How to kill an unresponsive VM with PowerCLI

Sometimes a VM is stuck and can’t be shutdown/rebooted with vSphere Client.

On ESX, you could login and use command kill –9 <PID> to kill the VM. Same can be done from PowerCLI also. This functionality has been added to PowerCLI in version 4.1 Update 1.

Open PowerCLI and connect directly to the Esxi host.

# Connect-VIServer -Server <Hostname> -Credential $(Get-Credential -Credential root)

It will ask you for the root password.


Fetch the ESXCLI object with the Get-ESXCLI cmdlet.

$esxcli = Get-EsxCli -Server <Hostname>

Run the following method of $esxcli to list all the running VMs and their World ID.

$esxcli.vms.vm.list() | Format-Table -Property DisplayName, WorldID 

Search the WorldID of the VM you want to kill and run the following command to kill the VM.

$esxcli.vms.vm.kill(“soft”, <WorldID>) 

If the above command reports back with true it means the VM was killed successfully.

If you get false, try replacing soft by hard and finally by force.  Use force only as a last resort.

If none of the above mentioned commands works then Esxi host reboot is the last option left.


About Manish Jha

Hi All I am Manish Kumar Jha aka Alex Hunt. I am currently working in VMware Software India Pvt Ltd as Operations System Engineer (vCloud Air Operations). I have around 5 Years of IT experience and have exposure on VMware vSphere, vCloud Director, RHEL and modern data center technologies like Cisco UCS and Cisco Nexus 1000v and NSX. If you find any post informational to you please press like and share it across social media and leave your comments if you want to discuss further on any post. Disclaimer: All the information on this website is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. I don’t make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information you find on this blog is strictly at your own risk. The Views and opinions published on this blog are my own and not the opinions of my employer or any of the vendors of the product discussed.
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