How to Copy VMware Virtual Machine to Host

Virtual machines are vital for keeping your digital workspace organized and efficient. But what happens when you need to transfer your VM from VMware to another host machine?

For backup purposes or migrating to a new computer, copying virtual machines can be daunting, requiring precision and patience.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of easily copying VMware Virtual Machine files to a new host – even if you’re not tech-savvy!

So grab your coffee, set aside time, and dive into the virtual machine copying world.

How to Copy VMware Virtual Machine to Host

Introduction to Vmware Virtual Machines

A virtual machine is a computer that runs an operating system and applications just like a physical machine. You can create, configure, and run multiple virtual machines on a single physical server, often called a host.

Each virtual machine acts like a separate computer, allowing you to run multiple operating systems and applications on a single physical server.

VMware provides two types of virtualization: full virtualization and para-virtualization.

With full virtualization, the guest operating system is unaware it is running on top of a hypervisor; all guest OSs appear to have direct access to the hardware.

Para-virtualization requires modifications to the guest OS to be compatible with the hypervisor.

What is a Host Machine?

A host machine is a computer that can run virtual machines as a platform. A typical host machine has hardware virtualization capabilities that allow it to run multiple virtual machines simultaneously.

Each virtual machine has its own operating system and can be configured with its own applications and settings.

How to Copy a Virtual Machine to a Host Machine

There are a few ways to copy a virtual machine to a host machine. One way is to use the VMware vSphere Client. You can also use the VMware vCenter Server Appliance.

If you are using the VMware vSphere Client:

  1. Right-click on the virtual machine you want to copy and select “Export.”
  2. In the “Export Virtual Machine” window, select the host machine to copy the VM under “Destination Type.”
  3. Click “Next.”
  4. Select whether or not you want to export the VM’s disks as well. By default, only the configuration files will be exported. If you also want to export the disks, select “Export all disks.”
  5. Click “Finish” to start exporting the VM.

If you are using the VMware vCenter Server Appliance:

  1. Go to “Storage” and then select “VMware vSphere Datastores.”
  2. Select the datastore containing the VM you want to copy under “Datastores in This Folder.”
  3. Right-click on the datastore and select “Browse Datastore.”
  4. Select the VM you want to copy and click “Copy To….”
  5. In the “Copy To” window, select whether or not you want to export the VM’s disks as well.
  6. Under “Destination Type,” select the host machine you want to copy the VM.
  7. Click “OK” to start exporting the VM.

VM Cloning Process

There are a few methods that can be used to clone VMware VMs. Cloning a VM is taking a “snapshot” of the VM in its current state and creating an exact copy of it. This can be useful for creating backups or moving a VM to another host.

The most common method of cloning a VMware VM is to use the vSphere Client. This software application is used to manage VMware ESXi servers and their VMs. To clone a VM using the vSphere Client, you will need access to the server on which the VM is running.

Once you have logged in to the vSphere Client, select the VM you want to clone. Right-click on the VM and select “Clone…” from the menu.

This will open the Clone Virtual Machine wizard. On the first page of this wizard, you will need to choose a name and location for the new cloned VM. You must also select which data store to store the new VM on.

If you are unsure which data store to use, click the “Browse…” button and browse the available data stores.

On the second page of this wizard, you will need to choose what type of cloning operation you want to perform. There are two options available: Full Clone and Linked Clone.

A full clone will create an entirely new copy of the original VM. A linked clone will create a copy of the VM that shares some files and resources with the original, thus reducing the amount of disk space required to store it.

On the third page of this wizard, you can configure any additional settings you may need for your cloned VM. Once you have made these decisions, click on the “Finish” button to begin cloning the VM.

Depending on the VM size and your host’s processor’s power, the cloning process will take a few minutes.

When the cloning process is complete, you will have two copies of your original VM: one from the original and one from the clone. You can then start up both VMs to ensure everything works as expected.

Benefits of Cloning a Virtual Machine onto Host Machine

Cloning a virtual machine has several benefits over other methods of copying or migrating a VM. Cloning is a “point in time” copy of a VM, so it includes the entire contents of the VM at the time the clone is created. This can be useful when you want to create an identical backup of a production VM, for example.

Another benefit of cloning is that it is much faster than other methods, such as exporting and importing OVF files. Cloning can also be done while the VM is running, so there is no need to shut down the VM or take it offline to copy it.

Finally, cloning a VM preserves all settings and configurations in the original VM. This can be helpful when you want to create a new VM identical to an existing one quickly.

Troubleshooting Tips & Techniques for Copying VM to Host

If you’re experiencing issues when attempting to copy a VMware virtual machine to your host, there are a few troubleshooting tips and techniques you can try. First, make sure that the source VM is powered off.

If it’s not, power it off before proceeding. Next, check that the destination host has enough storage space to accommodate the VM.

If not, you’ll need to make room by deleting unnecessary files or upgrading the storage capacity of the host.

Another thing to check is whether or not you have permission to copy the VM. You may need to contact your VMware administrator for assistance with this.

Finally, if you’re still having trouble, try using a different method for copying the VM (e.g., SCP instead of SFTP).


In conclusion, copying VMware Virtual Machines to hosts is a seamless and straightforward process when you know the correct steps.

With this article as your guide, transferring VMs from one computer or environment to another should be a breeze.

Feel free to utilize any additional tips provided throughout this post for an even smoother experience.