When removing a hard disk from a VMWare ESX virtual machine running Windows, is it best practice to shut down the server first or is there a minimal risk (if the drive is not being written to at the time of removal; drive being non-OS drive) by keeping the server online. I have previously kept servers online with no damage when moving a hard disk from one VM to another but that got me thinking about best practices.

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    As long as you do virtualization and have esxi tools installed, you can do almost anything you want with every device of your virtualized OS. Just note that if you did snapshots, and even tho the disk is "independent-persistent", the esxi deny you from removing the disk (which is not used and unmounted) when the VM is on. You can delete or consolidate the snapshots, doing this, you can play with the disks and remove from a system for plugging in to another. There's no a best practice, as far as I know. – Nihvel Mar 1 '18 at 9:28
  1. Open Disk Management or Diskpart
  2. Take needed disk offline
  3. Open VM Settings in ESXi
  4. Remove Disk from VM without deletion from datastore
  5. Add existing disk to needed VM.
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