The VM appears to be in use: Taking ownership failed


VMware Workstation is an excellent choice for learning, testing, and development purposes. It provides a user-friendly interface for setting up and managing VMs, making it accessible to a broader audience compared to its enterprise-level solutions. In this article, you shall learn how to fix “the VM appears to be in use: Taking ownership failed”. Please see how to fix Folder Access Denied, you require permission from SYSTEM: Unable to delete old Windows folder, and how to Check what files are taking up space on Windows 11.

VMware is a powerful tool for creating isolated environments, conducting software testing, and experimenting with different operating systems and configurations without the need for dedicated server hardware.

Why was this error prompted “The VM appears to be in use: Taking ownership failed”

In my case, I overlooked a running instance, unlike this error “VM is not accessible: Fix Taking ownership of a VM failed“. Therefore, this error was prompted because there was an already-running VM. This led to the locked VMware files.


Please see how to clear the TPM via the management console or Windows Defender Center App, and how to setup a cache-only DNS server.

Taking Ownership Failed

The error message “The VM appears to be in use: Taking ownership failed” shows that the virtual machine (VM) you are trying to launch is currently locked. Or in use by another process or user. This can happen for several reasons but in my case. The VM session was not visible from the taskbar and can be easily overlooked. The image below shows when you try to take ownership, it fails.

Make sure there are no locks on the VM files, and that the virtualization software is closed before attempting to take ownership.

Taking ownership of this virtual machine failed.

Fix The VM appears to be in use

First, I would recommend checking for running VM before attempting the steps below. Kindly see a very similar issue: How to fix “The process cannot access the file because another process has locked a portion of the file”

To resolve this issue, access the Virtual Machine folder by firing up Explorer and navigating to the VM Folder.

Alternatively, you could right-click and select Open VM directory. You will still be redirected to the VM folder “C:\Users\Christian\Documents\Virtual Machines\Windows Server 2019”.


Please delete any *.lck files and folders in the VM folder. Select each folder and delete or delete all at once as you wish. See how to install Windows Server 2022 on VMware Workstation.

removed all lck files

As you can see below, all the locked files have been deleted.

lck files deleted

Load the VM by browsing to the file path with the .vmx extension and click Open as shown below.


When the above steps are completed, you can now access your VM through the console.

Power On the VM and Access it

As you can see from the image below. The issue has been resolved but the residue of the issue can be seen until I close this window.


You may also want to see How to Lock the Find My Device Option in Windows 11. Also, see how to sync your passwords across iOS and Mac devices.

Some FAQs on VMware

Are there common scenarios that trigger the “The VM appears to be in use” error?

Several scenarios can trigger this error. It often occurs when multiple users or administrators are attempting to manage the same VM at the same time. Additionally, if the VM is stuck in a processing loop, has locked resources. Or has not been properly shut down, it can lead to this error. Checking for processes that are keeping the VM in a busy state and ensuring proper VM shutdown practices can help mitigate these issues

What is VMware Workstation, and how does it differ from other VMware products?

VMware Workstation is a virtualization software application that allows users to run multiple operating systems on a single physical computer. It differs from other VMware products, like vSphere or ESXi. It is designed for individual developers, IT professionals, or enthusiasts who need to create and manage virtual machines (VMs) on their own desktop or laptop

I hope you found this blog post helpful on how to fix “The VM appears to be in use: Taking ownership failed”. Please let me know in the comment section if you have any questions.

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