To help prevent sensitive data in VMDK files from being read off the physical disk after it is deleted, write zeros to the entire contents of a VMDK file ("zero out") before you delete it, overwriting the sensitive data. When you zero out a file, it is more difficult for someone to reconstruct the contents.


Shut down or stop the virtual machine.


On the ESXi host, locate the VMDK file by running vmware-cmd -l to list all virtual machine configuration files.

By default, the virtual disk file has the same name as the VMX file but a .vmdk extension.


On the ESXi host, run the command vmkfstools --writezeroes filename.vmdk.

Here, filename.vmdk is the name of the VMDK file.


Delete the file from the datastore.

For more information about initializing a virtual disk using vmkfstools, see the vSphere Storage documentation.