If you’re running Server 2012 R2 in a vSphere 5.5 environment with version 10 hardware then you may have been greeted by this sight after a reboot (typically after installing Windows Updates):
Server 2012 R2 Boot Screen

Well you’re not alone, it’s a known issue with v10 hardware and multi-vCPU Windows 8/8.1 and Server 2012/2012 R2 VMs as documented here: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2092807 – in essence if your VMs have been more than 2 or 3 months without a power cycle (either full Power Off or hard Reset) then there’s a very good chance it’ll hang on start-up after a soft reset.

The fix is fairly straightforward but you have to apply it to every affected machine as there doesn’t seem to be a way to set it globally – hopefully this will be fixed in vSphere 6 when it arrives.

As per http://www.vmadmin.info/2010/07/error-upgrading-vmware-tools.html; if you’re getting an “Error Upgrading VMware Tools” when trying to do an automated upgrade of VMware Tools from vCenter, or by clicking the “Upgrade” button on the VMware Tools GUI, you need to either:

  • Delete C:\WINDOWS\Temp\VMwareToolsUpgrader.exe for Windows guests, or
  • mkdir /tmp/vmware-root for Linux guests

Seems like yet another case where a bit of installer detection/handling logic would avoid these problems every occurring.