I tried it with a system that was Update 3 --> patched to Update 4 and now patched to the latest and the autostart option is still working OK. I presume your auto start setting are still configured.
Autostart log data will be in /var/log/vmware/hostd.log. In the log you should see
2009-04-17 03:39:01.863 'Hostsvc::DatastoreSystem' 16384 info Datastore alias configuration file is /etc/vmware/hostd/datastores.xml
2009-04-17 03:39:01.932 'Hostsvc::AutoStartManager' 16384 info VM autostart configuration: /etc/vmware/hostd/vmAutoStart.xml
followed later by start tasks.
2009-04-17 03:39:09.868 'vm:/vmfs/volumes/49d4f7ea-3128e5ce-5b34-00235406f3a6/vima-ovf-124830/vima-ovf-124830.vmx' 147466 info State Transition (VM_STATE_OFF -> VM_STATE_POWERING_ON)
I found the first part of the log files:
2009-04-18 12:41:57.524 'Hostsvc::DatastoreSystem' 16384 info Datastore alias configuration file is /etc/vmware/hostd/datastores.xml
2009-04-18 12:41:57.544 'Hostsvc::AutoStartManager' 16384 info VM autostart configuration: /etc/vmware/hostd/vmAutoStart.xml
However, I couldn't find anything from the TaskManager regarding AutoStartManager.
I have a LOT of these:
dynamicType = ,
object = 'vim.Folder:ha-folder-root',
privilegeId = "System.View",
msg = ""
So, I don't know if it's not starting, or what the problem may be...
But, If I search all of the hostd logs, I only find the one reference to 'AutoStartManager' (above).
Any other ideas?