How to copy a VM host to host without vCenter

I would like to show you how you can copy (using SCP) a virtual machine from one ESXi host to another ESXi host without using a vCenter.


Login to both ESXi hosts that you are copying from and copying to and make sure SSH is enabled by following the setups below.

Check under Configuration Tab of the host > Security Profile > Services > Click Properties and check SSH is running if not start

ssh enabled

If SSH is Stopped, click Options

Select “Start and stop manually” and hit Start.

Under Firewall check SSH Server Client is checked.

Firewall Property

Make sure this is done on both the host.

Now you can ssh into the esxi host 1 that has the VM that needs to be transferred. Lets give that host ip and the Host 2 that’s going to receive the file will be

You can SSH into the host 1 using putty(win) or terminal (mac)

#ssh root@
The authenticity of host ' (' can't be established.
 RSA key fingerprint is b2:d6:00:34:aa:cc:62:95:8f:d7:f3:1d:59:1e:c3:54.
 Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes                         <------ Say yes

then it will prompt for Password: so enter that.

Do a ping test from host 1 to host 2

 ~ # ping

If it’s pinging that it looks good. I am not sure but In some cases the ping might be blocked.

Start transfering folder

 nohup scp -rv /vmfs/volumes/data-store1/vm-folder-name root@


For Multiple VMs (Folders)

First change directory to the Datastore folder

cd /vmfs/volumes/data-store1/

Then it’s better to enter multiple VMs leave just a single space between the VM folder name. No quotes or commas.

nohup scp -rv vm-folder-1 vm-folder-2 root@

Now you will be prompted for “host 2” password. enter that and the file transfer will start. The flags used here are -rv, where r is for folder tranfer and v for verbos to watch the progress.

Note: I added nohup before scp, this will allow the command to run in background even if you close Terminal/Putty window.

8 thoughts on “How to copy a VM host to host without vCenter

  • By Thomas - Reply

    Thank you so much! This guide helped me copy a vCenter server and it’s database-server from an old ESXi host on a diffirent network in a pretty strict production environment where no other choice was possible. I used the datastores guid instead of it’s human readable name.

  • By Greg - Reply

    You saved me. Didn’t have to buy any additional tools. Thank you so much!!

  • By TheMadMan - Reply

    Thnx, saved me a lot of work and travelling

  • By Alexey Stromilov - Reply

    Using Extrasphere 2.0 you can clone running VM to the same or another ESXi host (including free licensed) with or without shared storage… and it’s free.

  • By Anderson - Reply

    You saved me.

  • By Nitin kaundal - Reply

    Great post. Thank you so much

  • By Keith - Reply

    I tried this but it keeps saying omitting directory and its showing the GUID of the source vm.

  • By Himchistka_fxSn - Reply

    Уникальные способы химчистки кожаной мебели в Москве: быстро и эффективно.
    Химчистка кожаного дивана помогает продлить срок службы мебели и сохранить её презентабельный вид: .

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