Powering on a virtual machine fails with the error: A general system error occurred
search cancel

Powering on a virtual machine fails with the error: A general system error occurred


Article ID: 324970


Updated On:


VMware vCenter Server VMware vSphere ESXi


  • Powering on a virtual machine fails.
  • When trying to power on a virtual machine, you see one or more of these errors:

    • A general system error occurred. The system returned on error. Communication with the virtual machine may have been interrupted.
    • Heap worldGroup<ID> could not be grown by 65536 bytes for allocation of 12288 bytes

  • The progress bar may appear and get to 20%, but the machine always fails to power on.

  • If there is a resource pool which has a memory reservation equal to the amount of memory installed on the ESXi host, you may see one or more of these errors:

    • An unexpected error was received from the ESX host while powering on VM vm-name
    • Failed to power on VM
    • Could not power on VM : Out of memory

  • If you restart services.sh, you may see the error:

    Component sfcb-ProviderMa not running, Restarting sfcbd.
    /etc/init.d/sfcbd: line 38: cannot fork
    /sbin/esxcfg-advcfg: error while loading shared libraries: libvmkctl.so: failed to map segment from shared object: Error 28
    /etc/init.d/sfcbd-watchdog: line 455: cannot fork


VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1
VMware vCenter Server 5.0.x
VMware ESXi 3.5.x Installable
VMware vCenter Server 4.1.x
VMware ESXi 3.5.x Embedded
VMware vSphere ESXi 5.0
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Embedded
VMware ESXi 4.0.x Installable
VMware ESX 4.1.x
VMware vCenter Server 4.0.x
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Embedded
VMware ESX 4.0.x
VMware ESXi 4.1.x Installable
VMware ESX Server 3.5.x
VMware vCenter Server 5.1.x


The problem can be caused by one of three different issues.

Issue 1

The .vmx file associated with the virtual machine is corrupted.

To create a new .vmx file:
  1. Create a new, custom virtual machine.
  2. During the wizard, do not create a new virtual disk, but instead select Use existing disk.
  3. Browse to the location of the virtual machine's virtual disk.
  4. Finish the wizard.
  5. If possible, view the original .vmx file and edit the new one if you wish to copy over the original MAC address entry. This may be necessary if the virtual machine's operating system licensing scheme is impacted by a MAC address change. Look for a line similar to:

    ethernetN.address = "xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx"

Issue 2

Treat this issue like a hostd process that has stopped responding on the ESXi/ESX host. For more information, see Restarting the Management agents on an ESXi or ESX host (1003490).

This issue can also be resolved by reloading the virtual machine configuration on the ESXi/ESX host. To reload the virtual machine configuration, run these commands in SSH session of the host:
vmware-vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms
(Note the vmid of the virtual machine)
vmware-vim-cmd vmsvc/reload vmid
On ESXi, substitute vim-cmd for vmware-vim-cmd.

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

Issue 3

The memory usage of an ESXi/ESX host consists of the total consumed memory by the virtual machines plus memory allocated to the resource pools.

On vCenter Server, if you highlight the virtual machine and go to the Resource Allocation tab, you see the Consumed value of the Host Memory does not take the memory reservation into account.

To power on the virtual machine, reduce the memory reservation on the associated resource pool:
  • Right-click the resource pool and click Edit Settings.
  • In the Memory Resources pane, reduce the memory reservation.
  • Power on the virtual machine.
If the virtual machine still does not power on, check the memory reservation on the virtual machine itself:
  • Right-click the virtual machine and click Edit Settings.
  • Go to the Resources tab, select Memory and reduce the reservation if necessary.
Note: For more information on resource pools, see the vCenter Server and Host Management Guide.

Additional Information

Restarting the Management agents in ESXi
Collecting diagnostic information for VMware products
How to file a Support Request in Customer Connect
El encendido de una máquina virtual falla y aparece el error: A general system error occurred
打开虚拟机电源失败,并出现以下错误: 出现了常规系统错误
仮想マシンのパワー オンが次のエラーで失敗する: 一般的なシステム エラーが発生しました