VMware – Copy Files from Datastore With Browser

Currently there are lots of problems with the VMware Web Client Integration Plugin as I have noted on LinkedIn. Facing this issue, and having a need to download some files from a datastore to preserve them, you can see a puzzle taking shape. What to do if Flash has crashed your browser(s), and/or the Client Integration Plugin isn’t working?  Maybe for some reason you also don’t have the fat client installed and you’re in the middle of an emergency?

Here is one workaround to easily move files off of a datastore without any fancy browser plug-ins.

  1. Hit one of your ESX hosts with a browser (doesn’t need Flash or CIP)
  2. You get the “VMware ESXi Welcome” (screenshot 1) default page where you download the fat client, and can access the documentation that is part of the ESXi install on every host.
  3. Over on the right, in that area you never read, you’ll see heading called “Web-Based Datastore Browser”. Click it.
  4. It will ask you to provide credentials; this will be the ESX host SSH credentials.
  5. Then you’ll be presented with an old school HTML rending showing all of the datastores configured on that ESXi host, and you can drill down into each datastore, to each VM, and download each individual file.

So, if you’re in a bind fighting browser issues, no fat client, and need files off of a datastore quick, remember this trick. Hit a host in any browser, click on Web-Basaed Datastore Browser and go to town.

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