June 6, 2020

VMWare :: Clone a VM without vCenter

(Last Updated On: 28th January 2017)

VMWare ESXi is a great free tool for any home lab, but something that is missing is the ability to clone VMs – a feature reserved for customers with vCenter. Well, there is a relatively straight forward process that will enable you to duplicate your VMs and I will show you how in this post.

First step we need to take is to login through the vSphere Client – once in, you’ll need to power down the VM you intend to clone.

Click your host and the click on the “Configuration” tab

Select “Storage” and then right-click on the datastore on which you VM is located – selecting “Browse”

Create a new directory by clicking the “Create New Folder” icon, within the root directory.

Then we will go in to the VM directory we are going to clone, in this case “FortiGate-00”. Here we are going to copy the .vmx and .vmdk files and copy them in to the new directory we just created. Simply a case of right-clicking on the files, clicking copy, then right-click and paste in the relevant directory.

Note: In the case of this FortiGate, we have two .vmdk files – both will need to be copied over.

Finally, we will right-click on the .vmx file we copied over and select “Add to Inventory” – this will allow us to add this as a new VM.

When powering on the VM, you may be presented with the below pop-up, clicking “I copied it” will be fine.

And we now have a fully working clone of the FortiGate-00 VM!

I hope you found this post useful – please take a look at some of our other posts and let us know what you think!
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Jake is a security engineer working in West Yorkshire. He has experience with various firewall vendors including FortiGate, Check Point, Cisco and Palo Alto.

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