vCenter 5.5 service fails to start

Few days ago when I was preparing vSphere Self-Signed certificates article I found out that vCenter is down. I notice that vCenter 5.5 service fails to start with very “interesting” general error message which did not say much. I haven’t actually used my lab for while and I suspected that something went wrong with my Database. However, I checked all components, Databases, users, passwords and so on but I did not found anything. Only place, I haven’t looked yet was vCenter logs. In order to have fresh generated log and avoid searching in bunch of files I attempt to start service again with of course expected result, failure.

So logs were pretty clear indicating few error messages which looks like cause the problem.

Frankly, I haven’t seen such error before but thankfully, I found KB article which partially helped me to solve the problem

VMware vCenter Server 5.x fails to start with the error: Failed to add LDAP entry KB2044680

It seems like cause of this was stale ADAM entry. So far so good, before actually start editing ADAM database I would recommend you to take backup, especially if this is production server. Taking backup is relatively easy, you can do it in many different ways, which I’m not going to describe here. I did it old fashion way, with Command Prompt.


When you’re done with backup we can start with removing stale entries. Open ADSI Edit and at the root level and click “Connect to”


Once connected, browse to OU which was specified in vCenter log.

[06788 error ‘win32vpxLdap_win32’] [LDAP Client] Failed to add LDAP entry CN=CN=1D6A02A3-9D81-4E8F-8170-12C37015819E,OU=ComponentSpecs,OU=Health,dc=virtualcenter,dc=vmware,dc=int: 0x68 (The object already exists.)

According to KB2044680 I posted above, when you locate CN under OU=Instances it suppose to be empty, but in my case it contained two records and also error message in vCenter log specified that problematic record is under OU=ComponentSpecs,OU=Health.


Following resolution from VMware Knowledge Base didn’t do the magic, so I had to remove problematic CN from both OUs (OU=Instances and OU=ComponentSpecs,OU=Health ). When I’ve done cleaning ADAM database I checked whether IIS is installed and running on machine, as part of problem resolution from VMware, I did not find it installed.

After all was done, magic moment came and I attempted to start vCenter service .It came online beautifully, with no errors or whatsoever.

In case you don’t manage to fix your vCenter and still having troubles other option I found is to simply uninstall and then install it from scratch. I personally prefer to troubleshoot the problem rather than reinstall it but this is matter of personal preferences .

Good Luck 🙂

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  1. Hi.

    I have exact same symptoms, but when I take a look at application log, the reason was clear – SQL Express DB out of space. Solution – So looks like described error is a consequence, not a root cause.

    I should notice, that after server reboot, vCenter service was running fine and I could connect to it, but the errors still presents.

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