ESXi 5.1 : Fixing ‘Failed to deploy OVF package: The task was canceled by a user.’

Where I work, we love using OVA templates to speed up our deployment of virtual machines. I recently upgraded one of my servers to ESXi 5.1 (which also required an update to vSphere). ESXi 5.1 provides support for Windows 8 and Server 2012, which is incredibly useful. However, whilst building OVA templates for these operating systems, I stumbled across an issue.

I ran through the ‘New Virtual Machine’ wizard, selecting Windows 8 (or Server 2012), leaving all settings default. Installed my operating system, and made the required customisations, shutdown the machine and exported an OVA template through vSphere – excellent, how easy!

However, whilst trying to re-deploy the OVA to the ESXi 5.1 host, through the ‘Deploy OVA template’ wizard, it failed immediately after completing the wizard (right before it shows the deployment progress bar). Now, I have a particular hate for misleading error messages, and this one seems to fall right in-to that category -

Failed to deploy OVF package: The task was canceled by a user.

How misleading. I, or any other user, certainly didn’t cancel the task. So what happened? I took a look through the (horrendous) hostd.log on the ESXi box and found absolutely nothing of any value.

Frustrated by the inability to redeploy a template I spent so long preparing, I broke open the OVA template and took a look inside. There were three files with different extensions,

  • .ova - OVF descriptor, written in XML, which describes the hardware requirements
  • .mf – contains SHA1 checksums of the .OVA and .VMDK
  • .vmdk – the virtual hard disk for the virtual machine.

I immediately discarded the .mf. If you modify the .ova and don’t update the .mf, it’ll complain that the checksum is invalid. Removing this file seems to prevent vSphere from checking the checksums, which is useful, seeing as we want to poke around the .ova. After fiddling around inside the .ova, I stumbled across the following line…


Changing the above line, to read…


…appears to have fixed my deployment issues. Perhaps changing the ‘CD Drive Device type’ in the virtual machine’s settings would’ve fixed it. But by that point, I had already exported the OVA and deleted the source virtual machine.

Hopefully someone will stumble across this one day, and it’ll save them a few hours!

About these ads

151 thoughts on “ESXi 5.1 : Fixing ‘Failed to deploy OVF package: The task was canceled by a user.’

  1. Dennis van der Pool November 22, 2013 at 8:29 pm Reply

    Thanks! :-)

  2. Hugh November 22, 2013 at 10:31 pm Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I would have just given up.

  3. wicus November 25, 2013 at 6:19 pm Reply

    Thanks for the heads up. Had the exact same issue with ESXi 5.5.0.

    However, after fixing, during the deployment, the next issue I got was:

    “Error uploading file F:\Windows_2012-disk1.vmdk to server. Unable to write data to the transport connection: An operation on a socket could not be performed because the system lacked sufficient buffer space or because a queue was full.”

    Even after changing the Device Type of the CD/DVD drive 1 to Client Device, doing a new export, I still get the exact same issue.

    The issue is also relevant when trying with Windows 8…

    Any ideas ?

  4. Colin Jack November 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm Reply

    You beauty – saved me hours of fiddling about.

    Thanks for posting this.

  5. Alejandro Diaz (@alex_alex_alex_) December 10, 2013 at 6:22 pm Reply

    Muchas gracias, funciona.

  6. Adam December 12, 2013 at 10:45 pm Reply

    Worked flawlessly on ESXi 5.5

  7. Anil Pillai December 18, 2013 at 5:18 am Reply

    Awesome!!! Thanks a million Luke. It saved my day.

  8. Rene December 19, 2013 at 7:11 am Reply

    Found this solution great, saves me lot’s of time on Esxi 5.5 works great…

  9. Rafael Morais December 19, 2013 at 11:09 am Reply

    Thanks man! You saved my day!

  10. Nico December 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm Reply

    Thank you!! I was near to create all my VMs from scratch, leaving my useless template I spent so much time on…

  11. Aaron Seeley December 20, 2013 at 7:12 pm Reply

    Time to Google and find your solution: 2 minutes
    Time saved using your solution: 2-3 hours
    Hair that I did not pull out: Priceless!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Terry December 23, 2013 at 6:13 pm Reply

    Thank you! Saved my butt trying to deploy a RHEL 4.9 template!!!

  13. nawaz (@mnavcp) December 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm Reply

    super saver. thanks :)

  14. Super Saver :) | n4zrnet December 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm Reply

    […] the first link is […]

  15. […] Zum Glück bin ich nicht der Erste, der diesen Fehler hatte: Luke Barklimore – ESXi 5.1 : Fixing ‘Failed to deploy OVF package‘/ […]

  16. patrick December 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm Reply

    Thanks a lot that save a load of heartache!

