Virtual Machine Troubleshooting Scenario – Orphaned Virtual Machines

When a virtual machine is orphaned, you should begin by trying to determine if a vCenter reboot has occurred. Occasionally if you try to move a machine through a vMotion migration to another host and the vCenter is rebooted it can cause them to be orphaned. Virtual machines can become orphaned if a host failover is unsuccessful, or when the virtual machine is unregistered directly on the host. Some additional symptoms:

  • Virtual Machines show as invalid or orphaned after a VMware High Availability (VMware HA) host failure occurs
  • Virtual Machines show as invalid or orphaned after an ESX host comes out of maintenance mode
  • Virtual Machines show as invalid or orphaned after a failed DRS migration
  • Virtual Machines show as invalid or orphaned after a storage failure
  • Virtual Machines show as invalid or orphaned after the connection is lost between the vCenter Server and the host where the virtual machine resides

To fix, follow the steps below:

  1. Determine the datastore where the virtual machine configuration (.vmx) file is located.
  2. Return to the virtual machine in the vSphere Web Client, right-click, and select:
    1. All Virtual Infrastructure ActionsRemove from Inventory.
  3. Click Yes to confirm the removal of the virtual machine.

If you were looking to recreate and not just remove the virtual machine try the following:

  1. Browse to the datastore and verify that the virtual machine files exist.
  2. If the vmx configuration file was deletedor remove and the disk files are still there, attach the old disk files to a newly create machine.
  3. If the disk files were deleted, restore from a backup.
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