The case of the flapping VMware Secure Token Service

sick-vmwareSo after upgrading to vCenter 5.5.0b we encountered a problem where the VMware Secure Token Service would not stay started. It would start and then immediately fail. Some initial poking around lead to looking at the STS logs in C:\ProgramData\VMware\CIS\runtime\VMwareSTS\logs. After checking the catalina log for the current date (catalina.2014-03-21.log) I noticed a bunch of SEVERE errors like the following:

SEVERE [WrapperSimpleAppMain] org.apache.coyote.AbstractProtocol.init Failed to initialize end point associated with ProtocolHandler [“http-bio-7080”]

This error was in the vpxd log:

Unable to create SSO facade: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it.

And finally a few java errors: Address already in use: JVM_Bind <null>:7080

Staring at those errors lead me to remember where I’ve seen “7080” before. Long ago vCenter Converter Standalone was installed on the system and during its configuration port 7080 was selected. As it turns out this port is needed in order for the Secure Token Service to run but its nowhere to be found in the Required ports for vCenter 5.5 KB article. You can check what ports are being used by vCenter Converter by looking at the XML located at use C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware vCenter Converter Standalone\converter-server.xml and drill down to the proxySvc\ports\http node.

Stopping the vCenter Converter services and/or changing the port resolves this issue. This probably wont be true for most of you so look for any services using port 7080 (netstat -abn might help).

VM Guest Customizations failing

A new VM was deployed from a template but the VM guest customizations would not complete. The error that was received was:

LaunchDll:Could not load DLL C:\Windows\system32\iesysprep.dll


The template was made with Windows 2008 x64. Before the VM was made into a template it had IE9 installed. IE9 was then uninstalled to downgrade back to IE7. It appears when IE is upgraded some more sysprep steps are added for IE. The removal of IE9 did not remove these extra steps and when sysprep goes to call the .dll it is not present.

The additional sysprep steps were removed from the registry:

Navigate to:


 Under each of these keys, Cleanup, Generalize, Specialize, delete any value that looks like:


Install SQL Server 2008 native client using MS SQL 2008 Management Studio Express download

There’s an issue with using the SQL 2012 client with vCenter 5.0U2. So as a workaround I installed the SQL 2008 native client on a Server 2012 installed vCenter to connect to a SQL 2012 database on a Server 2012 server.

  1. Download Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express.
  2. Run the installation program and ignore any warnings. Once inside the installations center screen select “Options” and take note of the Installation Media Root Directory.SQL_Install_Dir
  3. Navigate to this directory and then drill down to \x64\setup\x64 and copy the sqlncli.msi to a temporary location on your system.
  4. Run sqlncli.msi.

Install .NET 3.5 on Windows Server 2012 using PowerShell

As an update to a previous post on the subject of installing .Net Framework 3.5 on Windows Server 2012 I discovered a PowerShell method as an alternative. Before trying this make sure you have the Windows 2012 DVD in your respective DVD drive and run the following command in an Administrative PowerShell window:

Install-WindowsFeature Net-Framework-Core -Source D:\Sources\sxs

Installing .Net 3.5 using PowerShell


Clean install of Windows 7 using upgrade media

This is new to probably no one but since I recently had to re-install Windows 7 to a laptop I figured I’d like to do it clean vice installing Vista then upgrading to Windows 7.

  1. Install Windows 7 using the upgrade CD. Boot from the CD. Do not enter the product key during this phase!
  2. Install all 10 million updates.
  3. Open the registry editor and navigate to:HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OOBE
  4. Change MediaBootInstall to “0“.
  5. Close regedit.
  6. Open up an admin command prompt (cmd) and type:slmgr /rearm
  7. Close the cmd prompt windows and then use the Activate Windows utility to continue.