VMware ESXi CheatSheet

This is a quick and dirty cheatsheet for VMware ESXi server version 7, many commands can be used on the older version.

VMware ESXi CheatSheet


Check ESXi build and version numbers

esxcli system version get 

Get the hostname, domain and FQDN for the host

esxcli system hostname get 

Get the date and time when ESXi was installed

esxcli system stats installtime get 

List the local users created on the ESXi host

esxcli system account list 

Create local ESXi users

esxcli system account add -d="Guest User" -i="guest" -p="user123!" -c="user123!" 

Description of all the esxcli commands on this system

esxcli command getdetails 

Lists all the available namespaces and corresponding commands

esxcli esxcli command list 

Check maintenance mode

esxcli system maintenanceMode get 

Enable/Disable maintenance mode

esxcli system maintenanceMode set –enable true 

Reboot ESXi host

esxcli system shutdown reboot -r "message" 

Reboot ESXi host (that is in maintenance) with a countdown timer

esxcli system shutdown reboot -d 10 -r "Patch Updates" 

Retrieve CPU information (family, model and cache) of your ESXi host

esxcli hardware cpu list 

Retrieve information about memory (available and non-uniform memory access)

esxcli hardware memory get 

Syslog information and configuration

esxcli system syslog 

Grab a complete bundle of all the support and log information that you have inside a ESXi host



Restart Management, HA Services

/sbin/services restart 

Get a list of all Virtual Machines (VMIDs)

vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms 

List all the running VMs on the hosts and get the world ID of the virtual machines

esxcli vm process list 

Terminate running VM process, essentially shutting down or forcibly powering off a VM

esxcli vm process kill 

Power On

vim-cmd vmsvc/power.on 36 

Power Off (Soft)

vim-cmd vmsvc/power.off 36 

Power Off (Hard)

esxcli vm process kill  -w [worldID] -t [soft,hard,force] 

Reboot a virtual machine

vim-cmd vmsvc/power.reboot 36 

Suspend a virtual machine

vim-cmd vmsvc/power.suspend 

Resume a virtual machine

vim-cmd vmsvc/power.suspendResume 

Reset a virtual machine

vim-cmd vmsvc/power.reset 

Shutdown a virtual machine

vim-cmd vmsvc/power.shutdown 

Show VM summary infomation

vim-cmd vmsvc/power.shutdown 

Check Performance (top like Linux)


Check performance of storage I/O


Install Software

Lists all the currently installed software and drivers (VIBs) on ESXi

esxcli software vib list 

Install a package (VIB)

esxcli software vib install -v file:/tmp/[NewVIB].vib 

Uninstall a VIB

esxcli software vib remove -n VIBname 

Update an installed VIB on ESXi

esxcli software vib update -d “/tmp/update.zip” 

Install a patch

esxcli software vib install /tmp/[patchName].zip 

Virtual Disks

Extend a virtual disk, i.e. to 500GB

vmkfstools -X 4500G /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/Test/test.vmdk 

Rename Workstation disk

mv Computer.vmdk Computer_WS.vmdk 

Clone Workstation disk

vmkfstools -i Computer_WS.vmdk -d zeroedthick Computer.vmdk 

Remove Workstation disk

rm Computer_WS.vmdk 

Jump to the directory of the VM and monitor the activity of the sesparse, delta and flat files

cd /vmfs/volumes/esxdatastore0/vm
/vmfs/volumes/510a4e43-4bf56f05-5a34-0034791e8a3/vm # watch -d 'ls -luth | grep -E "delta|flat|sesparse"' 

Convert VMs a thick provisioning disk to a thin disk. Delete all snapshots and Power off your virtual machine

vmkfstools -i /vmfs/volumes/esxdatastore0/vm/vmdisk.vmdk -d thin /vmfs/volumes/esxdatastore0/vm/vmdisk-flat-thin.vmdk 

