ESX/ESXi host stops responding and displays a purple diagnostic screen
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ESX/ESXi host stops responding and displays a purple diagnostic screen


Article ID: 337182


Updated On:


VMware vSphere ESXi


Although an individual purple diagnostic screen error has a specific cause, purple screen errors as a group do not have a single cause. In very general terms, they are caused by severe hardware or software errors that cause the server to halt and prevent it from proceeding. This article provides recommended steps when encountering an unexpected purple diagnostic screen before contacting VMware Technical Support for further assistance.

  • The ESX host is listed as Not Responding in vCenter Server.
  • Several virtual machines have become unresponsive.
  • You are unable to communicate with the ESX host via ICMP ping, SSH, or vSphere Client connection.
  • The ESX host displays a purple diagnostic screen on its console.


VMware ESXi 3.5.x Installable
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Embedded
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Installable
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Installable
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Embedded
VMware ESX Server 3.0.x
VMware ESXi 3.5.x Embedded
VMware ESX Server 3.5.x
VMware ESX 4.0.x
VMware ESX 4.1.x
VMware ESX Server 2.5.x


When the server enters this condition, it proceeds to create a memory dump in the vmkcore (FC) partition, listing the previous instructions that took place before the error or exception occurred. When this process completes, the server requires manual rebooting to return to normal operation again. The startup sequence for the server reviews configured core dump slots and if data is found, it actions the procedure to write a core dump file, which can be reviewed to work towards developing corrective measures and a determining root-cause.

Warning: If you are currently experiencing a purple screen error that is displayed on your monitor, do not reset the ESX host. As a precaution, take a picture or screenshot to capture the text of the message displayed on the screen. Ensure you capture all of the text. All technical data is required.
To reboot the host and gather diagnostic information:
  1. Ensure that you have a visual copy of the exception. This can either be in the form of a picture of the screen, or screenshot taken via your System Management Interface's console.
  2. Verify that Disk Dump Successful has been printed towards the lower portion of the output. If it does not display this, allow more time for the dump to complete. It may take up to an hour. If it indicates that it failed to create a disk dump, proceed to the next step.
  3. Reboot the ESX host. The next startup sequence processes the contents of the core dump partition(s).
  4. Log in to the ESX host terminal as the root user via SSH or directly at the host's console.
  5. Extract the logs from the vmkernel-zdump file created during system startup. For more information, see Extracting the log file after an ESX or ESXi host fails with a purple screen (1006796) and Manually regenerating core dump files in VMware ESX and ESXi (1002769).

For additional technical information and analysis on purple diagnostic screens, see Interpreting an ESX host purple screen (1004250).

If the second line in your screenshot or backtrace contains Oops, the Console OS on your VMware ESX host has panicked. In this case, see Understanding an "Oops" purple diagnostic screen (1006802).

Additional Information

If your problem still exists after trying the steps in this article: