System F keys

Note: These function keys can change with any new software/firmware release and also different hardware types. These function keys are more for server hardware and not desktop hardware.


F1 : Setup
F2 : Diagnostics
F12 : Boot Device


F2 : Setup
F6 : Boot Menu
F7 : Diagnostics
F8 : Cisco IMC Configuration
F12 : Network Boot


F10 : Setup


F2 : Setup


DEL : Setup
F11 : Boot Menu
F12 : Lan boot


ESXi – if some of these don’t work ESXi could be hung or they could be disabled.

ALT-F1 : console
ALT-F11 : banner screen
ALT-F12 : VMkernel log


ALT-F1 : service console
ALT-F2 : service console
ALT-F11 : banner screen
ALT-F12 : VMkernel log


F2 : Setup
F12 : Network Boot
ESC : Boot Menu

Additional data:


Is the server a VM

Issue: Have you ever worked at a large company and get someone telling you their server is a VM but you can’t locate it?

What might have happened:

  1. the servers name was changed at on the VM or OS and someone has the new or old name and it no longer synced correctly
  2. out of date inventory/cmdb
  3. it could be physical
  4. DNS alias

A workaround:

Here are some commands that will help track down the system, you can twink a few of these commands to get additional data. You will need access to the server OS that you are trying to track down for these commands to work.

dmidecode -t system | grep ‘Manufacture\|Product\|Version\|Serial Number\|UUID’
dmesg | grep -i hypervisor (maybe)

wmic computersystem get model,name,manufacturer,systemtype
ipconfig /all

prtdiag -v | head -3
/usr/sbin/ifconfig -a
arp -a
/usr/bin/netstat -pn | grep SP
ipadm show-addr (solaris 11+)
uname -n

TSM error ANS2310E


TSM for VE will sometimes give error ANS2310E The create snapshot task is disabled on the virtual machine ‘*’. As a result, the virtual machine cannot be backed up.


If the VM is getting vmotioned or storage vmotioned, snapshot tasks will fail and this error will be created.


Retry the backup job at a later time after the vmotion is complete.

File copy error

The Error: Error 0x80090006: Invalid Signature

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 2.43.31 PM

The Problem: We have had a few vmware VMs with some file copy problems. And they have produced some very odd messages.

The Workaround: Is to vmotion them to a new host. Seems to be an issue with the hosts physical network cards and network corruption.

How to roll up a vmware snapshot that is to large


A very old and large snapshot was removed from snapshot manager it said it completed, a month later the datastore was full that the VM was in. Looking in to the files for that VM it was found that the snapshot disks where still in the VM’s folder directory. But nothing was in the snapshot manager. Migrate/svmotion was also failing to move the disks out to a different datastore with space.


The Fix:

  1. Get a temp datastore created for size of all the drives on that system that have snapshot disks (hostname-000001.vmdk)
  2. clone the disks via command line, pointing the source vmdk to clone the snapshot disk and point the destination as the new datastore
  3. after the clone are done and all your vmdk files have been cloned and all data rolled up you can delete your old data from the old data store
  4. then copy the vmdk files from your temp datastore to your old datastore
  5. remove temp datastore

Note: To commit a snapshot you need twice the space of the snapshot to commit it, if you don’t it will fail.

How to change the keyboard for VMWare ESX


Someone installed ESX in a different country and picked there language. Now you have to fix a problem on the console or via ssh and can’t type your commands

The Fix:

  1. loadkeys xx from the command line (the xx for US is us) Note: this will only be a temp change until the next reboot

To fix it for good:

NOTE: make a backup of your files before making changes to them

  1. edit “/etc/sysconfig/keyboard”
  2. change KEYTABLE=”xx” to KEYTABLE=”us” for us keyboard

Increase ESX heartbeat to vCenter

How to increase your heartbeat timeout for your ESX hosts to vCenter. Normally every ESX host sends a heartbeat every 10 sec and the virtual center (vCenter) waits 20sec for that heartbeat. This should not be a problem if you have a good network or good links for remote sites. But if you have a slow link to a remote site that can mean that your hosts might show up as not responding when they are.


The fix:

Note! do a back up of your vpxd.cfg file first

locate the vpxd.cfg file at C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\ and add in the <vpxd> </vpxd>




Then restart the virtualcenter server service

VMWare host with disconnected VM’s

The Problem:

Today we had a host (ESX 3.5 U3) that is in a DRS/HA cluster, The host was not disconnected and you could ssh to it and connect the VIC to it locally with out problem. But all the VM’s running on that host became disconnected, but they where still running. Second problem was that the to put the host in to maintenance mode gave a error of failed do to bad username or password, we would also get this error when trying to power up some VM’s in the cluster or when some VM’s would try and migrate via VMotion.


The Fix:

  1. Disconnect the Host from virtual center
  2. remove the host from virtual center
  3. rejoin the host back to virtual center
  4. reconfigure vmware HA.

How to align Windows disks in VMware with Netapp disk

alertWarning: Always have a backup before you perform disk alignments in windows

How to check Drive alignment in windows:

  1. run “System Information” (msinfo32.exe in Start-> Run)
  2. and select Components .. Storage .. Disks
  3. scroll to the bottom and you will see the Partition Starting Offset information.
  4. This number needs to be perfectly divisible by 4096.
  5. The default .vmdk, you will see the Partition Starting Offset set to 32,256  (32,256 / 4096 = 7.875)
  6. and thus this file system is not correctly aligned.

 Align C Drive

To do this after a P2V or after the fact to use mbrscan and mbralign in the ESX console to align, you will need to go to the host the VM is running on to do the steps (not for ESXi because they are part of netapp host tools that needs to be installed)

New VM

create your vm and use a boot disk before you install the OS to align the disk (follow align other disk section)

How to align other windows disks

alertImportant warning: If you do these steps on C drive you will lose your data

Note: if you have a misaligned disk you will need to create a new disk perform the steps and migrage the data, After you have added a new disk to your VM and NOT formated it follow the below steps, this might work with the align C drive steps to save recreating and migrating data, but have not tried it.

  1. CMD>diskpart
  2. DISKPART> list disk (disks should be listed)
  3. DISKPART> select disk # (This selects the disk drive)
  4. DISKPART> list partition (This step should result in a message stating “There are no partitions on this disk to show.” This message confirms the disk is blank)
  5. DISKPART> create partition primary align=64
  6. Viewing the disk using “System Information” the Partition Starting Offset is now 65,536… 65,536 / 4096 = 16, and thus this file system is properly aligned to the storage blocks.
  7. Format it

Another note: is currently VMware converter does not align your harddrives this will need to be done after you do your P2V, and you do not need these steps for Windows 2008 it should be aligned from the install.

GUI to add Portgroup to multi hosts

Warning: This tool is not created by VMware so use at your own risk, test it out before use

Ever needed to add a new portgroup to your VMware farm/cluster or enviroment? Well there is a GUI tool that will let you do this to 1 or more hosts. I did about 16 host in about 5mins with this tool so it may help you guys out.

Download: There is also a screenshot of the tool too.