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Using SCP to copy files to or from an ESX host (1918)

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This article provides information on the SCP utility that is used to copy files to or from an ESX host.


Important: For information on moving virtual disk files, see Moving or copying virtual disks in a VMware environment (900).

VMware recommends that you use SCP to copy files to or from ESX hosts. The ESX host installation includes SCP as part of the SSH package.

For information on preventing performance and data management related issues on ESX, see Moving or copying a virtual machine within a VMware environment (1000936).

To copy a file from the ESX host to another server, use this syntax:

scp local_filename user@server:/path/where/file/should/go

Note: To copy files using SCP, you need to start the SSH service in the source and destination ESX hosts. To start the SSH client, run this command:

service sshd restart

All machines to which you copy files must also have SSH (which includes SCP) installed, configured, and be available on the same network.

Many Linux and Unix distributions include SSH and SCP. To download the software, see OpenSSH. For a list of Windows clients, see OpenSSH Windows.

In some situations, you may need to use SCP without a password prompt. For more information, see Adding SSH Keys to the Service Console so vmsnap Stops Prompting for a Password (1719).

If you want to use FTP, you need to enable its use in the ESX host. For more information, see Enabling FTP for ESX Server (1868).

Additional Information

For translated versions of this article, see:




1918; urlz

Update History

07/12/2011 - Added note indicating that SSH needs to be started on source and destination hosts 02/08/2012 - Added Note: To prevent performance and data management related issues on ESX

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