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This is vCenter 5.1 and I would like to disable startup of a certain Virtual Machine.

There are several reasons why I would like that (the machine eats too many resources, or is infected, or triggers a license).

I don't want to remove the VM from the Inventory.

I have tried reducing RAM to the minimum (4MB) and kind of works (the OS crashes when trying to boot), but I wish there was a cleaner method.

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One solution would be to convert the VM to a template - then it can't start, it's quick too and very easy to reverse.

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If you don't want a virtual machine to be used for any reason, you can remove it from the inventory. It can be re-added, but this eliminates the chance of an inadvertent power-on.

If you want to isolate a virtual machine for security reasons (e.g. network compromise), disconnect its network adapter.

If you have a licensing issue, that may also be handled by a disconnected network adapter, depending on the licensing method.

If there is a chance that another user would power the VM on, set more granular permissions in your vSphere infrastructure and restrict access to the VM in question.

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I like the permissions idea. I'm basically a vCenter administrator, so I created a new role which identical to Administrator except it doesn't have "VM->Interaction->Power On" priviledge enabled, and assigned it to me on those VMs. – LatinSuD Sep 2 '14 at 12:22
@LatinSuD I'd recommend converting to template (mark as template) or removing the VM from inventory. – ewwhite Sep 2 '14 at 14:50

Export the VM and delete it from the inventory (no other way). When you want to use it, import it back.

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