I have been using vmware for years, not sure why I dont know the answer to this one. If I rename my virtual machine, simply right click, rename and rename the sever, does that rename the vmdk file as well, or do I need to manually rename the vmdk file?

Here is the deal... I need to build a new VM to replace an existing VM. I cant clone the current VM and I can build a new one then rename. I was going to rename the existing in Vcenter, build the new VM giving it the name of the old server. However, I dont want to run into any issues.

So in short... does anyone know if I just right click, chose rename if that renames the files as well?


  • I don't have vmware up and running to test but my assumption would be that it would not change the name of the VMDK, this seem like it would cause issues with a running VM. Spin up a small VM and give it a try :D Jan 22, 2014 at 16:43
  • Why can't you clone it with a new name? Jan 22, 2014 at 16:45
  • Its a production server that was not built correctly for the application being utilized. The C drive is over 100gb, if we clone we will have to resize C drive after the clone Jan 22, 2014 at 21:23

3 Answers 3


I'm assuming you're using VMWare here... if so:

No, it does not rename the virtual machine files. It only changes the "display name" value in the .vmx file.

There are some some software solutions that can help with this. Trilead VMX is a freebie that can run a "replication" job that will properly clone a VM to a new name.

I don't know the specifics of your environment and what version/licensing you have, but there's a few methods for doing it depending on what you have available. Most times I end up doing it manually by SSH'ing in and using vmkfstools.

VMware has a helpful doc here:



By right clicking on an existing VM and renaming it the underlying vmdk(s), vmx and etc will not be renamed. It is possible to do a storage vMotion and have the underlying files be renamed during the storage vMotion. However this functionality has been removed in ESXi 5.x by default but it is possible to enable this if needed. The following KB article explains this in further detail. Good luck!



I just opened the vmdk image in Virtual Box and cloned it specifying my new name and it worked just fine for my scenario. Ofcourse it created a folder in ~/VirtualBox VMs folder which is just fine.

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