I have just installed VMWARE ESXi5 on a physical server with 2 hard drives. OS on one, Virtual Machines will be on the other. I have the vmdk's I want to use on a usb disk. How do I copy them from the USB disk on to the local disk???

3 Answers 3


Simplest, most supported and safest way is to plug the USB disk in to your own computer, and then use VMWare console to access the datastore browser and upload the files there.

See here for a step-by-step guide.

  • 1
    This is safer ignore my answer please.
    – SuperBOB
    Mar 12, 2012 at 11:06
  • Thanks Simon.. this is going to tame 340mins though :( (4 to copy) The usb disk is an NTFS formatted SATA disk sitting in a HDD cradle hence connecting over usb. I could connect it to a sata cable internal, would it then be possible to copy the files across?
    – Christian
    Mar 12, 2012 at 11:57
  • 1
    VMWare may not see the NTFS formatted drive. I would just let the copy run, or risk having a makeshift solution fail and take even longer to fall back on the usual method. Mar 12, 2012 at 12:26
  • tried several other methods such as installing the ntfs-3g driver but all roads lead back to this answer... so shall let it run :( Many thanks
    – Christian
    Mar 12, 2012 at 12:50
  • .....and its finally complete. 4 hrs later :) Thanks again Simon
    – Christian
    Mar 12, 2012 at 17:05

SSH onto the ESXi Server - and use the command line. You can enable SSH access from vSphere.

e.g cp /usb/path/* /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/

  • It's an NTFS formatted disk and when I plug it into the ESXi server, /usb/ doesnt exist.
    – Christian
    Mar 12, 2012 at 11:54

enable ssh/scp access and then use scp client [like winscp] to copy the files.

how to enable it: here.

  • Thanks pQd. SSH enabled but I now need a way to copy from an NTFS USB disk to the local datastore.
    – Christian
    Mar 12, 2012 at 11:55
  • @Christian you can copy it to another machine and then scp over the network.
    – pQd
    Mar 12, 2012 at 12:13

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