VMWare Workstation – Unable to open kernel device “.\Global\vmx86” : The system cannot find the file specified

I recently upgraded my VMWare Workstation from Version 10 to 12. The software is running on Windows 10/64.

I never had any issues with VMWare Workstation 10 on Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. But after the upgrade, almost after every restart I saw the following error message when I tried to start a VM


There are several Google search results, even for older versions. Here is the most recent one, that adresses the issue and provides a ( non working ) workaround.

I uninstalled, rebooted, installed the software as advised in the technote. After several restarts it seemed to work, but the error message returned right after the next system restart.

I then looked at AntiVirus and AntiMalware software as a potential candidate for the trouble. I found a couple of registry entries that had been identified to be ‘potentielly unwanted’ and quarantined.

I restored them and after a restart I could start the VMs. Problem solved !

Err, not really.

The error message returned this morning … Damn.

Next, I looked into the Event Log. Not really helpful, because it only said that something went wrong, but no further information.

But I could at least see a pattern. Each time, the error ocurred, It looks like some service was not started because of missing dependencies.

Next, I ran services.msc and found the following.


I tried to start the services manually. Both services started without any errors. And also, I was able to start the VMs.

I am not really sure what causes the service start to fail; looks like some kind of bad timing.

I will now change the service startup from automatic to manual and add some start/stop scripts to my desktop.

I do not use the VMs on a daily basis; so starting the VMWare services manually will also save some system resources.