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ESXi: Failed to reconfigure virtual machine… There are insufficient licenses to complete this operation.

Posted by jpluimers on 2020/02/21

Failed to reconfigure virtual machine W81Entx64-vs2017. There are insufficient licenses to complete this operation.

Searching for “There are insufficient licenses to complete this operation.” memory did not reveal much, so at first I thought I had a memory issue.

A quick look at esxtop in memory (m) mode indicated that was totally fine:

BTW: esxtop is a fantascit tool, with truckloads of information, so you should definitely read these:

Then something occurred to me:

The cause was that I tried to update the memory of an ESXi Windows VM which I thought I had shut-down from within Windows, but actually bumped an error message during the shutdown.

Shutting down properly (shutdown -s -t 0 in Windows), then increasing the memory worked fine:

Virtual machine W81Ent64-vs2017 was successfully reconfigured.

ESXi cannot increase the memory of a live system, hence the license error as per [WayBack] VMware Hot-Add: How and When to Use it:

One of the most common questions I receive on the daily management of virtual machines is if you should turn on hot-add features and why doesn’t VMware turn them on by default. The answer is very clear.

What are the requirements for Hot-add/Hot-plug:

  • Your virtual machines need to run at minimum hardware version 7.
  • Hot-add/Hot-Plug is not compatible with Fault Tolerance
  • vSphere Advanced, Enterprise or Enterprise plus.
  • Only hot-add is possible. You cannot “hot-remove” RAM or vCPUs.
  • Hot-Add/Hot-plug must be supported by the VM operating system!
  • Guest-OS licensing limitations need to be monitored and taken into consideration. You are changing the number of vCPUs/RAM!


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