Linked clone VirtualMachines share their base disks with their parent virtual machine. Only changes (delta) are stored in the childs virtual disks. These results in two major benefits:

  • Fast Provisioning time
  • Space savings


However, linked clones have some limitations:

  • Diskspace cannot be adjusted
  • Performance impact – Depending on storage cache

The following PowerCLI snippets will promote all virtual disks or a specific virtual disk of a linked clone to a full clone.



  • Linked Clone – PoweredOff or Suspended state
  • Enough free space on the Virtual Machine homedirectory
  • vCenter Server

The vSphere SDK allows the promotion of the disks. So here is the link to the promoteDisks method documentation

PowerCli lets you access SDK Methods using the get-view Cmdlet or extensiondata property.

1. Check method on VM Object.

#List availabe methods on VM View object:
$BaseVM.ExtensionData | gm -MemberType method

2. Create Linked clone based on snapshot “SnapBase” on source VM

#Create reference snapshot for linked clone
$BaseSnapshot = Get-Snapshot -vm $BaseVM -Name SnapBase
$LinkedVM = New-VM -Name HotzenplotzLC -LinkedClone -ReferenceSnapshot $BaseSnapshot -vm $BaseVM -VMHost $BaseVM.VMHost
$Disks = $LinkedVM | get-Harddisk

2a. Promote all disks

# Verify current Backing
FileName : [DS] Hotzenplotz/Hotzenplotz.vmdk
# Promote all disks
$LinkedVM.ExtensionData.PromoteDisks($true, $null);
$Disks = $LinkedVM| Get-Harddisk
# no parent disk anymore

2b. Promote individual disks:

# List Individual disk keys:
$Disks | % { $_.extensiondata.Key }
$Disk = $disks | ?{ $_.extensiondata.key -eq '2001'}
$LinkedVM.ExtensionData.PromoteDisks($true, $disk.extensionData );

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