Cloning a virtual machine creates a duplicate of the virtual machine with the same configuration and installed software as the original.

Optionally, you can customize the guest operating system of the clone to change the virtual machine name, network settings, and other properties. This prevents conflicts that can occur if a virtual machine and a clone with identical guest operating system settings are deployed simultaneously.

You must be connected to vCenter Server in order to clone a virtual machine. You cannot clone virtual machines if you connect directly to an ESX/ESXi host.

To customize the guest operating system of the virtual machine, check that your guest operating system meets the requirements for customization. See Guest Operating System Customization Requirements.

To use a customization specification, you must first create or import the customization specification.

To use a custom script to generate the host name or IP address for the new virtual machine, configure the script. See Configure a Script to Generate Computer Names and IP Addresses During Guest Operating System Customization.


Right-click the virtual machine and select Clone.


Enter a virtual machine name, select a location, and click Next.


Select a host or cluster on which to run the new virtual machine.



Run the virtual machine on a standalone host.

Select the host and click Next.

Run the virtual machine in a cluster with DRS automatic placement.

Select the cluster and click Next.

Run the virtual machine in a cluster without DRS automatic placement.


Select the cluster and click Next.


Select a host within the cluster and click Next.


Select a resource pool in which to run the clone and click Next.


Select the datastore location where you want to store the virtual machine files and click Next.



Store all virtual machine files in the same location.

Select a datastore and click Next.

Store virtual machine configuration files and disks in separate locations.


Click Advanced.


For the virtual machine configuration file and for each virtual disk, select a datastore from the drop-down list.


Click Next.


Select the format for the virtual machine's disks and click Next.



Same format as source

Use the same format as the source virtual machine.

Thin provisioned format

Use the thin provisioned format. At first, a thin provisioned disk uses only as much datastore space as the disk initially needs. If the thin disk needs more space later, it can grow to the maximum capacity allocated to it.

Only VMFS datastore version 3 and later support virtual disks in the thin provisioned format.

Thick format

The thick virtual disk does not change its size and from the very beginning occupies the entire datastore space provisioned to it.


Select a guest operating system customization option.



Do not customize

Select Do not customize and click Next.

Does not customize any of the guest operating system settings. All settings remain identical to those of the source virtual machine.

Customize using the Customization Wizard

Opens the Customization Wizard so that you can select customization options for the guest operating system.

Select this option and click Next to launch the Customization Wizard.

To customize a Linux guest operating system, see Customize Linux During Cloning or Deployment.

To customize a Windows guest operating system, see Customize Windows During Cloning or Deployment.

Customize using an existing customization specification

Uses the settings in a saved customization specification to customize the guest operating system.


Select Customize using an existing customization specification.


Select the customization specification that you want to use.


(Optional) Select Use the Customization Wizard to temporarily adjust the specification before deployment if you want to make changes to the specification for this deployment only.


Click Next.


Review your selections, and select whether to power on or edit the virtual machine.



Power on this virtual machine after creation

Select this option and click Finish.

The virtual machine powers on after the deployment task completes.

Edit virtual hardware


Select Edit virtual hardware and click Continue.


In the Virtual Machine Properties dialog box, make any changes that you want to make and click OK.

The cloned virtual machine is deployed. You cannot use or edit the virtual machine until the cloning is complete. This might take several minutes if the cloning involves creating a virtual disk. You can cancel the cloning at any point before the customization stage.