Delete the thick disk of a VM

rm /vmfs/volumes/esxdatastore0/vm/vmdisk-flat.vmdk.thick 

Determine the configured size of a thin disk

ls -lh /vmfs/volumes/esxdatastore0/vm/vmdisk-flat.vmdk 

Determine the used size of a thin disk

du -h /vmfs/volumes/esxdatastore0/vm/vmdisk-flat.vmdk 


List all snapshots for a virtual machine

vim-cmd vmsvc/snapshot.get 36 

Create a snapshot for a VM thats running

vmware-cmd vmsvc/snapshot createsnapshot "New Snap" "Snap desc" 1 1 

Create a snapshot for a VM, including the RAM of the Machine

vim-cmd vmsvc/snapshot.create 36 "New Snap" "Snap desc" includeMemory 

Delete a snapshot, where 36 is the VMID and 2 the Snapshot ID

vim-cmd vmsvc/snapshot.remove 36 2 

Monitor deleting of Snapshots. Login to the host where the VM resides.

vim-cmd vimsvc/task_list
vim-cmd vimsvc/task_info haTask-32-vim.VirtualMachine.removeAllSnapshots-140465256 

Remove all snapshots

vmware-cmd path-to/vmx-file removesnapshots 

Check if a volume supports native respectively hardware snapshots

vmkfstools -Ph /vmfs/volumes/esxdatastore0/ 


List networking information about VMs that have an active network port

esxcli network vm list 

Displays the IPv4 configuration for all the interfaces present on ESXi

esxcli network ip interface ipv4 get 

Firewall state

esxcli network firewall get 

Disable firewall (not recommended)

esxcli network firewall set –enabled true | false 

Firewall rules

esxcli network firewall ruleset list 

Firewall rules piped to awk

esxcli network firewall ruleset list | awk '$2 =="true"' 

Firewall activate a ruleset

esxcli network firewall ruleset set --ruleset-id=sshClient --enabled=true 

Only allow an IP Range for the SSH

esxcli network firewall ruleset allowedip add --ruleset-id sshServer --ip-address 

List Kernel Network Interfaces

esxcli network ip interface list 

List physical Network Interfaces

esxcli network nic list 

Shutdown physical network interface

esxcli network nic down -n vmnic4 

List routing table

esxcli network ip route ipv4 list 

Add a route

esxcli network ip route ipv4 add --gateway --network 

Set Default Gateway

esxcfg-route -a default 

Test Default Gateway

vmkping -D 

send ICMP request to through vmk1 interface

vmkping –I vmk1 

Test connectivity to on port 3260

nc –z 3260 

List arp cache

esxcli network ip neighbor list 

Remove arp cache entry

esxcli network ip neighbor remove -a -v 4 

List all virtual switches

esxcli network vswitch standard list 

Change the physical uplink of an vSwitch

esxcli network vswitch standard uplink remove -u vmnic0 -v vSwitch1
esxcli network vswitch standard uplink add -u vmnic1 -v vSwitch1 

List all portgroups

esxcli network vswitch standard portgroup list 

Add a new portgroup at the vSwitch to which the Kernel Interface should connect

esxcli network vswitch standard portgroup add -p "PG MEGA" -v vSwitch0 

Set Interface as Management Network

esxcli network ip interface tag add -i vmk0 -t Management 

Set the VLAN id

esxcli network vswitch standard portgroup set --vlan-id 0 -p "PG MEGA" 

Set Community

esxcli system snmp set --communities MEGA 

Set Trap destintion

esxcli system snmp set --targets 

Send test trap

esxcli system snmp test 

Check State

esxcli system snmp get 

Enable IPMI as SNMP source

esxcli system snmp set --hwsrc sensors 

Enable CIM as SNMP source

esxcli system snmp set --hwsrc indications 

Enable SNMP

esxcli system snmp set --enable true 

Capture Network Packets on the a physical interface

pktcap-uw --uplink vmnic0 

List all physical nic’s

esxcli network nic list 

Enables the iSCSI software adapter and verify that the iSCSI adapter is enabled

esxcli iscsi software set –enabled true && esxcli iscsi software get 

Return metrics for the specified iSCSI adapter

esxcli iscsi adapter param get -A vmhba65 

Return established iSCSI sessions on the host

esxcli iscsi sessions 


List the current storage devices

esxcli storage core device list 

Get a list of all storage devices (volumes or datastores) accessible by the ESXi host

