vCenter Server Fails Upgrade to 6.5.0-U1 with VCSServiceManager Error

I spent a portion of the last two weekends attempting to upgrade my homelab vCenter Server running on Server 2016 from 6.5.0 to 6.5.0-U1 with little success. My implementation is only a month old and non-complex, aside from the external Platform Service Controller servicing the single vCenter Server (so far).

Both the PSC and the VCS returned the same error during installation: “Installation of component VCSServiceManager failed with error code ‘1603’. Check the logs for more details.”

Installation of component VCSServiceManager failed with error code 1603.

The solution ended up being simple enough after a thread on the VMware Communities pointed me into the right direction as to where the service files are stored on the Windows’ vCenter Server version.

For implementations with an external PSC, perform the following to resolve the issue:

  1. Stop all VMware services relating to vCenter Server. Stopping ‘VMware vCenter Configuration Service’ sufficiently stopped all other services as dependencies.
  2. Rename or remove the file: ‘C:\ProgramData\VMware\vCenterServer\runtime\vmware-psc-client\conf\wrapper.conf’
  3. Run the upgrade installation as normal. The installer will replace the file we removed with an updated copy.

If you’re running an external PSC as I was, no changes were required to the vCenter Server system after the PSC is successfully upgraded. No files needed to be altered to allow normal upgrade once the issue on the PSC is corrected.

It would appear that certain licensing information was added to the wrapper.conf file, but is not updated by the installer if the file already exists. The missing information causes the Platform Services Client to fail to start and the vCenter Server installer aborts after the service fails.

Simple fix, once you know where to look.

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