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.

How to Import Virtual Machines Into ESXi Using the 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.




  • 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!!

  • This was EXACTLLY what I needed. Did not have access to the files on the old esxi, but did to the host operating system.. Converted os to vdmx then needed a way to import. Thanks!

  • During conversion, I’ve changed the SCSI manager to logical LSI. Then it works.


  • Smith

    Genius my friend…thanks for this excellent hint.

  • Muhammed TUNC

    Thanks my friend . It’s simple but usefull tip 🙂

  • chaitu

    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.

  • 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.

  • Kalyan

    thanks. that helped.

  • DanTMan63

    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.

  • Jarid Petermann

    Are there any issues with Uploading a 5.1 VM into 6.0?