How to Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0

How to Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0

This Tutorial covers a very basic and common question asked on Experts Exchange, “How Do I Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x, ESXi 5.0?”

Using the following method, no third party tools are required or need to be installed, other than the VMware vSphere Client.. The VMware vSphere Client is used to manage a VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x, ESXi 5.0 host server. This procedure can be used when connected directly to the host server or VMware vSphere vCenter Management Server.

1. Connect to the VMware vSphere Hypervisor Server

Using the VMware vSphere Client, login and connect to the ESX/ESXi server, using the IP address or hostname of the ESX/ESXi server, using the root username and password credentials. If you have a VMware vSphere vCenter server, you could also specify IP address or hostname of the vCenter server which manages your ESX/ESXi servers.

Using the VMware vSphere Client, login and connect to the VMware ESX/ESXi server

2. Select and browse the datastore

Once connected to the server, the VMware vSphere Client will display the following inventory of the VMware vSphere ESX/ESXi server.

Connected to VMware ESX/ESXi server
The datastore properties are shown on the right hand side

Datastore Properties
Select the datastore, if you’ve not rename the datastore, the datastore default name is datastore1.

Right Click the datastore datastore1 and select Browse datastore. All VMware virtual machine files are stored in the datastore.

Browse Datastore

3. Select the correct virtual machine folder

The Datastore Browser will open and show the contents of the datastore. The virtual machines are stored in folders.

Datastore Browser - datastore contents
Double click the virtual machine folder you need to clone or copy.

4. Create a destination virtual machine folder for the virtual machine clone or copy

Select the root (/) of the datastore, and click the New Folder icon to create a new destination folder for the new virtual machine clon or copy..

Create folder
Enter a name for the folder name followed by OK.

Enter folder name
The folder will be created in the root of the datastore

Folder Created in root of the datastore

5. Select and Copy Virtual Machine files

Before you can CLONE/COPY the virtual machine files the Virtual Machine needs to be POWERED-OFF.

Double click the virtual machine folder you need to clone/copy.

VM Folder
Select ALL the files in the VM folder to be cloned/copied.

Select all the VM files
Once all the files have been selected, Right Click and Select Copy.

Right Click and Select Copy
Select and open the folder created in Step 4.

Folder Created in root of the datastore
the folder will be empty

Empry Folder
Right click the empty folder space and Right Click and Select Paste

Right click the empty folder space and Right Click and Select Paste[
The Copy Progress bar will be displayed, indicating a time to completion.

The Copy Progress bar will be displayed
Contents of the new folder, with the cloned/copied virtual machine files.

Contents of the new folder, with copy or clone of the virtual machine.

6. Register the cloned/copied virtual machine with the Inventory

Select and Right Click the virtual machine VMX file.

Add to Inventory
Follow the Add to Inventory Wizard, make sure the name is different and unique, it must be different to the original virtual machine name. This is just a friendly name for the inventory, it does not change the name of the name of the virtual machine OS.

Enter a Inventory Name followed by Next

Add name
Select the host, that you want to add this virtual machine to, followed by Next

Add VM to host
Review the details and Click Finish to add the VM to the Host Machines Inventory. The Virtual Machine will be added to the inventory.

Review and Finish
You have successfully cloned or copied a virtual machine.

vSphere Client Inventory with Cloned, Copied Virtual Machine
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