I've had trouble exporting VMs, renaming them and importing them back into my inventory. What is the best way to do this inside vSphere Client? I am using vSphere Hypervisor version 4.1. Thanks.
I am assuming you are using the free hypervisor from VMware.
Cloning of a VM or creating an identical copy the VM is a feature of vCenter server. Out of the box the free hypervisor version does not support cloning. If you need that feature I would suggest you buy the vCenter server license.
That said, the closest and easiest you can get with the free VMware hypervisor is as already mentioned by you:
The other option is not so straight forward:
What you're asking to do is typically achieved via cloning or templating depending on how often you want to do this and to what end goal.
Cloning is useful, but I find that I'm almost always reaching for the Snapshot Manager instead. Perhaps creating a Webserver cluster? I haven't really found a real practical use for cloning, but I'm sure others will chime in.
Templating on the other hand is great: you can, for example, build a baseline Windows 2008 R2 machine install all your service packs, flip it back to a template, and keep it around for all your future virtual machines.