Generally, you do not need to log in as the root user to run the vmkfstools commands. However, some commands, such as the file system commands, might require the root user login.

The vmkfstools command supports the following command syntax:

vmkfstools conn_options options target.

Target specifies a partition, device, or path to apply the command option to.

Table 1. vmkfstools command arguments




One or more command-line options and associated arguments that you use to specify the activity for vmkfstools to perform, for example, choosing the disk format when creating a new virtual disk.

After entering the option, specify a target on which to perform the operation. Target can indicate a partition, device, or path.


Specifies disk partitions. This argument uses a disk_ID:P format, where disk_ID is the device ID returned by the storage array and P is an integer that represents the partition number. The partition digit must be greater than zero (0) and should correspond to a valid VMFS partition.


Specifies devices or logical volumes. This argument uses a path name in the ESXi device file system. The path name begins with /vmfs/devices, which is the mount point of the device file system.

Use the following formats when you specify different types of devices:

  • /vmfs/devices/disks for local or SAN-based disks.

  • /vmfs/devices/lvm for ESXi logical volumes.

  • /vmfs/devices/generic for generic SCSI devices.


Specifies a VMFS file system or file. This argument is an absolute or relative path that names a directory symbolic link, a raw device mapping, or a file under /vmfs.

  • To specify a VMFS file system, use this format:



  • To specify a file on a VMFS datastore, use this format:


    You do not need to enter the entire path if the current working directory is the parent directory of myDisk.vmdk.