Linux VMWare Server 2: Start / Stop VMs From a Shell Prompt

You can easily start / stop / pause or take a snapshot from a shell prompt under a Linux / Windows host using vmrun command. This is useful if you do not want to run web interface for starting and/or stopping VMs.


vmrun commands

vmrun -u USER -h ‘’ -p PASSWORD start “[storage] Path/to/.vmx”

=> -u USER : VMWare server username

=> -h ‘’ : Local or remote server FQDN / IP address

=> -p PASSWORD : VMWare server password

=> COMMAND [PARAMETERS] : Command can be any one of the following:

--------------           ----------           -----------
start                    Path to vmx file     Start a VM

stop                     Path to vmx file     Stop a VM

reset                    Path to vmx file     Reset a VM

suspend                  Path to vmx file     Suspend a VM

pause                    Path to vmx file     Pause a VM

unpause                  Path to vmx file     Unpause a VM

Start a VM called CentOS

To start a virtual machine with Vmware server 2.0 on a Linux host, stored on storage called iscsi:
vmrun -T server -h '' -u root -p 'secrete' start "[iSCSI] CentOS52_64/CentOS52_64.vmx"
To start a virtual machine with Workstation on a Windows host (open command prompt by visiting Start > Run > cmd > [enter] key):
vmrun -T ws start "c:\My VMs\centos\centos.vmx"

Stop a VM called CentOS

To stop a virtual machine with Vmware server 2.0 on a Linux host, stored on storage called iscsi:
vmrun -T server -h '' -u root -p 'secrete' stop "[iSCSI] CentOS52_64/CentOS52_64.vmx"

Reset a VM called Debian

To reset a virtual machine with Vmware server 2.0 on a Linux host, stored on storage called DISK3:
vmrun -T server -h '' -u root -p 'secrete' reset "[DISK3] Debian5/Debian5.vmx"

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5 comments… add one
  • James Dec 10, 2008 @ 16:49

    How do you learn the value of

  • Stijn Jan 28, 2009 @ 8:51

    @ james
    [storage] is most likely “[standard]” in case you haven’t changed your default storage or the vm is saved in a different storage.
    You can get your storage in the web interface when your click on your vm in “inventory” then go to summary . Scroll down to “hardware” and click on your harddisk and choose “edit”. At the top of the window you can see your datastore under “disk image”.

  • Douglas Sep 8, 2009 @ 3:41

    Or, just use the list command from the previous article. It will list the [storage] along with the image item.

  • Bruno Rico Jul 26, 2010 @ 7:41

    Thank you, so usefull.
    I was trying for a while until added “[standard] ” to the virtual machine route (as you explain in previous article).

  • wow po Sep 21, 2012 @ 4:27

    fantastic points altogether, you just gained emblem new|a new} reader. What would you recommend about your submit that you simply made some days in the past? Any sure?

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