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Recovery of a lost or deleted virtual machine .vmx configuration file on an ESXi/ESX host (1002294)

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This article provides steps to recover a lost or deleted virtual machine .vmx configuration file that is deleted or corrupted when the virtual disk file (.vmdk) still exists.


To resolve this issue, create a new virtual machine configuration file and point it to the existing virtual disk (.vmdk) file.

Note: This process creates a new MAC address for the network card(s) and may cause issues with software that is dependent on a virtual machines MAC address.

To create a new virtual machine configuration file and point it to the existing .vmdk file:
  1. Log in to the vSphere Client as an administrator.
  2. Right-click the affected virtual machine and click Remove from Inventory.
  3. Right-click an ESXi/ESX host.
  4. Click New Virtual Machine.
  5. Select Custom.
  6. Go through the Create New Virtual Machine wizard until you reach the Select a Disk screen.
  7. Select Use an existing virtual disk and browse to the .vmdk file.
  8. Complete the Create New Virtual Machine wizard.
This procedure recreates the configuration file (.vmx) for the virtual machine and other supporting files.You can now start the virtual machine from the Inventory of the vSphere Client.

Note: Although there are differences in the GUI, the same logic can be used in older versions of ESX.

For more information, see Rebuilding the virtual machine's .vmx file from vmware.log (1023880) and Starting a virtual machine generates a syntax error (1003597).

Additional Information

For translated versions of this article, see:

Update History

02/20/2013 - Added ESXi 4.x and 5.x to Products. 07/23/2013 - Added step 2.

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


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  • 33 Ratings