ESXi Pink Screen of Death (PsOD)

Have you ever seen one? 🙂

This was my first:


How it started

But let me start from the beginning. We’re using Veeam Backup Software installed as a VM, backing up all other VM’s on the same and another host in a shared vCenter environment. As soon as Veeam tried to backup VM’s from the same host, ESXi ran into this pink screen.


The Screenshot tells us something about Exception 14 in world 34461 (line 2) and even more informational, there’s another hint “…E1000PollRxRing@vmkernel…”. You’ll find this at the first line beginning with 0x41239a…


VMware recommends using vmxnet3 Network Adapters every possible time. We didn’t and actually ran into a problem here. Since we’ve changed only the network card of the Veeam VM to vmxnet3, we never saw Pink screens again. Unfortunately. 😛

Search Service Cluster Edition

Windows Server File Services is a classic well known Service form Microsoft. If you use the Search bar on the top of every Windows Explorer Window since Windows 7, your fileserver will respond very fast with an result, but only if Search Service is installed. If not, you’ll see a slow and long time working search, that displays one file found aftern another.

Setup Steps

If you follow this order of steps, you’ll have success:

  • Configure Search Service as described below
  • Move Clustered File Server with all Drives to the other Node
  • Configure Search Service on other Node(s)
  • Setup Clustered Service (details at the end of article)

Here are the detailed configuration steps:

Search Service Configuration

Because Search Index can be used for multiple drives of a file server / cluster, we will use an additional, clustered Drive using letter S. The following configuration steps must be dont on both cluster nodes individually, while the file server cluster role is active on that node.

  • Create folder S:\Search, if it doen’t already exist
  • Stop service “Windows Search” and set startup type to “manual”

To force windows to use the new search index location also after a index reset, the following registry key must be modified.

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows Search\
DataDirectory -> S:\Search\Data\
DefaultDataDirectory -> S:\Search\Data\

  • start Service „Windows Search“
  • check folder content: die search put in some files here?

Now we configure the folders to be indexed. The easiest way would be using the GUI in control panel. For easy access, just create a desktop icon for this command:

control /name Microsoft.IndexingOptions

  • click on “modify” to de-select existing indexed locations
  • add all to-be-indexed shares
  • stop Windows Search Service

Configuration complete – on this node. Now the same steps are required on the other node too.

Setup Clustered Generic Service

After configuring both Nodes with the steps above, we can create a Clustered Generic Service for Windows Search.

  • start Failover Cluster Manager
  • Add a “Generic Service” under your fileserver’s Role
  • Open Properties of the new Service and add a Dependency for Drive S:
  • right-click on the Search Service and choose “bring online” to start
  • test if Failover works by doing Failover and re-check the Search Configuration



Upgrade ESXi to 5.5 using a USB Stick

USB Stick vorbereiten

  • Open cmd
  • Start diskpart
  • list disk (to show up all existing disks)
  • select disk 1 (where number 1 is the number of your USB Stick
  • clean (to clear the existing config)
  • create partition primary
  • select partition 1
  • active
  • format fs=fat32 quick
  • assign
  • exit

After this steps:

Interactive Upgrade

  • Boot from USB Installation Media

If the installer finds an existing ESX or ESXi installation and VMFS datastore you can choose from the following options:

  • Upgrade ESXi, preserve VMFS datastore
  • Install ESXi, preserve VMFS datastore
  • Install ESXi, overwrite VMFS datastore

INFO: If an existing VMFS datastore cannot be preserved, you can choose only to install ESXi and overwrite the existing VMFS datastore, or to cancel the installation. If you choose to overwrite the existing VMFS datastore, back up the datastore first.

  • Press F11 to confirm and start the upgrade
  • At the end, Remove USB Stick, Press Enter to reboot the host

After the Upgrade

  • Connect to Host
  • View the upgrade logs. You can use the vSphere Web Client to export the log files.
  • Import Licenses and reapply them to ESX Hosts. When the upgrade is complete, ESXi is in evaluation mode.