[Guide] How to Properly Delete Datastore from vCenter

If one of your datastores managed by vCenter is inactive or inaccessible, you may want to remove it form the inventory. This article will show you the proper steps for vCenter delete datastore without unexpected data loss.


By Crystal / Updated on February 2, 2023

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Case: What are the correct steps for vCenter delete datastore?


Hello mates, I would like to know what are the correct steps to remove inactive datastore from vCenter without losing any data, I use vCenter 6.5. Thank you for your help.

- Question from communities.vmware.com

VMware’s Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) stores virtual machine files in storage containers called datastores, and with vCenter Server you can centrally manage multiple datastores and virtual machines.

Sometimes you may want to delete a datastore that you no longer need, or remove inactive datastore from vCenter. However, the delete operation for the datastore permanently deletes all files associated with virtual machines on the datastore, thus may cause data loss if not well prepared. So, what are the correct steps for vCenter delete datastore?

This article will show you the correct steps on how to delete a datastore. Before you start, please remember to backup VMware ESXi VMs or migrate them to another active datastore. Backup is always the most simple and practical way to avoid data loss.

vCenter inactive datastore

Batch backup VMs managed by vCenter before deletion

You may already know that it is necessary to perform image-based backup of large amounts of VMs managed by vCenter Server, however, vCenter Server does not provide the feature of virtual machine backup. And that makes backup software a commonly accepted choice.

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

Agentless Backup: create complete and independent image-level backup for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V 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 local drive, or network destinations like NAS.
Automated Execution: create backup schedules to automate backups daily, weekly, monthly.
Email Notification: send email notification when the task is completed or abnormal.
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
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*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

3 Steps to batch backup VMs managed by vCenter Server

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.

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

Restore to new location vCenter

The steps on how VMware/vCenter delete datastore

When you delete a datastore, it is destroyed and disappears from all hosts that have access to the datastore. Therefore, it is necessary to back up or migrate all the VMs from the datastore.

In addition, although you can delete the datastore without unmounting, it is preferable that you unmount the datastore first, and then disable the Storage DRS, Storage I/O, make sure that the datastore is not sued for vSphere HA heartbearting.

VMware delete datastore steps:

1. Login to your vCenter Server by Administrator account. Right-click on the target datastore and then select Unmount Datastore…

Select unmount datastore

2. It will pop up a wizard list the hosts which have the datastore mounted. Select the target host and click OK. The progress will show in Recent Tasks.

Unmount datastore from

3. Then you still need to detach the LUN from all the hosts that uses it one by one. Navigate to the target host > Configure > Storage Devices, select the target drive and click Detach.

Note: vSphere 7 and later versions allow you to detach a LUN from multiple ESXi hosts simultaneously.

Detach LUN

4. You can see the detached LUN is removed from inventory by clicking Rescan Storage…


VMware vCenter Server is an advanced software that centrally manage the vSphere environment. If one of the datastore managed by vCenter is inactive, you may want to remove inactive datastore from vCenter, or just delete the datastore you no longer need. This article briefly showed the steps on how VMware/vCenter delete datastore safely.

Datastore deletion is a risky operation, please remember to back up the data, disable the Storage DRS and Storage I/O in advance. For VM backup, you can try AOMEI Cyber Backup, an efficient backup software that allows you to batch backup a large amount of VMs managed by vCenter.

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.