Starting a saved virtual machine–with a missing virtual hard disk

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I came across a person with this problem on our forums recently:

If you have a virtual machine that is in a saved state, but one of the virtual machines disks is now missing for some reason, you cannot start the virtual machine and you cannot remove the missing virtual disk.

If you try to start the virtual machine you will get an error message that states that the disk in question is missing:


If you try to remove the virtual disk in question – you will find that we do not let you change the setting as the virtual machine is in a saved state:


To get out of this situation you need to:

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager
  2. Select the virtual machine in question
  3. Right click on the virtual machine and select Delete Saved State…
  4. Select Delete on the confirmation dialog
  5. Open the virtual machine settings
  6. Remove the missing virtual disk
  7. Start the virtual machine

Note – deleting a virtual machine saved state is similar to pulling the power cord out from a running computer – so there is a minor chance for data corruption / etc…


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  • Hi Ben, is this the IDE Disk 0 which hosting the OS as well? Or is this an additional disk hosting the data which is separate from IDE 0? Can we assume same action can be taken if the disk is SCSI?

  • How about if this is on a personal machine with Virtual PC (not Hyper-V)?

  • Its quiet good to hear.

  • In my case it was a USB drive that had been attached to the VM as a physical disk, then unplugged but not properly removed.  I did not want to delete the saved state, so I did the following...

    1. Close the Hyper-v manager.  Shut down the Hyper-V Virtual Machine Management Service (all VMs stay running, just the Hyper-V manager will not run until you restart.

    2. Find the .XML file for you machine, make a backup copy

    3. Edit the file, identify the disk in question and remove it from the file .  For me, it was the whole section bracketed by <Drive4?

    4. Save the XML file, restart the VMM service then restart your machine.  

    Worked great for me, but don't do this unless you feel like you understand how to edit the XML file, and make sure to make that back up copy!

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Starting a saved virtual machine–with a missing virtual hard disk