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Windows 8 and Windows 2012 Server or later virtual machines hang at splash screen after reboot

This issue has been noted while and I thought to share this in my post as this was a common situation in Windows 8 and Windows 2012 Server in all our vSphere 5.5 environments, these virtual machines hang at splash screen without booting up the Operating System.

VMware KB article (2092807) clearly mentioned that, this issue is causing with the virtual machines configured with the virtual hardware version 10 (vmx-10), but I have seen some virtual machines lower than virtual hardware version 10 have the same symptoms when booting up the OS. I’m not quite sure this issue is limited to the virtual hardware version 10 (vmx-10) or that’s something wrong with our virtual machines. But we were able to fix this after following the same workaround.

Virtual Machines Hang at Splash Screen

This is how the the console looks like when the Operating system Loading, it is sitting in the same splash screen until we perform a manual reset of the virtual machine.

virtual machines hang at splash screen

The cause of this issue explained as below:

Starting with Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 or later, during the boot process, the operating system resets the TSC (TimeStampCounter, increments by 1 for each passed cycle) on CPU0 when it detects it to be equal or larger than 0x40000000000000. It does not reset the TSC of the other vCPUs and the resulting discrepancy between two vCPUs TSC values may result in the issues described under the Symptoms section. This only applies to virtual machine hardware version 10 as Windows resets the TSC on all CPUs on virtual machines with older hardware versions (which do not support hypervisor.cpuid.v2)

This issue is fixed in below VMware ESXi versions:

Virtual Machines Hang at Splash Screen workaround Fix!

You can follow the below workaround to fix this splash screen and we were able to fix the similar issues in all our Windows 8 and Windows 2012 servers.

Power down the virtual machine, right-click and select “Edit Settings…

virtual machines hang at splash screen : Edit Settings

Go to “VM Options” tab, expand “Advanced” menu click on “Edit Configuration…

virtual machines hang at splash screen : VM options

Add the “monitor_control.enable_softResetClearTSC = TRUE” parameter to the virtual machine (parameter and value is in separate columns, follow the screencapture to the parameter update)

virtual machines hang at splash screen : add parameter

Save the configuration and Power On the virtual machine, Windows Operating system will load without an issue.

virtual machines hang at splash screen : OS Loaded

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Windows 8 and Windows 2012 Server or later virtual machines hang at splash screen after reboot
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Aruna Lakmal

Senior Virtualization Engineer at Pearson, Sri Lanka. Technology junky, enthusiast, a VMware vExpert and a blogger with more than 6 years of Experience in Information Technology more focusing on VMware Virtualization, Microsoft and Datacenter Technologies.

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