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As written in a previous post, starting from vSphere 5.0U1 in a HA cluster the VM Startup & Shutdown ESXi host properties is disabled.

Anyway wasn’t supported, because according with the vSphere Avalability Guide and also the KB 850 (Automating the process of starting and stopping virtual machines on VMware ESX):

The Virtual Machine Startup and Shutdown (automatic startup) feature is disabled for all virtual machines residing on hosts that are in (or moved into) a vSphere HA cluster. Automatic startup is not supported when used with vSphere HA.

So, how it’s possible handle a correct poweron and shutdown sequence of your infrastructure?

The only simple way is handle it through scripts (or using the UPS framework if it has something specific for VMware vSphere).


With PowerCLI you can use Shutdown-VMGuest and Start-VM as in those examples:

  • VM Shutdown script
    Connect-VIServer vCenterServer
    Get-VM | Where { $_.PowerState -eq "poweredOn" } | Shutdown-VMGuest -Confirm:$false
  • VM Startup script
    Connect-VIServer vCenterServer
    Get-VM | Start-VM -Confirm -RunAsync

Of course this could not work if your vCenter Server is virtual and it’s not running. Also a better approach could be read the VMware HA priority level for each VM and shutdown or startup it according to its priority.

Finally there is the need to manage in the right way the ESXi hosts power management.


Virtualization, Cloud and Storage Architect. Tech Field delegate. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert 2010-24. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014-15. Microsoft MVP 2014-16. Veeam Vanguard 2015-23. Nutanix NTC 2014-20. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.