“A disk read error occured, press ctl+alt+delete to restart” at VM bootup

P2V conversion can get annoying if you don’t know the cause of the problem. I was converting a plain physical MS WinXP machine to a virtual one and when it was all finished, I have started the machine and got this message at VM bootup: “A disk read error occured, press ctl+alt+delete to restart”.

I was using a VMware Converter Standalone 4 on a vCenter 4 platform. Google gave me  a lot of possible solutions..from booting a WinXP recovery console to selecting a SCSI disk over IDE hard disk during conversion configuration, but the solution that worked for me was converting an IDE to SCSI disk type after conversion.


You have to write something in the VM configuration file so follow this steps to do so:

1. Connect to the ESX via SSH where your converted machine is located and go to your datastore path.

example: cd /vmfs/volumes/”datastore name”/”virtual machine name”/

2. Now edit the .vmdk file of the VM which is the primary disk file with your favorite editor – vi or nano (I prefer vi).

3. Look for the line: ddb.adapterType = “ide” and change that adapter type to “buslogic”.

example: ddb.adapterType = “buslogic”

4. Save changes and exit.

5. Now from your VMware Infrastructure/vSphere Client edit your virtual machine in a way that you remove the disk from it (do not delete it while removing!). Then add it as an existing disk – navigate to the location of the disk and select to add it into the virtual machine. While configuring the SCSI ID should read SCSI 0:0.

6. If a CDROM device exists in the virtual machine it may need to have the IDE channel changed because it could raise a problem while booting. Just remove it and add it again like an IDE 0:0.

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