Why is my virtual machine “Off-Critical”?

Why is my virtual machine “Off-Critical”?

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In Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 we have introduced a new state for a virtual machine to be in.  This is called “Off-Critical”.


What is happening here is that there is a virtual machine registered with Hyper-V – but we cannot find the XML configuration file for that virtual machine.  In the past, this would have just caused the virtual machine to disappear from Hyper-V Manager.  In Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 we now show the virtual machine in Hyper-V Manager – but mark it as “Off-Critical”.

The most common reason to have a virtual machine that is “Off-Critical” is because you had the virtual machine stored on a file server or removable disk (e.g. USB) that is not currently available. 

When a virtual machine is in this state you have two options:

  • Delete the virtual machine.  This will simply tell Hyper-V to stop looking for this virtual machine.
  • Restore the missing storage (e.g. reconnect the USB disk)

Note that in the beta build, after you have restored the missing storage you will need to stop and start the virtual machine management service for us to detect that the configuration file is back.  Once you have done this – everything should be good again:

MissingVM Back


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  • May be I'm wrong, but I have seen this state in some old 2008 R2 Hyper-V's and I think even in a 2008 Hyper-V.

  • We have always had "paused-critical" but not "Off-critical"

  • Found this - I have 3 VMs in this state. But the storage is available, I can open the XML files and read them... I can;t find anything wrong with the file structure. What else can cause this state?

    If I find the {GUID}.xml shortcut and rename it then the server is removed from Hyper-V. If I rename it back then it reappears but with this state... if I rename this file and create a new shortcut then the shortcut properties don;t seem correct - Hyper-V will not recognise it

    Any help?

  • Thanks this post pointed me in the right direction - VM was on an external drive...

  • Hello Ben,

    I found your post while I was troubleshooting the Hyper-V on my Laptop. Actually my problem was different, but your article was leading me to the solution.

    Please have a look: jensit.wordpress.com/.../client-hyper-v-offcritical

    Best Regards,


  • I have a private cloud lab, I began to experience problems with OS corruption. Solved using previous snapshots.

    time later, to try to create a vm, the launcher ws2012, notify me that I could not format the VHD. I figured it was due to problems of fragmentation on the hard disk.

    perform a defrag, it does not fix my problem.

    perform resource monitoring (perfmon) to validate the i/o hard disk drive. and was at this time, when my disk is corrupted and transformed to RAW.

    I mount the hard drive on another computer and do a chkdsk /f, and this repair the unit.

    I return the hard drive to the server, windows detected the recycle bin was corrupted folder and select it eliminated.

    in the hyper-v manager shows all my VMs, but some indicate the off-critical state. and the other VMs can not initialize, show error:

    "Attempt to read an update or virtual machine configuration failed"

    "vm-xx Could not initialize"

    "vm-xx Could not read or update virtual machine configuration: unspecified failure (0x80004005)

  • Thank you information, but need more materials..

  • I have ISCSI Targets for my VMS and every time I shut down and restart ISCSI I get OFF CRITICAL on a couple of the machines but not all of them. Makes no sense. It comes back eventually though.

  • Had this happen with a san volume that was remapped to a different drive letter. The changed drive letter caused the <VM ID>.xml path to be invalid and that results in the offline-critical in my case. Changed the drive letter back to the original and all the machines are good to go.

  • The error can also occur when the Hyper-V does not properly stop a virtual machine, in this case, clean the directory <VM Name> \ Virtual Machines \ <VM GUID>

  • This problem occurs on my lab machine.  It looks like it's because the VMs are on my second drive which is Bitlocker protected.  It looks like the Virtual machine service starts before Bitlocker has unlocked the drive.  I'm thinking of adding a dependency to the Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management Service for the BitLocker Drive Encryption Service.  In my case I can stop and start the Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management and the VMs look fine.

  • We see this all the time with our  iSCSI attached storage when we restart the windows 2012 R2 Hyper-V server.   Seems the iSCSI service  cannot get the volumes available soon enough and VMMS  reports errors accessing the volumes.   The status does clear after 1-2 minutes.  Sadness, as this breaks the Automatic Start Action.   Seeing 4096 event id entries for each of the Off-critical VMs.  Using software iSCSI (MSiSCSI) vs a dedicated iSCSI controller.

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