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vmware tools and msvcp71.dll August 22, 2009

Posted by jamesisaac in Uncategorized.

One aspect of this data center move is moving servers from our VMWare 3.5 stack to our vSphere 4.0 stack. (By the way, what do you call a group of VMWare hosts? A farm? A cluster? A data center? I usually refer to it as the stack.) Our office and data center are separated and even though there’s a fiber link between them, I get faster bandwidth by copying the virtual machines to a USB drive, transporting the disk across town to the data center, plugging it in to a server at the data center, and uploading the vm image to the 4.0 stack. This process has worked reliably for probably 20 virtual machines, until I ran into a brand new error tonight.

The server in question was a Windows 2003 SP2 server with SQL 2000 installed. The usual process is to upload the vm folder to a datastore, register the machine, then turn it on. Due to networking changes, I log in and change the ip address, then install the vmware tools, reboot, then shut down, migrate the hardware to VM type 7, then power it back up.

This time, after upgrading I noticed a new error on boot – “at least one service could not be started.” An investigation into the event log was in order. Red Flag #2 was an error that popped up when starting the event log – something about msvcp71.dll not being available. I assumed that this was due to some software which a developer had probably installed which plugged into the mmc framework. Browsing the event log, I found that the service which failed to start was MS SQL. That’s a problem.

I tried to start SQL from the services mmc – no good. Rebooted. Still no good. Checked the SQL logs and the last time SQL had run was – interestingly enough – after the migration. What changed? IP address? Why would that cause a problem?

I tried some other SQL tools, such as query analyzer, and ran into the msvcp71.dll error again. Ah ha – if these tools can’t run, then it’s likely that SQL can’t run either. What is this msvcp71.dll anyway? I found a few references in Google to spyware and system scans and missing dll’s. (One helpfully suggested that the user may have deleted the file themselves, so check the recycle bin to see if it’s there. Like that ever happens.)

I narrowed my search to the one thing that I knew had changed – the VMWare Tools installation – and sure enough, there it was. The vSphere 4.0 tools installer deletes msvcp71.dll.



I browsed to another server, found the dll, copied it to the \winnt\system32, rebooted, and SQL came right up. The server is back in business.

But why would this ever happen? What caused the VMWare developers to think it was a good idea to delete a file which (according to the searches) lots of other programs depend on? I’ve no idea.

Anyway, file this away in your mental checklist – if you upgrade to vSphere, verify that things work before you upgrade the VMWare tools, and then upgrade and check again. If your OS has a problem, odds are that this guy is responsible.



1. Greg - September 23, 2009

this fixed me up

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