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A dreaded message to run into which I had the fortune of doing the other day. I searched far and beyond on the forums and countless threads trying to figure out what was the problem. Since it took me a couple of days to figure it out, I thought it would be appropriate to address the issue and how I solved it here!

First and foremost how i began to encounter the problem was that in the middle of an update where i had to reboot my server (where this software resides) the VMWare hung itself during shutdown.. so in haste, I force-quitted the software to be able to boot. This was a big mistake to do. In doing so (i actually had no choice since it hung) it did not write the proper configuration settings to the “machine”-file.

Anyhow, lets get going to the solution shall we? There is a couple of steps that I read about that might mitigate the problem.

Step 1

Since the “machine” was still in a suspended state I could not do anything to the file. To be able to alter anything this needed to be powered down. I read that this is not possible to do in the 5.x version of Fusion but if you are lucky you are on a higher version

Open the VMWare software, in the menu bar at the top, open the “Virtual Machine” menu and hold down the alt-key. This will give you the option of Force Suspend, Force Restart and Force Shut Down. Click the Force Shutdown and wait a bit for it to finish that step.

Step 2

This one is a bit more hairy, so if you are a bit afraid of problems or the machine means a lot to you (which I would suggest it does otherwise you would not be here) do a backup of the file. It’s no longer used by the VMWare software after the forced shutdown.. When I was doing this I saw that my machine file was 108GB, so I actually did not back it up but instead backed up the files I was removing in machine. If you are having problem locating the file, open the VMWare software again and under Window / Virtual Machine Library you will see your machine, right click on the  machine and show in finder.

From here, right click the file and press
Show Package Contents

This will take you deeper down the rabbit hole and expose whats in it. This is where I choose to backup a couple of the files that I was deleting (my bet was actually to move it out to another folder, compress them and then delete it, since I did not want a filesystem reference occurring within OS X).
The files you will be looking for is anything that ends in

.lck

.vmss

In my case, I only found a .lck folder. Move it out, or if a backup exists, remove it. Now you want to head into the next file and that is the one ending in .vmx .. Open this file in a text editor that does NOT add any RTF to the file and only looks at the file from a TXT perspective. I choose to use BBEdit, an awesome editor from Bare Bones.

Okay, on to the next step, in this file locate a line that says

checkpoint.vmState

And remove anything you find in between the quotes so it should look something like this
checkpoint.vmState = “”

Save, close and close down the finder-window. We are done in this rabbit hole.. Now this solely could solve your problems but did not do it for me. I actually had to shut down every single process that VMWare had.

Step 3

Open up a terminal and write this command in one straight line:
ps aux | grep ‘[V]MWare’ | awk ‘{print $2}’

This will give you a list of numbers, this is the numbers that VMWare is currently operating on. Time to kill each and every one of them. If nothing comes up you might have spelled something wrong. Try running the command ps -A and search for anything that has VMWare in it’s name.

Now onwards to killing. The command you want to use here is
killall -KILL <number>
where <number> is, one at a time, the numbers from the previous command that gave you a list.
Funny thing though. After I was done doing all this I opened up the System Monitor application to verify everything was completely shut down on VMWares behalf. And actually ended up finding some more processes there (I have no idea why but hey, it was one of my steps), so low and behold a rampage was done and I killed everything with the name VMWare in the list.

Finish line

After I killed all the processes that VMWare had, I started the software, went into the Virtual Machine Library and double-clicked the machine. Voila, it rebooted from scratch. Hope this helps anyone out there with the same problem as I had.

Feel free to comment to improve on this post.