How to register and Unregister VM from vCenter

If some of your virtual machines managed by vCenter Server marked with “orphaned”, you may want to remove it from inventory or have vCenter recognize it. This article will show you the steps to unregister and register VM from vCenter inventory.


By Crystal / Updated on March 23, 2023

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What is vCenter Server

If you want an efficient tool to manage your multiple VMware ESXi hosts and a large amount of virtual machines, VMware vCenter Server is exactly what you need.

VMware vCenter Server is an official advanced server management software that provides a centralized platform for controlling your VMware vSphere environments, allowing you to automate and deliver a virtual infrastructure across the hybrid cloud.

VMware vCenter Server

A single vCenter Server instance can support a maximum of 1,000 hosts, 10,000 powered-on virtual machines and 15,000 registered virtual machines.

So, after you have created a new virtual machine, how to register a existing VM in vCenter and how to unregister VM from vCenter inventory? Next, This article will show you the detailed steps to unregister and register VM from vCenter.

How to unregister and register VM from vCenter

You may want to centrally manage the VMs created on standalone ESXi hosts to enjoy advanced features. Registering and unregistering VMs is be the first and one of the most basic steps to start it. Next, this part will show you how to unregister and register VM from vCenter GUI step by step.

How to register VM to vCenter Server Inventory

1. Log in to vCenter Server as root and select the target datastore where your VM files stored from the left inventory.

Select target datastore

2. Navigate to Files tab, and select and right-click on the VMX file of the target VM, select Register VM…

Register VM

3. From the pop-up window, provide a Name and Location for the VM to be registered. Click Next to continue.

Name and location

4. Select the Host/ Cluster on which to run this virtual machine.


5. Review all these settings and click Finish to start.

Ready to complete

How to unregister VM from vCenter

1. Log in to vCenter Server as root and select the target VM from the left inventory, power off the VM.

2. Right-click on the target VM and select Remove from Inventory option.

Remove from inventory

3. Select Yes to confirm remove the virtual machine.

Note: By selecting Delete from Disk option, you can remove the VM from inventory and delete the files from datastore.

Confirm remove

Batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server

If you think the licensing fee that vMotion costs is expensive, and zero downtime isn’t that important to you, then perhaps virtual machine backup is enough for your disaster recovery needs. For example, backup the running virtual machines and restore to another host.

Here I introduce you to a VMware backup software AOMEI Cyber Backup, it enables you to backup multiple running VMs either managed by vCenter Server, or on a standalone ESXi host and restore to another host.

Agentless Backup: create complete and independent image-level backup for running VMware ESXi VMs.
Flexible vSphere Backup: batch backup large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server, or multiple VMs on a standalone ESXi host.
Multiple Storage Destinations: backup to a local drive, or network destinations like NAS.
Automated Execution: create backup schedules to automate backups daily, weekly, or monthly.
Restore Entire VM: restore instant available VMs from any selected restore points to an original or new location.

AOMEI Cyber Backup supports both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi 6.0 and later versions. Next, I will show you how to batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server with AOMEI Cyber Backup in 3 simple steps.

You can click the following button to download the 30-day free trial.

Download Free TrialVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

4 Steps to batch backup vCenter VMs and restore to another location

1. Bind Devices: Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, navigate to Source Device > VMware > + Add VMware Device to Add vCenter or Standalone ESXi host. And then click > Bind Device.

Add VMware ESXi host

2. Create Backup Task: Navigate to Backup Task > + Create New Task, and select VMware ESXi Backup as the Backup Type.

3. Set the Task Name, Device, Target, Schedule and Cleanup as needed.

  • Task Name: you can change the task name or use the default name with an ordinal.
  • Device: batch select large numbers of VMs managed by vCenter Server for centralized backup.

Select virtual machines vCenter

  • Target: select to back up to a local path, or to a network path like NAS.
  • Schedule (optional): perform full, differential, or incremental backup, and automate execution according to the frequency you specified.
  • Cleanup (optional): automatically delete the old backup copies that exceed the retention period you specified.

4. Run Backup: Now you can click Start Backup and select Add the schedule and start backup now, or Add the schedule only.

Start Backup

Created backup tasks will be listed and monitored separately for restoring, progress checking and schedule changing.

When restoring, you can also restore to new location to create a new VM in the same or another datastore/host directly from the backup, saving the trouble of re-configuring the new VM.


vCenter Server offers the ability to centrally manage a large number of virtual machines on ESXi hosts. This article showed the steps of a basic operation you will often perform on vCenter, unregister and register VM from vCenter.

By using Remove from Inventory option, you can remove orphaned VM from vCenter. However, this operation cannot delete the VM files stored on datastore. You can select Delete from Disk option if you want to delete it.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.