  17. Scott January 1, 2014 at 5:45 am Reply

    Call me mud, but how do you break open an OVA and make these changes?

    • lukebarklimore January 1, 2014 at 3:25 pm Reply

      You could go ahead and use 7zip – I’m fairly certain that’s what I used. Good luck!

  18. Dennis Kunstman January 8, 2014 at 9:31 pm Reply

    Thanks a bunch for posting this. I ran into this a few years back but had completely forgot how to resolve it.

  19. Ahmadj January 12, 2014 at 12:05 pm Reply

    appreciate mannn

  20. Jose T January 14, 2014 at 12:46 pm Reply

    Super! Thank you.

  21. Craig January 14, 2014 at 6:19 pm Reply

    You’re awesome! Thank you so much for posting this.

  22. Nick McCloud January 14, 2014 at 6:37 pm Reply

    Many hours saved, many thanks for sharing.

  23. Paul January 16, 2014 at 8:09 pm Reply

    Thanks for the info. Your solution saved me a lot of time. Based on the info you provided I was also able to work around the problem by changing my virtual machine settings so the CDROM device was configured to point to my client CDROM instead of an ISO image file before I exported the VM to an OVA file (VMware ESXi Server 5.5 w/ vSphere Client 5.5). I was then able to deploy a new VM from the OVA file without any problems.

  24. Salam January 22, 2014 at 5:17 am Reply

    Can’t express my feelings in thanking you. You saved my day

  25. Aaron January 25, 2014 at 8:12 pm Reply


  26. Andy Lawson January 28, 2014 at 10:09 am Reply

    Had this very same problem. Your blog pointed me to the solution. The CD drive was still pointing at the install ISO. Set to client device and problem is resolved.


  27. Александр Крюковских January 29, 2014 at 11:26 am Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  28. Travis I February 5, 2014 at 2:56 pm Reply

    Wanted to say a special thank you for this article!!!!!

  29. Johan B February 11, 2014 at 10:10 pm Reply

    AWESOME! Thanks man…saved my butt…

  30. tadziz February 14, 2014 at 2:43 pm Reply

    Thank you saved a lot time!

  31. Jostein February 20, 2014 at 10:53 pm Reply

    Thanks a lot! A real time saver!

  32. Marco February 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm Reply

    Thanks a lot – it saved me a lot of work!

  33. David Dalgaard March 2, 2014 at 1:26 am Reply

    Hi guys
    I experienced same issue, but it was not caused by incompatible virtual hardware, but rather a very simple DNS issue. My jumpstation was not able resolve the name of the ESXi host, so no connection could be made to upload the VM.
    You must have direct TCP443 access to the host and you must be able to resolve the name (if IP is not used) of the host.

  34. TechSmurf March 4, 2014 at 3:23 pm Reply

    You just saved me quite a headache. Thanks!

  35. SkiTech March 4, 2014 at 8:27 pm Reply

    Saved me too. Head scratch-er though.

  36. Yoda March 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm Reply

    Add one to the win column. Thanks!

  37. Brad March 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm Reply

    You probably just saved me 5-10 hours. Thanks mate

  38. Luis López March 12, 2014 at 10:36 pm Reply

    Muchas gracias.

  39. khan March 19, 2014 at 7:07 pm Reply

    200 thumbs up man!!!

  40. Thanks March 19, 2014 at 8:25 pm Reply


  41. Telecharger Avast Gratuit March 30, 2014 at 5:51 pm Reply

    I do agree with all of the ideas you have introduced to your post.
    They are really convincing and will certainly work.
    Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for starters.
    May you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

    • lukebarklimore March 30, 2014 at 5:54 pm Reply

      What did I miss? I can always update the post to make it more useful :)

  42. Kirk April 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm Reply

    Another Thank You.

  43. kbcz April 4, 2014 at 12:45 pm Reply

    Thank You very much! It worked!

  44. Mark April 9, 2014 at 9:05 am Reply

    Awesome, It saved me many hours indeed!

  45. ... mn April 9, 2014 at 2:13 pm Reply

    Another THANK YOU for saving me also some hours I guess !!! Thanks again …

  46. Nemo April 11, 2014 at 11:17 pm Reply

    Thank you!!! Using 7-Zip I was unable to get VSphere to recognized my re-cojiggered file, but I exported the machine again with the bare minimum of hardware and it worked like a charm.

  47. […] an OVA deployment to fail when using the Web Client on vSphere 5.5.  Two solutions are here and here.  But if that’s not it you may also want to check your […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: