VMware Infrastructure 3

Current status on ESX/ESXi 3.5 Update 2 issue

For updates on the current issue with ESX/ESXi 3.5 Update 2, please refer to this knowledge base article, which will be updated over time.  http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1006716

Here is the current text as of 3:30pm PDT, but please visit the kb article for updated information.

Unable to Power On virtual machine with “A General System error occurred: Internal error”

An issue has
been discovered by many VMware customers and partners with ESX/ESXi 3.5
Update 2 where Virtual Machines fail to power on or VMotion
successfully. This problem began to occur on August 12, 2008 for
customers that had upgraded to ESX 3.5 Update 2. The problem is caused
by a build timeout that was mistakenly left enabled for the release

The following message is displayed in the vmware.log file for the virtual machine:

This product has expired. Be sure that your host machine's date and time are set correctly.
There is a more recent version available at the VMware web site: http://www.vmware.com/info?id=4.

Module License Power on failed.

You may also experience the following error when attempting to deploy virtual machines:

A general system error occurred: Internal Error
Module: PendingOperation
Thread: PendingOperation-/[path]

Affected Products:

  • VMware ESX 3.5 Update 2 & ESXi 3.5 Update 2
  • Reports of problems with ESX 3.5 U1 with the following 3.5 Update 2 patches applied.
    • ESX350-200806201-UG
  • No other VMware products are affected.



What has been done?

  • Product and Web teams pulled the ESX 3.5 Update 2 bits from the
    download pages last night so no more customers will be able to download
    the broken build.
  • VMware Engineering teams have isolated the cause of the
    problem and are working around the clock to deliver updated builds and
    patches for impacted customers.


  1. Do not install ESX 3.5 U2 if it has been downloaded from VMware’s website or elsewhere prior to August 12, 2008.
  2. Set the host time to a date prior to August 12, 2008. This
    workaround has a number of very serious side affects that could impact
    production environments. Any Virtual Machines that sync time with the
    ESX host and serve time sensitive applications would be broken. These
    include, but are not limited to database servers, mail servers, &
    domain administration systems.

Next Steps:

VMware to notify customers who have downloaded this version and provide an update every two hours.


VMware Engineering has isolated the root cause and is working to
produce an express patch for impacted customers today. The target
timeframe is 6pm, August 12, 2008 PDT.


  1. What would this express patch do?
    More information will be provided in subsequent communication updates.
  2. Will VMware still reissue the upgrade media and patch bundles in the timeframe that has been communicated?
    We still plan to reissue upgrade media by 6pm, August 13 PST (instead
    of noon, August 13 PST) and all update patch bundles later in the week.
    We will provide an ETA for the update patch bundles subsequently. NOTE:
    the "patch bundles" referred to here are for the patches listed above
    under "Affected Products" and the other bundles released at GA. They
    are not the same as the express patch which is targeted for 6pm, August
    12, 2008 PST as stated above.
  3. Why does VMware plan to reissue the upgrade media before the patch bundles?
    is not a matter of priority. Since we can get done building and testing
    the upgrade media before the patch bundles, we want to make that
    available to customers first instead of reissuing all the binaries
    later in the week.
  4. Can VMware issue a patch that opens the licensing backdoor in the next hour as a critical measure?
    There is no licensing backdoor in our code.
  5. Does this issue affect VC 2.5 Update 2?
  6. What is VMware doing to make sure that the problem won’t happen again?
    are making improvements on all fronts. A gap in product regression
    testing is being addressed to prevent a similar issue in the future.


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