If all of a sudden your vmware machines stop powering on, and the error is an undescriptive “general system error”, check and see if you are using a beta version which has expired.
When intalling vmware server 2 on windows server 2003, if you get an error like “This installation is forbidden by system policy.” even when you are logged in as administrator or have used “r-click > Run as… > Adminstrator” you may need to create a security policy. It looks like the install aborts if there are no policies at all.\
- Click Start -> Control Panel
- Open Administrative Tools
- Open Local Security Settings
Click Software Restriction Policies
- If no software restrictions are defined,
- right click the Software Restriction Policies node and select New Software Restriction Policy
Double click Enforcement
- Select “All users except local administrators”
- Click OK
- Reboot the machine
Solution thanks to Tim Chad.
There are some other known issues and workarounds in the Server 2RC1 release notes, though unfortunately not the one I was experiencing: failure to power on with “unsuported guest guestOther” message in the event log. I tried resetting permissions on the filesystem and few other things to no avail. What eventually worked was removing the VM from the system inventory and then adding it again. There was no change to the .vmx file when I did this so I think there must have been a cache somewhere else getting in the way.
If you’re wondering why I’m writing this here instead of on the v2 forum where more of the right kind of eyes will see it, it’s because after attempting to and failing to register with site half a dozen times, I give up.