VMWare Server: The VMware Host Agent service terminated with service-specific error 4294967295 (0xFFFFFFFF).

Having just rebooted my laptop, I clicked on the link to open VMWare Infrastructure Web Access in the my browser and was slightly puzzled by the "page cannot be displayed" error. I figured it was probably the VMWare Server Web Access service not starting for some reason, so I opened services.msc and checked it out. The Web Access service was actually running, but the Host Agent service was not, so I tried to start it – it failed. Dutifully opening Event Viewer for some more information I found the error:

The VMware Host Agent service terminated with service-specific error 4294967295 (0xFFFFFFFF).

Great. Thanks for the elaboration. Time to check the VMWare logs, (c:\ProgramData\VMWare\VMWare Server\) – the most recent of which contained the following entry:

[2009-02-18 10:55:27.908 'App' 4408 info] Trying hostsvc
[2009-02-18 10:55:27.948 'App' 4408 panic] error: not well-formed (invalid token)
[2009-02-18 10:55:27.948 'App' 4408 panic] backtrace:(backtraces not supported)
[2009-02-18 10:55:27.948 'App' 4408 info] Win32 service stopped

 A bit of Googling pointed me in the right direction, "not well-formed" refers to the XML config files which are stored in c:\ProgramData\VMWare\VMWare Server\hostd, after that it was just a case of opening each one in turn until I found the malformed one. I backed it up and replaced it with a default version, and lo and behold, my services started!

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  1. best says

    fantastic stuff.. this plagued me as well.. turned out to be the datastores.xml fine was corrupted/empty. There was however another version of the file called datastores.xml.default. so i just renamed that to be datastores.xml and started the VMware Host Agent. Perfect, Thanks!!

  2. mack says

    had the same problem, corrupt datastores.xml file, moved it out and started the VMware Host Agent.
    Worked a charm….Thanks!

  3. Mak says

    Thanks to all of you for taking the time out to share this with all of us! This fixed my problem within minutes!

  4. James says

    Datastores.xml was the problem in my case as well.

    The only difference was the message error I got:

    The VMware Host Agent service terminated with service-specific error %%-1.

    Oh well, maybe it’s a Windows 7 RC x64 compatibility thing… 😛

  5. dalmo says

    The datastore on my system had several [null]..[null] entries.
    I deleted it. The service Vmwware host agent started and everything is just working.

  6. codeplexer says

    Just FYI, the C:\ProgramData is a hidden folder. Just type the folder name in the Explorer bar Address text box it will appear. Mine do not have the datastores.xml.default so I just rename the datastores.xml to something else like corrupted_datastores.xml

    and then restart the service, it works again.

  7. codeplexer says

    I have this problem again but this time it’s not the datastores.xml it’s the config.ini file corrupted – it’s empty/blank/0byte. 😉

    I solved it by running the installation again and choose the Repair option. After it is finished it recreate the config.ini file and the VMware hostd service started successfully again.

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