Recovering a Broken Fusion VM After an OS X Kernel Panic

Pursuant to the previous issue with kernel panics, the client reported that one panic had happened while she had a Fusion XP virtual machine running, now the VM wouldn’t boot. It errored out with a “Missing SYSTEM32 directory” error (or words to that effect),and admonished me to start from an installer disc and run the recovery console.

This requires either lightning reflexes, or editing the VM settings to get a longer POST delay. VMWare, conveniently enough, has an article on this. Getting the system booted from CD and running the discovery console didn’t help, but I did notice during the process that the VMDK file for the problem VM had an associated lockfile, and there was a VMEM file present. On a whim, I moved these files to the trash (actually, it was less a whim than an educated guess…lockfiles are a continual irritation when moving VMs between machines).

Et voîla (that’s probably the wrong accent mark), the VM booted, ran chkdsk, and recovered nicely. The moral of the story is: Look in your VM bundle, and dump lock and vmem files before assuming the VM is actually bad.