VMFS Recovery™
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files

ESXi Recovery Mode: All You Need to Know

Here you will find out:

  • what is ESXi recovery mode
  • precautions you need to know
  • how DiskInternals can help you

Are you ready? Let's read!

What is VMware ESXi?

VMware ESXi is the latest hypervisor, which does not depend on the operating system. With this hypervisor, you can start your production environment in minutes with minimal configuration requirements. VMware ESXi delivers the same high performance and scalability as its predecessor, VMware ESX, taking up only 32 MB.

VMware ESXi works with standard monitoring protocols and is easily managed using VMware vSphere Client.

Several versions of this hypervisor are available:

  • VMware ESXi Installable
  • VMware ESXi Embedded Edition

Naturally, VMware ESXi has been repeatedly updated and improved for the benefit of customers; thus it has many versions, the last of which is ESXi 6.

VMware ESXi recovery mode: what is it?

VMware ESXi recovery

When loading the host, you can see an interesting option: the ability to restore ESXi.

This is for when some kind of failure occurred; using this function, you will be taken to the previous hypervisor without any problems. It is clear that if you have only one existing hypervisor, this function is useless. However, in any case, it is necessary to launch the recovery mode with extreme caution; if necessary, it is better not to touch it at all. All these warnings come from previous user experience since the recovery mode is not perfect and requires some modifications.

For example, a full recovery of the previous version does not always occur; some errors remain, and sometimes important settings are even forgotten. Therefore, first, think about whether to use recovery mode for ESXi and be careful.


Based on the above, if you still decide to use recovery mode for ESXi, be sure to take care of backing up your hypervisor configuration.

Moreover, it should be remembered that the full restoration of the previous hypervisor can be done with a certain upgrade using VMware Update Manager or with ISO.

If these conditions are met, the recovery process should go well.

Use ESXi recovery mode or get your previous ESXi version

If there are certain problems with the host — it crashes or slows down and you are afraid to use the recovery mode — you can try to roll back the host to the previous version; that is, the version before the update. Again, after that, you simply won’t be able to return to the updated version; the update will need to be done again with all the ensuing circumstances.

So, to return back: reboot a host from DCUI and enter "reboot" at the command line. When the recovery screen appears, you need to press the Y key; this action will transfer you to the previous version.

DiskInternals VMFS Recovery

Use VMFS Recovery to recover files from ESXi. This application has been helping customers for over 15 years and has only positive recommendations.

The application reads and restores any information from any disks with the VMFS file system. In addition, it is possible to restore VMDK files in ESXi / ESX servers. An unobtrusive and at the same time useful Recovery Wizard will help you work with the application. Any virtual disk can be mounted as local disks. When recovering data, all Windows restrictions are circumvented, and of course, there is Unicode support.

Use this VMFS Recovery guide to quickly start the process:

After installing the application on the computer, open the Recovery Wizard and select the object to scan, and then select the scan mode:

  • Quick recovery
  • Full recovery (recommended)

The software automatically checks the current state of VMFS data stores, RAID (if used), volumes, and disks. It also reads VMDK files, as well as the VMFS structure, where possible.

After previewing, you can get a license at any time and export the data.

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