Moderator: Moved to vSphere Hypervisor
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Please shutdown the VM first and than try to reduce the vCPU down from 8 to 2 and restart the VM. Be insure that you expand the CPU config widget because the Socket/Core have changed of the past years. It sounds that you try to HotAdd vCPU and this is of couse a license feature which not comes with the free ESXi Hypervisor.
The free ESX Hypervisor only have that max. 8 vCPU limit per VM and not some kind of total # of vCPUs.
To rule out issues with the Embedded Host Client, please logout from the ESXi web client, delete the browser cache, and then try to create the VM again.
Thank you so much! I don't know how I missed that. I thought I had tried removing the vCPUs with the machine shut down, but I hadn't. I followed your suggestions. They worked perfectly.