Error "You do not have access rights to this file"

I had an interesting problem over the weekend. I had been working on a VM several times last week. When I went to open it on Saturday, I got an error:

Could not open virtual machine: I:MOSS003 – OCT07 BaseWindows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition.vmx.

You do not have access rights to this file

Naturally, it struck me that a) I’m admin on my own machine, so privileges seems unlikely, and b) it had worked fine on Thursday. As I: is a USB hard disc, I copied the VM to my local drive, but the problem persisted.

I made sure that permissions were the same for this VM and others – they were.

I tried upgrading VMWare from 6.0.1 to 6.0.2, just on the off-chance – the problem persisted.

I was trying to open the VM by double clicking on the .vmx file. I tried opening the VM through the ‘file open’ dialog too – that didn’t work either. In fact, that caused VMWare to crash.

In the end, one of my colleagues suggested removing all spaces in the VMX file name (based on a post in VMWare’s community forums ) – and that fixed it. If I put the spaces back into the VMX file name – errors again. The really weird thing is, though, that I have plenty of other virtual machines with spaces in the file name, and they seem to work just fine. Further, why did it work and then it start to raise errors when the file names hadn’t changed?

Sounds like a bug. Something isn’t right there.

Oh, I’m using VMWare workstation for Windows 6.0.2 on Vista.

I’ve posted this to the VMWare community site here, but I’m blogging it too, as you have to log in to get the the VMWare site, and I don’t know if Google will pick it up.

Error "You do not have access rights to this file"

10 thoughts on “Error "You do not have access rights to this file"

  1. ScottNZ says:

    Hi Andy,

    I was just about to give up on my VM when I saw your blog entry. You just saved me hours of work. I had the same problem–except I have no spaces in my .vmx file name, but I do have a number.

    I have VMWare Workstation 6.01. Trying to open the offending .vmx under Vista 64 Ultimate resulted in a total crash of VMWare. On Vista 32 Business, I got the “access rights” error message. In my case, I removed the number from the .vmx name, and all of a sudden it’s fine–even though the .vmdk files referenced by the .vxd have numbers and spaces. I’m guessing it’s not the numbers or the spaces, but something else.

    I love VMWare, and I use it daily for my development. It has never failed me, but it does have some strange quirks on Vista.

    Thanks, Man!

    Auckland, NZ

  2. Glad it helped! It drove me nuts too. I’ve never seen that happen with numbers – but as I’d plenty of VMs with spaces in the vmx file name that worked correctly too, it does appear that there is another factor. I wonder if it’s something crazy like file name length? I never did get to the bottom of the problem though.

    Submit it to VMWare! My report is linked to on the post…

  3. Tw34kz0r says:

    Hi all,

    I’ve been searching for hours to solve this issue too, until i found your blogentry.

    The odd thing is, there weren’t any spaces or numbers in the filename of my vmx file. In my case it was enough to change a single character in the filename to fix the problem.

    This also point to the direction that this is some kind of bug.
    Oh yeah, almost forgot, im using VM workstation 6.0.2 on Vista…. Does that say enough? 🙂

    Anyways, thank god i found your post. Saved me hours of work.

  4. Andy,

    I found your forum post and then your blog entry and after much Googling and fiddling with file names, permissions and locations it appears that for some stupid reason (like doesn’t anyone test software properly any more) that when the VM files are located on a NAS (an Infrant ReadyNas NV in my case) irrespective of the file names of or all permissions given the “You do not have access rights to this file” error is generated.

    If I move the exact same files to a local drive everything works first go.

    BTW in my case I was running VMWare 6.0.2 on Windows XP SP2.

    I wonder when a fix for this will occur?


  5. Same issue as what Steve has observed here. My VMWare files were located on a NAS (Windows Server 2003) and I kept getting all sorts of weird errors, from “You do not have access rights to this file” to “The host system does not support file sizes larger than 2GB” (excuse me? I’m on Vista and NTFS thank you very much) to just outright program crashes.

    Moved to a local drive and everything was fine.

  6. Neil says:

    Worked a treat. I changed the file name and removed the numbers i had in the name. It then fired up with no problems.

    Thanks for saving me hours of pain!!!

  7. Sam Rest says:

    Also want to thank this blog, it saved me lots of head aches as I didn’t know why I was getting “access denied” even that I was admin in the windows vista workstation.


  8. matthew says:

    you might not have me what i needed but gave me an problem is that nomatter what i do i cant accsess some files saying theres an erorr when nothing was wrong with my computer if any of you know whta to do please tell me im ripping my hair out!

  9. zeinab says:

    I have a windows7 as host and other on VMware as guest,
    when I try to run “CopyfromHosttoGuest” and versa using vmrun from a folder of host to desktop of geust by this command “vmrun -gu -gp “vmware path” E:\z\1.jpg C:\Users\user\Desktop”, faced with this error : You do not have access rights to this file
    what is the problem and solution?

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