VMware ESXi Upgrade fails with an error “Permission denied“

VMware ESXi Upgrade fails with an error “Permission denied“

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VMware ESXi Upgrade fails with an error “Permission denied“

Did you come across a failure “Error : Permission denied“ while upgrading from one version of ESXi to a later version as noted in the screenshot below ?

ESXi Upgrade Failure

Wondering what might be causing this !! ? This blog points out the details of the error and a potential solution to overcome this failure. This is generally seen on hardware configurations where ESXi is installed on a USB device and there is no HDD/LUN exposed to the system during first boot of ESXi.

The reason for this error is ESXi creates a partition number 2 of partition ID ‘fc‘ (coredump) during 1st boot when ESXi doesn’t detect a harddisk / LUN.  Here is an example of how the partition table look like in this scenario.

Where vmhba32 is the device name for the USB storage device.

Refer to VMware KB to know more about the partition types. During upgrade, the installer see the partition #2 and it tries to format it as vfat thinking that it’s a scratch partition. The format triggers the error “Permission denied“.

Now how do I resolve it ? Here you go.

The first step is to reassign the coredump partition to a different partition other than #2. The commands shown in the below screenshot does the same. 

As you see the coredump partition is reassigned and made active on 7th partition. Now, it’s time to remove the 2nd partition from the partition table. 

There you go. Now upgrading ESXi to a later version is seamless and will not end up in permission denied error. 

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  • You rock... Thanks!

  • Thank you sir!

  • ROCK ON!

  • This is great, thank you.  Though, is there any way to fix the Permission Denied error after you've already tried to upgrade the host without doing the fix you outlined ahead of time?  Or is a host rebuild the only way to fix this?

  • Hello, My understanding is that upgrade fails if you don't follow the workaround listed above. So if you have encountered the failure and if the system is rebooted, it should boot back to the same VMware ESXi version what you were running before. Please let me know otherwise. Thank you for reading the post.