Problems running VMWare Server on Windows 7
I run VMWare server on my Windows 7 Pro 64-bit media center, as it’s a power-efficient way of running a second or third machine on a PC which is always switched on anyway.
However, after revisiting it after a long hiatus, I found that it wasn’t working. I tried uninstalling, rebooting, reinstalling, rebooting – but to no avail. I also tried deleting all registry entries, but it still failed. It would present me with the web login screen, but any attempt to log in gave me an error that included:
Web Service at “http://localhost:8222/sdk” is not responding
Looking at the services, I could see that VMWare Host Agent was not running, as well as VMWare Registration Service; the others (NAT, DHCP, Authorisation) were running fine. Trying to start VMWare Host Agent gave the web page error:
The VMware Host Agent service terminated with service-specific error -1
It referred me to the system logs on the host computer. I checked, and found nothing specific, other than it failed to run. (Apologies for the lack of screenshots and specifics; ‘unfortunately’, I have it working now, as you’re about to find out).
So – the question was why the service failed to run. Well, some more digging on the error revealed this thread, showing that sometimes the XML files in Windows 7 installations can become corrupted – specifically C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware Server\hostd\datastores.xml on my machine. In my case, it contained around 200 whitespace characters – certainly no XML. Handily, there’s a datastores.xml.default file in the same directory, which I copied and used to replace the faulty datastores.xml file.
Once this was done, I could start the service with no trouble, and then the web server also magically sprung into life! Problem solved!