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Determining if a virtual machine is using snapshots (1004343)

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This article provides steps to determine if VMware ESXi/ESX host virtual machines are running on snapshots.


There are three methods to determine if a virtual machine is actively using a snapshot.

Using vSphere Client and vSphere Web Client

vSphere Client

  1. Connect to vCenter Server using the vSphere Client.
  2. Go to virtual machines tab to see that the virtual machines are registered.
  3. Right-click title to display the list of available columns.
  4. Select Needs Consolidation option. This column shows all the virtual machines that are currently running on a snapshot.

vSphere Web Client

  1. Connect to vCenter Server using the Web Client.
  2. Select the vCenter Server and go to Related Objects tab.
  3. Right-click on the column titles and  go to  Show/Hide Columns list.
  4. From the list of columns chose Needs Consolidation option.

vSphere CLI

Run this command to check for snapshots on a virtual machine:

vmware-cmd -H vc_system -U user -P password --vihost esx_host /vmfs/volumes/virtual_machine_datastore/ virtual_machine/virtual_machine.vmx hassnapshot

Using the virtual machine's Snapshot Manager

  1. Log in to to the VMware vSphere or Infrastructure Client.
  2. Right-click on the virtual machine and select Snapshot > Snapshot Manager.
If a snapshot is listed, the virtual machine is attached to one or more virtual disks which are in a snapshot state.


Viewing the virtual machine configuration file

  1. Open the VMware vSphere or Infrastructure Client.
  2. Right-click on the virtual machine and click Edit Settings.
  3. One by one, select the virtual disk of the virtual machine and review to the referenced filename of each disk. The path appears similar to:

    [DatastoreName] VM_Name/vDisk_File_Name.vmdk

    A virtual machine that is referencing a snapshot, however, would appear similar to:

    [DatastoreName] VM_Name/VM_Name-000001.vmdk.

    For additional information on virtual machine snapshots, see Understanding virtual machine snapshots in VMware ESX (1015180).

Viewing the virtual machine configuration file from the ESX console

  1. Log in to the VMware ESX host's terminal. For VMware ESXi hosts, see Using Tech Support Mode in ESXi 4.1 (1017910).
  2. Change to the directory that contains the virtual machine.

    # cd /vmfs/volumes/<datastore>/<virtual machine>/

  3. Run the command:

    # egrep -i "scsi[0-9]+:[0-9]+.present|scsi.*filename" FILE.vmx
As long as none of the lines of output contain the pattern similar to VM_Name-000001.vmdk, the virtual machine is not currently snapshotted.

For more information on committing and removing snapshots, see Committing snapshots when there are no snapshot entries in the snapshot manager (1002310).

See Also

Update History

02/24/2012 - Added link to 1002310 07/24/2012 - Added ESXi5 & VC 5 to the product list.

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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