Unable to install Microsoft Windows Server 2012 into a VMware ESXi 5.x or Hyper-V virtual machine with IBM provided media - IBM BladeCenter and System x


RETAIN tip: H21488


When users try to install Microsoft Windows Server 2012 using IBM provided media into VMware vSphere ESXi 5.1 managed virtual machine or under Microsoft Hyper-V, the Windows Installer will pop-up a window with the following message:

  Debug Assertion Failed!
Program: x:\tools\BIOSCHECK64.exe
File: c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\VC\atlmfc\include\atlsmpstr.h
Expression: nRefs !=0
For information how your program can cause an assertion failure, see the Visual C++ documentation on asserts.
(Press Retry to debug the application)"

Users can click on the Ignore button to continue with the installation.

Affected configurations

The system is configured with at least one of the following:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2012, any service pack
  • VMware ESXi 5.0 Update 1, Update 2
  • VMware ESXi 5.1, any Update

This tip is not system specific.

This tip is not option specific.

Note: This does not imply that the network operating system will work under all combinations of hardware and software.

Please see the compatibility page for more information: http://www.ibm.com/systems/info/x86servers/serverproven/compat/us/


It is recommended to use the retail media rather than IBM provided media to install Microsoft Windows Server 2012 into a virtual machine to prevent the warning.

If it is necessary to use IBM provided media to install Windows Server 2012 to a virtual machine, the user can do the following:

  • For Hyper-V, the user can just ignore the warning message and go on with the installation
  • For VMware, the user can just ignore the warning message and go on with the installation or follow the instructions below to configure the virtual machine to reflect host System Management Basic Input/Output System (SMBIOS) structure to fix the issue.

Either of the following two (2) methods can do the work:

  • Edit the virtual machine's .vmx file to contain the following line:
  SMBIOS.reflectHost = "true"

Note: Encoding of the text added to the .vmx file must be in UCS Transformation Format—8-bit (UTF8), where UCS stands for Universal Character Set.

For detailed instructions, refer to the following 'VMware VM BIOS Instructions' document:



  • In the VMware vSphere Client, locate the Virtual Machine Configuration Parameters and add a row:

Then set the value to True.

Additional information

IBM-provided Microsoft Windows 2012 media has a BIOS Lock mechanism to limit the media can only be installed on IBM hardware. The BIOS Lock mechanism checks if the system BIOS contains IBM identification or it forbids the OS installation.

By default settings, VMware Virtual Machines uses its own virtual BIOS which does not contain the IBM identification so the BIOS Lock check will fail with a pop-up error message window.

The Workaround enables the VMware Virtual Machine to reflect Host SMBIOS which includes the IBM identification, and therefore the BIOS Lock check passes.

Retail Microsoft Windows Server 2012 media does not have the BIOS Lock mechanism so this issue will not occur.

Applicable countries and regions


Document id:  MIGR-5093277
Last modified:  2014-03-26
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