    hi,thanks for your post.before I start doing your work,I tried what KenPem said and it worked
    thanks a lot

  13. bhanu

    hi there,
    am using VM ware 7 version, and succesfully am running the SAP Business Warehouse but very recent i tried the ECC 6.0 which is a seperate image comes windows2003 server like SAP BW. Now, i had a problem i was unable to open .VMDK file(ECC6.0) because the snap shot support file with extension .VMX missing in its folder.
    I was tried using SAP BW .VMX file by changing some necessary fields in the code through notepad and stored in ECC location with .VMX extension.
    Please help is there any other way to fix issue. ECC6.0 file size is 207GB

  14. Anonymous

    Lol that people only compliment on KenPem. But it also work for me! You don’t know have to do anything but just delete the .lck folder and your machine back online :)

  15. Zakaria

    All My Respect To People who try To find solutions to give to others.. it works for Me But by just deleting the Lck folders

  16. Kirubakaran

    @KenPem.
    Thanks for the idea. perfectly worked. VMware’s KB were not working / not easily understandable. not for noobs like me. your deleting the *.LCK file worked like a charm. perfect. salutes.

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