The VMware BootRun Service

Today a colleague called me if I knew why VMware BootRun Service couldn’t be started on a VM after an VMTools upgrade. He saw this service on a specific VM (see picture), but couldn’t find the service on any other VM.

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So what is this Service? And does it need to run, or can it be deleted?

The BootRun service will take care of all the customizations after sysprep was executed during a deployment of a template. You usually never see it because it runs on the first boot, makes the changes, and then removes itself from the machine. This problem was noticed with in the ESX 3.5 (See this blogpost by Duncan Epping).

In this case the service probably excisted while upgrading from VMware ESX 3.5 to ESX 4.0, but was noticed this time after the upgrade to ESX 4.1 U2.

According to the VMware KB Article: 1002571 there are two possible ways to get rid of the “couldn’t start a service message” after a reboot:

  1. Disable the service.
  2. Run this command: bootrun -unregserver (This needs to be run in the directory where bootrun.exe is located. This can be found by looking at the properties of the service in Control Panel)