How to deal with: “File not found: -SnapshotXXX.vmsn” This file is required to power on this virtual machine error

Due to nature of my work I’m using loads of virtual machines, using mainly VMWare Worksation these days (though I hope to get back to Hyper-V once I start working on my Microsoft certification refresh). In most cases IT Pros use resource demanding VM just because it is often necessary to have whole enterprise technology stack in your lab apart from that particular software on which you happen to be focused at the moment.

So your virtual environment usually involves enterprise technology stack (directory services, sometimes utility services like DNS, DHCP; messaging, databases, web services), and more often than not you end up running rather huge VM as it is preferably to have all this in one VM for the sake of portability and convenience. Such “self-contained” VM is going to require large chunk of your drive space (think snapshots), and as you want performance you likely will try to fit this on SSD, which is great technology by itself but still constrained by its high cost per megabyte of space.

So having said that I barely able to fit about 4 such VMs on my 500 GB SSD, it allows me to have no more than 3 snapshots and recently after deleting number of prior snapshots on the fly in some unsystematic way to free up space for new snapshot I ended up in situation when my paused VM (without recent snapshot) started throwing me this error message upon attempt to start it:


“File not found: <machine>-SnapshotXXX.vmsn” This file is required to power on this virtual machine. If this file was moved, please provide its new location. Cancel/Browse

So rather silly (not googling / researching this properly) I decided to revert to some old snapshot which was way back in terms of where I stopped with things I worked on in this VM, expecting that this will bring my VM backs to life at least. This was big mistake as after reverting to some other snapshot error didn’t gone, it rather continued to ask me about this missing file.

In fact proper solution was to make new snapshot (theoretically it should not be large if your previous existing snapshot was recent) – then copy newly created snapshot file and rename it so that it named as the one about which error message is complaining. The main thing here is not to rush and revert to previous snapshot and use this technique so that you don’t lost your work in progress as I did.


  • artur says:

    That was very useful, thanks for sharing. Just to add to this, if you are using OSX\r\nGo to you VM directory. Right Click on the VM file of the machine you are having trouble with.\r\nSelect “Show package contents” and find your snapshot. Now you can rename the snapshot file.\r\nI had to copy mine so the machine had both. It worked. Thanks!!

  • Balu says:

    Thanks for your inputs. I was able to recover my VM following your steps.

  • Jarle says:

    Great, I managed to recover my VM this way after having accidentally deleted a rather old snapshot file (*.vmsn). Product: VMWare Workstation 15 on Windows 10, with Ubuntu as guest OS.

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