Cannot login to Windows machine on vmware snapshot

In setting up a new SQL Server 2008 server in VMWare I created a baseline snapshot of the machine as it was before installing SQL Server. This way I could practice installing SQL Server refining the process with each installation.

Today, I reverted back to my baseline snapshot and suddenly could not log in to the server using Remote Desktop. The Widows 7 Remote Desktop client was less than helpful about what could be the cause.

Checking the Event Log on the server only added to the mystery. The server recorded event ID 4625 for a logon failure. According to the log the username and password was not correct but, I know that was not true.

The clue that revealed the actual cause of the problem came from Windows 8! When trying to connect to the server using Remote Desktop on Windows 8 the error was much more specific:

True enough, when I looked down at the time the date and time was way off. The server running in the virtual machine appeared to be using the date of the snapshot’s creation. Being a member of an Active Directory domain I expected the date to be set to the date and time of the domain controller.

Fortunately, you can run DOS command to set the time to the correct time provided by the network time server. The following command resets the time and instructs the server to seek out the network time server:

w32tm /resync /rediscover

Surprisingly, the ancient “net time” command still works and gives you instant feedback:

net time /set

The lesson learned here was to make sure to reset the date and time when going back to a previous snapshot in VMWare.