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Start and stop VMWARE VPS / virtual machine guest operating system from command line

Vmware server comes with the nifty vmware-cmd utility. It allows an administrator to perform various operations on a virtual machine from Linux command line / shell prompt such as:

=> Stop / Start VM

=> Get VM status

=> Setup variables

=> Powerdown VM and much more

Task: Lists the virtual machines on the local server

You can list all servers and config file, enter:
# vmware-cmd -l


Turn on VM / Power up VPS

Just pas start option to vmware-cmd,
# vmware-cmd /nas/vms/FreeBSD/FreeBSD.vmx start

To stop VM/VPS, enter:
# vmware-cmd /nas/vms/FreeBSD/FreeBSD.vmx stop

To reset VM/VPS, enter:
# vmware-cmd /nas/vms/FreeBSD/FreeBSD.vmx reset

To suspend VM/VPS, enter:
# vmware-cmd /nas/vms/FreeBSD/FreeBSD.vmx suspend

Find out if OpenBSD VM is on or off:
# vmware-cmd /disk2.vmware/vms/OpenBSD/OpenBSD.vmx getstate

getstate() = off

vmware-cmd offers other options, please consult VMWARE documentation for more information.

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Sir Geek July 3, 2007, 4:04 pm

    One minor problem with your 1st command to list the VMs. The command should be vmware-cmd -l

  • nixCraft July 3, 2007, 5:08 pm

    Sir Geek,

    Thanks for the heads up… post has been updated

  • Husain December 13, 2007, 2:14 pm

    I have installed VMWare Server 1.0.4 on RHEL5.1 64 bit version. When I try to power on a virtual machine the OS panics. I am not a linux expert so I have no idea as to how to deal with this issue. I do not have physical access to the server and remotely I was able to take a screenshot of the panic screen. The last line read “Kernel Panic – not syncing: Fatal exception”.

    Your help would be highly appreciated.

  • Mark Hentov February 26, 2008, 4:03 pm

    Hmm. After a reboot vmware seems not to be running. I can’t connect or start any virtual machines.
    What daemons need to be enabled with chkconfig? What modules need to load?

  • nixCraft February 26, 2008, 5:32 pm

    /etc/init.d/vmware start

    Did you upgraded kernel? If so you need to reconfigure vmware
    vmware-config.pl -d

  • Jay May 8, 2008, 5:57 pm

    Thank you!

    A friends server went down due to power failure and this info helped me solve the problem.

    Where can i get a complete list of such commands?

    oh and by the way, you still need to change the -1 to -l (L) because had he not have seen the error we would not have been able to use the info here. Also, please let people know that the information after # vmware-cmd /this/blah/blah is the path and will be different for all users

    Cheers and thanks again


  • Phil July 28, 2008, 2:17 pm

    vmware-cmd -?

  • Emil March 4, 2009, 6:56 am

    I’m running VMWare on a Fedora Server, and I would like to start/stop the virtual machines withouth VNC-ing to the server, from a terminal window. The thing is that I can’t find vmware-cmd anywhere. Where can I find that?

  • rmccurdy March 11, 2010, 1:09 pm

    batch file startup

    for /f “delims=” %%i IN (‘dir/s/b c:\rootwars\*.vmx’) do (
    “C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Server\vmware-cmd” -v “%%i” start

  • Shivaji June 17, 2010, 2:03 pm

    Hi Vivek,
    Thanks. This information helped me.

  • David August 12, 2010, 2:12 pm

    how can I restart a machine on vmware remotely?
    I mean I have a few vpss on Vmware in my server, now I’d like to restart it remotely from my pc.

  • anand mb December 3, 2010, 1:56 pm

    gud one.. any dumbo can understand.. keep sharing the knowlege & god bless.

    Anand MB

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