esxcli storage filesystem list 

Rename a datastore

vim-cmd hostsvc/datastore/rename OldName NewName 

Get a list of all storage pathes

esxcli storage core path list 

Get storage pathes for a specific drive

esxcli storage core path list -d naa.600000e00d11000000111a2400000000 

Generate a list of extents for each volume as well as the corresponding device name to UUID mapping

esxcli storage vmfs extent list 

Show Storage Array Type and Path selection policies of disk devices

esxcli storage nmp device list 

Set Roundrobin(VMW_PSP_RR) path selection policy for a disk device, possible other policies are “Most recently used”:VMW_PSP_MRU or “Fixed”:VMW_PSP_FIXED

esxcli storage nmp device set -P VMW_PSP_RR -d naa.600000e00d11000000111a2400020000 

Stat of the visorfs (Hypervisor Filesystem)


Usage of the visorfs (Hypervisor Filesystem)


List all HBAs

esxcfg-scsidevs -a 

List all HBAs with the corresponding WWNN and WWPN

esxcli storage san fc list 

Reset a HBA and force an fabirc logon

esxcli storage san fc reset -A vmhba3 

Check if a storage LUN attached to an ESXi supports VAAI

esxcli storage core device vaai status get 

Host Services

Enable ESXi Shell

vim-cmd hostsvc/enable_esx_shell 

Disable ESXi Shell

vim-cmd hostsvc/disable_esx_shell 

Start ESXi Shell

vim-cmd hostsvc/start_esx_shell 

Enable the SSH daemon

vim-cmd hostsvc/enable_ssh 

Disable SSH daemon

vim-cmd hostsvc/disable_ssh 

Start SSH daemon

vim-cmd hostsvc/start_ssh 

Enter Maintenance mode

vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter 

Exit Maintenance Mode

vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenance_mode_exit 

ESXi Kernel modules

List loaded kernel modules

vmkload_mod  -l 

List kernel interfaces

esxcfg-vmknic -l 

A utility for capturing VMkernel events


A utility for logging VMkernel events


Checking physical MAC addresses

esxcfg-nics -l 
esxcfg-vswitch -l
esxcfg-vmknic -l 

Create a n Kernel interface with a specfic MAC and IP Address and add it to a portgroup

esxcfg-vmknic -a -i -n -M 01:12:34:56:78:90 -p PortGroupName 
esxcfg-vmknic -p PortGroupName -6 false 

Delete an Kernel interface

esxcfg-vmknic -d -p PortGroupName  

Get a list of all enabled kernel modules

esxcfg-module -q 

Get parameters of a kernel modul, i.e. an Emulex FC HBA module

esxcfg-module -g lpfc820
lpfc820 enabled = 1 options = 'lpfc0_lun_queue_depth=8 lpfc1_lun_queue_depth=8 lpfc2_lun_queue_depth=8 lpfc3_lun_queue_depth=8' 

Set kernel module parameters, also i.e. the Emulex FC HBA module

esxcfg-module -s "lpfc0_lun_queue_depth=8 lpfc1_lun_queue_depth=8 lpfc2_lun_queue_depth=8 lpfc3_lun_queue_depth=8" lpfc820 

Get info of a module with all possible parameters and a description of each

esxcfg-module -i lpfc820 

Get all ESXi Advanced Kernel Settings/Parameters

esxcli system settings advanced list -d 

Set one Advanced Kernel Parameter, i.e. disable the shell SSH warnings

esxcli system settings advanced set -o /UserVars/SuppressShellWarning -i 1 

Add a Kernel interface to a Portgroup

esxcfg-vmknic –a -i -n "PG MEGA" 


Detailed information

esxcfg-mpath -l 

List all Paths with abbreviated information

esxcfg-mpath -L 

List all Paths with adapter and device mappings

esxcfg-mpath -m 

List all devices with their corresponding paths

esxcfg-mpath -b 

List all Multipathing Plugins loaded into the system

esxcfg-mpath -G 

Set the state for a specific LUN Path. Requires path UID or path Runtime Name in –path

esxcfg-mpath --state <active|off> 

Specify a path for operations

esxcfg-mpath -P 

Filter the list commands to display only a specific device

esxcfg-mpath -d 

Restore path setting to configured values on system start

esxcfg-mpath -r 

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