The problem I'm suddenly having seems to be recapped to some extent in other questions/discussions. In any case, if this question with similar dimensions/parameters has already been resolved with sufficient clarity that I can fix the problem myself, kindly redirect me the extant discussion/resolution.
Having said that, the precise answer(s) to what the solution(s) might be seem relatively unique to each user/vm environment. If a forensic review could clarify whatever caused my particular problem, I would be happy to upload dump files, mem files, etc. from the relevant directory.
I'll go ahead and upload as much as I can here to get started on this.
The problem started this morning after the VM ('Zero') had been suspended yesterday and the host machine was shut down normally last night.
The problem I'm having is that my VM won't bootstrap from the .vmx file, which to my knowledge was not altered/corrupted, but may have been without my knowledge. The only AV program running (apart from Windows Defender) on the host machine is CCleaner--neither of which have caused any problems like this to date--this is the first/only time this has happened yet and I've been running this very same VM image of Windows 7 for 2-3 years quite stably. The VM image is called 'Zero' (will be evident from image appended of the VM directory in User/docs). All of the .vmdk files are present and accounted for (#'s 001-042)--no vmdk's missing. The .vmx/config file is still present.
I can say that ~ 2 weeks ago Microsoft pushed out a rather large 'update' for Windows 10, which runs as the sole OS (no dual boot) on the same physical hard drive that also runs Workstation and on which is stored all VM files relevant for the functioning of Zero. There were the usual product updates for Edge/IE, etc. (and maybe some other stuff wedged in there by MS), but there were no immediate concerns/problems discernable in the functioning of Workstation (I think I was running 12.x, no windows server and no pro version, just the freeware Workstation). This evening, I downloaded and installed v14 of workstation thinking that it might help to resolve the problem, but no dice. If I had to guess the .vmx got corrupted somehow, by the otherwise 'normal' functioning of some other process, hidden conventionally within windows or (I would give it less probability), the 'ordinary' functioning of CCleaner or Windows defender.
I'd take a guess that if I could assess/test and repair the .vmx file (assuming it has been corrupted), that would solve the problem. Incidentally, the .vmss file is ~ 200mg, too large for upload w/ conventional means.
Anyway, I'm really hoping to get some guidance/reflection from the users here in this forum--really any useful/helpful reflections/insight would be most appreciated. Thank-you in advance, I'm really in a pickle.
Revised 03/19: I have a hunch that the culprit here was the Microsoft Update 2-3 weeks ago--various/itinerant manifestations of strange/unexplainable behavior with the host OS since then--apparently unrelated but may not be correlated. Similar thing happened w/ host machine OS Office Outlook functioning; Outlook unable to load/interpret native.pst/.ost files in its extant file hierarchy w/some files being duplicated. I could try restoring the host OS back to pre-update state but my sense is that would not resolve the problem here. I can't get product support from VMware without buying 10 ore more licenses, although I could upgrade to Workstation v15 Pro if that would offer additional tools for resolving this.