Cloning a virtual machine creates a virtual machine that is a copy of the original. The new virtual machine is configured with the same virtual hardware, installed software, and other properties that were configured for the original virtual machine.


When heavily loaded applications, such as load generators, are running in the guest operating system during a clone operation, the virtual machine quiesce operation can fail and VMware Tools might be denied CPU resources and time out. It is recommended that you quiesce the virtual machines running lower I/O disk operation.


If a load generator is running in the virtual machine, stop it before you perform the clone operation.


  1. Open the Clone Existing Virtual Machine wizard.



    Open the Clone Existing Virtual Machine wizard from a object in the inventory

    1. Right-click any inventory object that is a valid parent object of a virtual machine and select New Virtual Machine.

    2. On the Select a creation type page, select Clone an existing virtual machine and click Next.

    3. On the Select a virtual machine page, select the virtual machine that you want to clone.

    Open the Clone Existing Virtual Machine wizard from a virtual machine

    Right-click a virtual machine and select Clone > Clone to Virtual Machine.

  2. On the Select a name and folder page, enter a unique name for the new virtual machine and select a deployment location.

    The template name determines the name of the files and folder on the disk. For example, if you name the template win10tmp, the template files are named win10tmp.vmdk, win10tmp.nvram, and so on. If you change the template name, the names of the files on the datastore do not change.

    Folders provide a way to store virtual machines and templates for different groups in an organization and you can set permissions on them. If you prefer a flatter hierarchy, you can put all virtual machines and templates in a datacenter and organize them in a different way.

  3. On the Select a compute resource page, select the host, cluster, resource pool, or vApp where the virtual machine will run and click Next.

    The Compatibility pane shows the result from the compatibility checks.


    If the virtual machine that you clone has an NVDIMM device and uses PMem storage, the destination host or cluster must have available PMem resource.

    If the virtual machine that you clone does not have an NVDIMM device but it uses PMem storage, the destination host or cluster must have available PMem resource. Otherwise, all the hard disk of the destination virtual machine will use the storage policy and datastore selected for the configuration files of the source virtual machine.

  4. On the Select storage page, select the datastore or datastore cluster in which to store the template configuration files and all of the virtual disks. Click Next.
    1. Choose the type of storage for the template by selecting the Standard, the PMem, or the Hybrid radio button.

      If you choose the Hybrid mode, all PMem virtual disks will remain stored on a PMem database. Non-PMem disks are affected by your choice of a VM storage policy and datastore or datastore cluster.

    2. (Optional) From the VM Storage Policy drop-down menu, select a virtual machine storage policy or leave the default one.
    3. Select a datastore or a datastore cluster.
    4. (Optional) Select the Disable Storage DRS for this virtual machine check box if you do not want to use storage DRS with the virtual machine.
    5. (Optional) Turn on the Configure per disk option to select a separate datastore or a datastor cluster for the template configuration file and for each virtual disk.
  5. On the Select clone options, select additional customization options for the new virtual machine.

    You can choose to customize the guest operating system or the virtual machine hardware. You can also choose to power on the virtual machine after its creation.

  6. (Optional) On the Customize guest OS page, apply a customization specification to the virtual machine.

    Customizing the guest OS prevents conflicts that might occur if you deploy virtual machines with identical settings, such as duplicate computer names.


    To access customization options for Windows guest operating systems, Microsoft Sysprep tools must be installed on the vCenter Server system. The Sysprep Tool is built into Windows 2008 and later operating systems. For details about this and other customization requirements, see Guest Operating System Customization Requirements.



    Select an existing specification

    Select a customization specification from the list.

    Create a specification

    Click the Create a new specification icon, and complete the steps in the wizard.

    Create a specification from an existing specification

    1. Select a customization specification from the list.

    2. Click the Create a spec from an existing spec icon, and complete the steps in the wizard.

  7. (Optional) On the Customize hardware page, configure the virtual machine hardware and click Next.
    1. (Optional) Under the Virtual Hardware tab, click ADD NEW DEVICE and select a virtual hardware device to add.
    2. (Optional) Expand any of the listed devices to view its configuration settings and make changes.
    3. (Optional) Move the pointer over a device and click the Remove icon to remove a device from the virtual machine configuration.

      You confirm the deletion of the selected device when you finish the cloning task.

  8. On the Ready to complete page, review the virtual machine settings and click Finish.


The new virtual machine appears in the inventory.