Thursday, September 03, 2009

Problem with Windows Server 2003 NIC's after running VMware Converter

When you convert a physical machine to virtual, VMware Converter will create VMware-compatible network interfaces. It does not delete the old hardware interfaces that are no longer used, it simply hides them from Device Manager. When you try to assign an IP address to the new interface, you may find yourself in one of these situations:
  • You get the error "The IP address is assigned to another adapter which is hidden. In order to allocate the actual IP address of the server to the network adapter/s you'll need to remove the hidden adapters."
  • You can assign the IP address, but the Network Properties dialog shows it is DHCP. ipconfig will show the static IP. Resetting the static IP in the Network Properties doesn't stick.

If the first one happens it's pretty shocking because you can't give your server the IP address you want, and you can't find the interface that has it assigned. In the second case it doesn't hurt anything because it still works, it's just inconsistent and can cause some issues when troubleshooting.

To fix this follow these steps:
  • Open a command prompt on the affected VM
  • Type set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 and press Enter
  • Open Device Manager by typing devmgmt.msc and pressing Enter from the same command prompt
  • In Device Manager click View > Show Hidden Devices
  • Find the old devices and delete them
  • Restart the server
I found most of these steps in the VMware Forums. The downside is it doesn't always work. I've had about a 50% success rate with getting it to actually delete the incorrect NIC.


  1. you can also go to the registry

    hklm\system\currentcontrolset\services and the first {something
    is the nic's , delete and reboot also works like a charm

  2. Flemming, in my case they weren't listed in the Registry. I tried that first. :-) I had to hack Control Panel to make them visible, then delete them from there.

  3. I think you can change this settings in the demgr itself. Not sure about the exact labels in this one, because i use german devmgr.msc...
    Its in the menu-bar, the third from the left. In german, it's "Ansicht", yould be "View" in an English XP. In the menu which pops up, choose the fifth from the top. Should be something like "Show hidden devices"