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”
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.

56 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.

    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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

  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 = โ€œWindows XP Professional.vmdkโ€ to scsi0:0.fileName = โ€œ~1kb.vmdkโ€
    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  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

    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.

  17. guth.leoht

    I’m also having the same issue of not being able to open vmware through mac os x due to “the system cannot find the file specified”. I also don’t understand the instruction and being that I could not locate the .lck, there was zero to delete.

    This is currently in my .vmx text file-
    scsi0:0.fileName = “Windows 7 Ultimate.vmdk”

    How would I need to change it to make this work?

    Thank you

  18. Bill

    I need help.
    My virtual machine crashed and ever since I can’t access my virtual disk, I get the following error.

    “Unable to change virtual machine power state: Unable to open file “/home/bill/vms/Windows 7 x64/Windows_7_x64.vmdk”: The system cannot find the file specified”

    The files are where they should be, I have tried removing the lock files…no joy. I have even tried creating a new machine and attempted to mount the drive from there. Also my Snapshot will not install either.

    Any thought…?


  19. Mike Daniels

    Thank you very much for this article. I struggled for 4 days until I found this artcle was in shambles becasue the way that the experts setup one of our VMs was in a RAID 5 wtihin the VM. So therefore we couldn’t mount our VMDKs sto antoher server to extract data. ALMOST gave up hope and ALMOST lost all of our billing data. However your article was not directly related to my issue it gave me an idea and I was able to recover the VM.. Again thank you thank you and thank you once again for the idea ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Egli

    Thanks heaps for this the removing the .lck folders is what solved it (thanks for the briefing at the beggining of the article)


  21. shah

    i have problem “virtual-xp-sp-2\virtual-win-xp.vmdk
    the system cannot find the file specified”
    it dose not work i have the same situation do some thing for me it is urgent

  22. Christian

    I will need to delete any .LCK file from the actual VM directory. Your VM will start working once again.
    cheers !

  23. Bijay shankar jha

    I will need to delete any .LCK file from the actual VM directory. Your VM will start working once again.
    cheers !

    i got same issue and deleted .LCK folder , it works ….

  24. Rich

    THANK YOU THANK YOU so much. I’m filling in for our primary VM Engineer. This saved me from a failed Backup overnight. A Patient Saftey server is back online in minutes!!!!

  25. Ragaei Mahmoud

    Another solution if deleting the .LCK does not resolve the issue. just create a new VM but select the option to not make or start a system now then close the CM and copy the VMDK file create from the new VM to the old VM.Rename the .VMKD file with the same name of the old .vmx. Start your VMware and it will work.

  26. Sem Voigtlรคnder

    It’s as easy as enterring the folder where your vmdk is in and deleting all .lck files,
    after that the virtual machine will boot again.

    The issue was caused due to the vm being forcedly killed while it was still alive (E.g: shutting down the host)

  27. AO

    To save anyone else the hassle…

    If you cannot find the lck files they are in your my documents folder of the vm you are working with not in the Vmware install directory

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