Fix for "the VM is generalized" start-up error in Microsoft Azure

[error msg 'failed to start virtual machine']In the old Azure portal, you could simply stop a "Classic" Linux VM without doing waagent -deprovision+user, and then create a snapshot from it.
That snapshot could then be succesfully used to create new VM instances. But, as I found out the hard way, this does not work with Azure Linux VMs through the new portal / new style VMs.

So I ended up with a VM image that can only created un-bootable VMs, AND the template VM itself could not be started anymore because it was generalized. The well-known error "Failed to start virtual machine 'templateVM1'. Error: Operation 'start' is not allowed on VM 'templateVM1' since the VM is generalized." occurs when I try to start the VM.

Luckily, I found a simple way to bypass the "since the VM is generalized"  message.

1) go to the "Disks" page in the Azure Portal:

2) Click on the disk that is attached to the generalized VM.

3) Then click "Create Snapshot", and fill in the form:

4) After the snapshot is generated, go to the Disks page, and click "Add".

5) Fill in the "Create managed disk" form, and make sure to select your newly created Snapshot as Source:

6) After the new disk is created, click on it to see details. Then click the button "Create VM":

Microsoft Azure create VM from disk

7) Create the VM as you would normally do. Done! Digg StumbleUpon Facebook Technorati Fav reddit Google Bookmarks
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  1. Michael Merrell

    #1 by Michael Merrell - December 14, 2017 at 3:00 PM

    This was a life-saver. Thank you for the clear instructions!
  2. Jamin Shanti

    #2 by Jamin Shanti - February 7, 2018 at 6:47 PM

  3. Scolo

    #3 by Scolo - February 26, 2018 at 3:22 PM

    Awesome, millions of lives saved :D
  4. Manjunath

    #4 by Manjunath - March 5, 2018 at 5:39 PM

    Thanks a lot :-)
  5. Cafebabe

    #5 by Cafebabe - March 26, 2018 at 4:43 AM

  6. Jason Timmins

    #6 by Jason Timmins - May 31, 2018 at 3:16 PM

    Great work! Thanks.
  7. Daniele Peixoto de Jesus

    #7 by Daniele Peixoto de Jesus - September 28, 2018 at 6:36 AM

    wonderful, saved my school work.
    Thanks S2
  8. Sukhi

    #8 by Sukhi - October 31, 2018 at 7:44 PM

    This didn't work for me as the disks were taken as data disk. So, the new VM had three disks - OS, and two disks I made. (I am not sure if I did anything wrong). What worked for me is though - goto Home > All Resources. Find the image of VM you've created. Go inside. And click on 'Create VM'. More details : It took slightly longer than usual to create a machine but I guess that's alright. Nevertheless, your article is indeed a life-saver.
  9. Pugazhendhi D

    #9 by Pugazhendhi D - March 17, 2019 at 4:46 AM

    it works for me.
  10. Mohamed

    #10 by Mohamed - May 19, 2019 at 1:42 AM

    Perfect!! save my day !!
  11. Bojan

    #11 by Bojan - August 14, 2019 at 9:39 AM

    Thank you so much, you saved my day!
  12. Ashish Mahure

    #12 by Ashish Mahure - October 23, 2019 at 4:50 PM

    Awesome! Thanks man
  13. Anthony

    #13 by Anthony - April 19, 2020 at 11:51 AM


    Microsoft has removed this option now on the new Azure portal. You do not get "Snapshot" option for disks of a "generalized VM". It shows the message "This VM is generalized. VM disk settings cannot be edited on generalized VMs."

    Just for update.

  14. Paolo

    #14 by Paolo - June 12, 2020 at 4:24 PM

    Thanks for this!
  15. Uri

    #15 by Uri - August 26, 2020 at 12:20 PM

    I owe you my life.
  16. Andres

    #16 by Andres - August 26, 2020 at 11:01 PM

    Also saved! Thanks!
  17. sean

    #17 by sean - October 12, 2020 at 9:45 PM

    my machine was generalized before I tried to create an image.
    I did not know image creation will result in generalization.

    Since I have had an image created, I can just recreate the VM from the image, essentially the same thing, I guess.
  18. Me, in 2021

    #18 by Me, in 2021 - February 18, 2021 at 8:08 PM

    Fantastic indeed!!!!
    It was definitely a lifesaver!

    All of my (okay, only four, but still) VMs setup to do testing - GONE FOREVER!!
    (Say it in Buzz Lightyear's voice for more dramatic effect.)
  19. Daniel Silva

    #19 by Daniel Silva - April 5, 2021 at 5:14 PM

    You saved me too!
  20. Staale Morten Sørensen

    #20 by Staale Morten Sørensen - April 29, 2021 at 1:20 PM

  21. Don

    #21 by Don - May 18, 2021 at 6:03 PM

    Life saver thank you
  22. Tarique

    #22 by Tarique - June 14, 2021 at 10:38 PM

    Thanks for saving my day.
  23. Erik van Hoof

    #23 by Erik van Hoof - January 4, 2022 at 4:03 PM

    Thank you for this. It really helped!
  24. Sukrath Mahajan

    #24 by Sukrath Mahajan - January 19, 2023 at 11:11 AM

    Thanks for the detailed instructions!!!
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