At my current project we’re busy with an Exchange upgrade. Since my laptop is not a member of the domain I have been using a virtual machine hosted on ESX for tasks related to this migration.
One morning when trying to connect to the desktop I got an error that the destination host was unreachable. Thinking that some admin had been way too enthusiastic, I opened vCenter and noted that my VM had the status. After verifying that the vmdk was present on the storage I decided to unregister the VM. Registering the machine again failed with the message: “A general system error occurred: VM is not linked after host sync”.
Moving or downloading the files worked, except the vmdk and the vswp. And since I really wanted the vmdk, I decided to give it another shot.
Creating a new VM with the “old” vmdk worked, but it would not power-on. vCenter gave the error “unable to access a file since it is locked”.
This would mean that rebooting all the ESX hosts would solve it, but not all host machines could be restarted during office hours.
Performing a restart of the management service on the ESX host (service mgmt-vmware restart) gave a somewhat unexpected outcome. The ESX host changed status to unreachable for a minute and after that the original VM had reappeared in the inventory!
The ESX host had re-discovered the machine, and was able to power-on the VM successfully again.
Later I discovered the cause of all this, a failed, DRS initiated, v-motion had caused the VM to change status to disconnected. The actual error was: