VMware ESX – How to easily recreate a missing or corrupt VMX file.

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Do you have a VM that is missing its VMX file or maybe the VM’s VMX file has corrupted?

Now you could manually recreate a missing or corrupt VMX file (restoring one from a backup would be the best solution) but a quick and easy way for recreating it is to create a new VM within the VMware Infrastructure Client (VIC) or via CLI/RCLI.  During the creation process point the new VM’s drives to the existing disk (VMDK) files of the server with the corrupt/missing VMX file.

Below are the basic steps for doing this via the VMware Infrastructure Client interface.

Before beginning to start the process to recreate the VMX file, if it exists, remove the VM from the VMware Infrastructure Clients inventory list (right click on the VM and select ‘Remove from Inventory’). Also if you are trying to replace a corrupted VMX file then rename (preferable option) or delete the offending VMX file.

First start the ‘New Virtual Machine Wizard’ and select a ‘Virtual Machine Configuration’ type of ‘Custom’. 


The next page of the wizard will ask for a ‘Name’ for the new VM.  Make sure the name you type in here matches the name of the directory on your VMFS partition that hosts the VM with the missing/corrupt VMX file. 

If you enter in a different name here the New Virtual Machine Wizard will create a directory of that name that will contain the VMX file (along with a couple of other files important to the running of the VM) whilst your disk (VMDK) file(s) could be located in another directory.  Although there are potentially situations where you may want to keep your disk and configuration files separate I would personally recommend keeping them all together to reduce the risk of any future confusion and accidental moves or deletions of these VM related files.


The next screen of the Wizard asks for you to select the location of the datastore.  As mentioned above, in most situations it is best to select the same LUN/Disk on which the VMDK (disk) files are located.


Now proceed through the next few steps of the Wizard selecting and adjusting (if required) any of the VM configuration parameters (eg: Guest OS, number of virtual processors, memory, etc).

When you get to the ‘Select a Disk’ screen then select ‘Use an existing virtual virtual disk’ and select the primary VMDK boot disk file for the VM with the missing/corrupt VMX file. 


Proceed through the rest of the Wizard until you get to the ‘Ready to ‘Complete New Virtual Machine’ screen. At this point if you wish to add any additional secondary (eg: data) disks then check the ‘Edit the virtual machine settings before submitting’ box and add in any additional disks, NICs, etc.


Once complete then press the ‘Finish’ button.  Within the VMware Infrastructure Client interface you will now see the newly recreated VM back in the inventory list.

Using the ‘Datastore Browser’ navigate to the folder of VM and you should now see a freshly created VMX file.


You are now ready to start the VM with its new VMX file.  Good Luck!


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About Simon Seagrave

Simon is a UK based Virtualization, Cloud & IT Technology Evangelist working as a Senior Technology Consultant and vSpecialist for EMC. He loves working in the ever changing IT industry & spends most of his time working with Virtualization, Cloud & other Enterprise IT based technologies, in particular VMware, EMC and HP products.

As well as on this site, you can find him on Twitter and Google+


  1. Marino Duregon says:

    Your method helped to prove that I could recover from a corrupted template file (.vmtx).

    However this other KB article (KB Article: 1003597 ‘http://knova-prod-kss-vip.vmware.com:8080/selfservice/dynamickc.do?cmd=show&forward=nonthreadedKC&docType=kc&externalId=1003597′ ) which suggest you to look at your vmware.log file and isolate the “— CONFIGURATION” section shows you exactly what is being parsed and recognized and, conversely, what is not being parsed correctly by ESX upon the startup of the VM.


  2. Thanks..you saved my life :)

    • Just be careful to choose the right OS otherwise you will get an ERROR while starting the VM :- handshake failed for mks of /vmfs/volumes/…

      The Guest OS can be changed later under Editsettings/options/..if you get the error.

      Thanks again KIWI!!

  3. Thanks a lot Kiwi! Really helpful post ! You saved my life !

  4. Great Instructions…..

    However my foo-flat.vmdk does not show up while creating a new VM.

    I can see the file while browing through the host so I know its there.

    Any thoughts?


  5. Tom Berchenbriter says:

    I too have the same issue, vmx file disapeared… has no logs like the other vms, and cannot attach vmdk file to a new vm… What causes this?? This is awful

    • Simon Seagrave says:

      Hi Tom,

      Hmm, that sounds strange indeed. Anything showing in your ESX/ESXi logs at all?

      It sounds like you’ve already tried recreating a new VM with same resource attributes and then pointed the primary VMDK file to your existing VMDK file (whose VMX file is missing) – did I read this right?





  6. Thank you as this saved me a ton of time in getting this machine back up quickly!

  7. Tom Berchenbriter says:

    Nothing in the logs, and I tried creating a new vm and pointing it to the vmdk, but I couldnt get it to see it… Open to suggestions..

  8. My VMX file is invalid (after ESX 4.0 update) after adding it to invertory.

    Yes, this method is correct, however..
    I’m unable to create NIC with same MAC address as it has before.
    There is no way to create NIC with auto-assigned MAC identical as it was before.

    MAC address poll for auto-created NIC is different from manual-created.

    Hope this helps somebody..

  9. thanks much.you saved me a lot of time.cheers,

  10. hmx_ryan says:

    Thanks man, you save my day..:)

  11. Hello

    Do you think that I can do that with the VM powered on ?
    Thans for your help.

  12. Joe Chang says:

    Thank you!

  13. I know that this is a very old article, but you have just SAVED MY LIFE!!! Thank you so much for having this article up, WITH PICTURES!! Worked perfectly. My circumstances were that I was moving a VM between LUNs, and had a power failure. Somehow the .vmx file went totally missing! It was not in either the original folder or the moved folder. Not sure what happened, but I still had the log files, and without your article would have never known that I could recreate it. This contained all of our work product and would have been absolutely the end of me if lost. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

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