Killing a virtual machine the esxcli way

Rarely I run into a ghost VM. I can’t do anything with the VM from vCenter or local UI for the ESXi host. It looks like it’s powered off but in fact, it’s still running in a sort of ghost state. You can vMotion all VMs of and reboot that hosts that the ghost VM is on. Sometimes its standalone hosts and then killing the VMs world with esxcli is easier.

  1. Connect to the ESXi host with ssh
  2. Get a list of all running VM worlds
esxcli vm process list

3. Identify the world from the output and take note of the World ID. From here we will kill the world. Start with type soft and then escalate it if it doesn’t work.

esxcli vm process kill --type=[soft/hard/force] -–world-id=ID

VM should now be killed, the VMX files are unlocked and you can manage the VM with the GUI tools again. If it didn’t work then you are left with the option to reboot the host containing the ghost VM.

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Jesper Ramsgaard