I own VMware Essentials license (6 CPU's)

One of the hosts is going to be replaced with a new one. I am having trouble removing/changing the license on that host.

enter image description here

As you can see on the image: the option to select the evaluation mode is grayed out for me.

How can I release that license?

EDIT: Removing the HOST from the VCenter - did not release the license for the CPU's. I want to point, that if I disconnect the server I CAN add a 3rd host to VCenter.

The new host is added to the VCenter - with evaluation key. But I can only see 1 CPU license available.

Is this somehow related to the changes that were done in the licensing scheme of VMWare Essentials?

VSphere editions enter image description here

-- # of licenses is wrong enter image description here

  • I had the same issue. I restarted vCenter and the licensing became available Rob – Rob Oct 3 '17 at 20:44

Disconnect the server and replace the server with a new host...

Or you can simply remove the host from the vCenter setup. E.g. disconnect the host from your centralized management. That will release the license.

enter image description here

It's possible that the number of available CPU's is NOT the correct number. enter image description here

  • I don't think disconnecting the server from vCenter releases the license. It only disconnects the server from vCenter, but it (and it's assigned license) is still registered with vCenter. – joeqwerty Nov 21 '12 at 15:20
  • It's been updated.... – ewwhite Nov 21 '12 at 15:23
  • This did not work for me but I'm running ESXi 5.5u2. I removed it from vCenter and even applied a license for the free ESXi to it and vCenter still shows all 6 CPUs as in use. – Steve Hiner Feb 12 '15 at 18:24
  • @SteveHiner Call it in to support. – ewwhite Feb 12 '15 at 18:33
  • 2
    Actually it turns out that the description lacked one crucial step: Wait 30 minutes or more. After a while when I tried it in vCenter again the CPUs were available again. Must be that it takes a bit for the host to notify VMware that the license is no longer being used. To be clear, I did try it a couple times with a bit of time between so it wasn't like I expected it to be instantaneous. – Steve Hiner Feb 12 '15 at 18:56

Remove the host from vCenter. This will "remove" the license from that host and make it available for your new host.

  • 1
    Thanks, but neither removing the host from the VCenter doesn't release the CPU's to use. (see edited Q) – Saariko Nov 21 '12 at 15:23
  • What vSphere version are you running? I just did this in vSphere 4.1 and it worked exactly as I described. – joeqwerty Nov 21 '12 at 15:24

On vCenter Server Appliance 5.5, SSH into your Appliance and restart the VMware VirtualCenter Server Service AFTER removing the hosts. The licenses will then become available to reallocate.

Here is a link to a KB discussing the services:



Enter the host into maintenance mode and remove from vCenter inventory, refresh (i'm using web client 6.0 U2) then select the (new) host -> Manage -> Licensing, license is now available.

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