Purple Screen of Death (PSOD)

A Purple Screen of Death (PSOD) is a diagnostic screen with white type on a purple background that is displayed when the VMkernel of an ESX/ESXi host experiences a critical error, becomes inoperative and terminates any virtual machines that are running.

Typically, the PSOD details the memory state at the time of the crash and includes other information such as the ESX/ESXI version and build, the exception type, register dump, what was running on each CPU at the time of the crash, backtrace, server uptime, error messages and core dump information.

The core dump (or memory dump) is a file that contains further diagnostic information from a PSOD that can be given to VMware support to determine a root cause analysis for the failure.

The term Purple Screen of Death is a play on the Blue Screen of Death, the informal name given by users to the Windows general protection fault (GPF) error.

This was last updated in September 2013

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