How to import virtual machines into ESXi using the vSphere Client

How to import virtual machines into ESXi using the vSphere Client

Rather than copying a virtual machine to the ESXi hardware node, there is a quick easy way to upload it via the VMware vSphere client.  This can be done by doing the following:

  1. In the vSphere client, click on the server.
  2. Click on the summary tab.
  3. Right click on datastore -> Browse Datastore
  4. Use the icon with the up arrow in front of some disks (Upload files to this datastore)
  5. Upload the folder or files that you require.
  6. Create a new (or use an existing) VM and use the vmdk file you have uploaded.




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  1. 1
    David Moylan

    an even easier way is to export the VM as a virtual appliance. you can then import it onto the new system.

    the bonus here is that the encapsulated VMDK file is compressed, thus you are not uploading empty disk space. plus you don’t need to recreate the VM as all the settings are preserved.

    this can all be done via the vSphere client. it’s how I deploy virtual applications for customers. you can also choose to import VM’s directly from a URL if you have the files hosted on a web server somewhere.

    cheers, Wiz!!

  2. 6

    How to create a new VM with the vmdk file I have uploaded?
    I have copied the vmdk file to the data store but not getting on how to create a new VM with this vmdk file. Please advice.

  3. 7
    sylvain g

    What you’ve done here is not import but copy.
    If you want to import from a different system, this solution won’t work.
    You must go via OVF format.

  4. 9

    There is another way if you have the full folder with the VMDK and VMX file. For step 6 instead of creating a new VM simply browse the data store to the uploaded VM folder. Right click on the VMX file and say Add to Inventory. Then simply answer the questions and the VM will be imported with the same set up as it had before.

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