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Unable to start Hyper-V virtual machines on a Windows 2008 R2 server

When you try to to start a Hyper-V virtual machine on a Windows 2008 R2 server, you receive the following error:

An error occurred while attempting to start the selected virtual machine(s).

‘ServerName’ could not be initialized.

An attempt to initialize VM saved state failed.

‘ServerName’ could not initialize. (Virtual machine ID “Virtual Machine GUID”)

‘ServerName’ could not create or access saved state file E:\Hyper-V\ServerName\Virtual Machine\”Virtual Machine GUID”.vsv.
(Virtual machine ID “Virtual Machine GUID”)

Solution: I have no clue what caused this issue but the solution is add list permissions to the “Authenticated Users” group on the root drive where the virtual machines are placed (in this case E:). You only have to add list rights for “this folder only”.
So go to the security tab and choose advanced permissions, add Authenticated users and choose at Apply to: “This folder only”, check List permission and be sure you don’t check the replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object, otherwise you may have to restore the rights on all virtual machines permissions.

Posted in Blog, Hyper-V, Windows 2008R2 by ronnypot at November 16th, 2010.
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12 Responses to “Unable to start Hyper-V virtual machines on a Windows 2008 R2 server”

  1. James says:

    I ran into the same issue when my VM’s wouldn’t start after a GPO wiped out all my default permission settings. I gave only the local machine/users group “list folder / read data” permissions for “subfolders only”, and this seems to have fixed the issue. Hopefully this helps others out there to avoid having to open up their security any more than necessary. If someone can explain why this permission setting is necessary, I’m sure that would help everyone else as well!

    • James says:

      > edit: forgot to mention I applied that permission setting on the root of the C: drive, since my VM’s are running from a mounted volume attached to that location.

  2. Denniz says:

    Did have the same issue just today, but nothing described did actually work for me. Finally did copy the .VHD and created a new hyper-v machine, attached the copied vhd, and the machine did start again.

    After this all, i did try to delete the ‘old’ hyper-v files from the harddrive, and what happened!!! A file was in use, and got the error: The action can’t be completed because the file is open in McAfee McShield. The file in question: [guid].vsv.

    So the real problem was not anywhere in Windows/hyper-v, but was caused by McAfee!!!

    • ronnypot says:

      If you would like to run anti-virus software on your hyper-v host it is always recommended to exclude the folder where your hyper-v’s are hosted. Not only for this problem but also for performance reasons.

  3. martin says:

    Thanks… i tried this as the last option, i could not believe my eyes when VM started 🙂

  4. Ayoub says:

    It works after i restart the server hosting virtual machines

  5. Ryan says:

    Thanks, this sorted the issue for me

  6. ssc says:

    This post helped me too. But I had to give full permissions to local machine\authenticated users group on the folder which contained the virtual machine files.

  7. Raymond says:

    Worked perfectly, thanks for posting this! I was in a hurry and didn;t want to figure out what the GUID was.

  8. IgnaceSQL says:

    This was the last step I needed to move from 2008R2 Hyper-V to 2012 Hyper-V. Really appreciate you sharing!!

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