Home > Storage, VMware, vSphere > Hot Remove a hard disk from a Virtual Machine on vSphere 4.1

Hot Remove a hard disk from a Virtual Machine on vSphere 4.1

Hot Adding hard disks has been around since the stone ages on VMware platforms.  As from vSphere 4.1, you can also Hot Remove a hard disk (VMDK and RDMs!) from a Virtual Machines.  This means that there is no downtime for the Virtual Machine and no reboot is necessary!

In my opinion this is a huge improvement and quite a benefit.

You have to be carefull however to remove/disable/uninstall/whatever the hard disk inside the VM first to make sure that the VM is not affected.

The remove operation is not a big deal for vSphere, but if your VM is still accessing that disk, things might get ugly inside the VM…  (just think of a physical Windows box and disappearing SAN connection 🙂 ).

Let’s see how to Hot Remove a hard disk for a Windows Server 2008 R2.  This method works from Windows 2000 and higher but the screenshots might differ.

Our VM has a hard disk of 5 GB we no longer use…


All data is deleted from it and we want to get rid of it.

First, fire up Server Manager and go StorageDisk Management.


Our Disk will be shown.


Right-Click the Partition (RemoveMe in this example) and select Delete Volume.


Click Yes to delete the partition.


Right-Click the Disk 1 entry and select Properties.


Open the Driver tab and click the Uninstall button.


Click OK to Uninstall the device.


Open the Edit Settings screen of the VM.  Select the Hard Disk and click Remove.


Select Remove from virtual machine and delete files from disk.


That’s it!  You disk is removed without downtime!

Categories: Storage, VMware, vSphere
  1. T2K
    March 7, 2011 at 20:00

    all good if there are no open files (pagefile) on the disk 😉

    • March 7, 2011 at 20:57

      Agreed 🙂

    • Umesh
      February 26, 2013 at 15:50

      What happens if the disk having page file is removed in windows 2008 R2?

      • April 14, 2013 at 19:54

        Don’t thinks that’s really healthy 🙂

        You need a page file anyway for Windows to dump a kernel dump when it crashes…

  2. Suresh
    October 4, 2011 at 10:44

    This script just pulls off the Hard disk while the VM is powered on. Brute-force method 😀

    $vmName = “MyVM”
    $hdName = “Hard disk 3”

    $vm = Get-VM $vmName | Get-View
    $tgtdev = $vm.Config.Hardware.Device | where {$_.DeviceInfo.Label -eq $hdName}
    $dev = New-Object VMware.Vim.VirtualDeviceConfigSpec
    $dev.operation = “remove”
    $dev.device = $tgtdev
    $spec = New-Object VMware.Vim.VirtualMachineConfigSpec
    $spec.DeviceChange += $dev

  3. vpert
    April 26, 2012 at 07:25

    Does this also remove the disk from the VM configuration?

    • May 2, 2012 at 08:43

      You do this ‘manually’ in the last two screenshots. This will remove the vmdk file from the datastore and detach it from the VM.

      • vpert
        May 2, 2012 at 11:24

        Thx for your reply – so it’s different from the remove of a network adapter, which it also removes from the VM configuration.

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