How to find and delete "User objects"

esxi:6.5, vCenter7.03, 3 hosts in vsan clueter.



I can't find these files in my vsan datastore, I want to delete these files. How?


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6 Replies
VMware Employee
VMware Employee

you may use the PowerCLi code on the KB attached to query such objects that are not associated with VMs

once those objects are identified as un-associated or defunct,  contact VMware Global Support for guideance on how to remove these objects 



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Now, I have identified these Unassociated objects. How to delete? 

My vSphere out of service, and I can't get support from vmware. Can I delete them myself?

Files like this:

Object class: vdisk
Object path: /vmfs/volumes/vsan:529a91afd529d85c-1c70cf321fb9ec2b/Z-VRA-

From esxi cli command "ls", can't find the folder:   ../d0272746/vm225/..

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VMware Employee
VMware Employee

there are some example blog posts online you can search that document an internal vSAN tool called "objtool"  to permanently remove the objects that are defunct on your system,

Using this tool incorrectly can be quite destructive (and irreversable) and will result in data loss if the component has not been verified to be safe to remove beforehand

As a VMware employee its my responsability to advise you to check with support before  to make sure you are running it correctly and do not cause irreparable damage on actual data you want to retain..

you can also purchase a pay per Incident support  if you;ve run out of support




Thanks a lot. I got it.

The vsandatastore is a test enviroment. I use "objtool" delete these objects.

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VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Just a note of caution for anyone that comes across this post and is considering deleting stuff:

"Object path: /vmfs/volumes/vsan:529a91afd529d85c-1c70cf321fb9ec2b/Z-VRA-"

This Object has a non-standard path e.g. it was created in a sub-folder of a namespace - some 2nd-party/3rd-party applications temporarily create descriptors like this and then relocate them after - this can have implications with lookup/known-path of the descriptors and can result in Objects showing as 'Missing' in 'esxcli vsan debug object list' output and also show as unassociated Objects.


Thus, I would advise proceeding with extreme caution before deleting such Objects in case they are actually in use and the lookup of the Objects is incorrect (e.g. it is in use but pointed to from somewhere else).


I've been kind of struggling with the same thing. On a production cluster under my responsibility I found a total of 365 unassociated objects and wrote a Python script to check them with ease. It is a VDI cluster so I suspect a some kind of race between App Volumes and Horizon when it comes to deleting an ephemeral VM and its associated disks considering also Appvolumes REDO vmdks. Least that's my guess for the possible cause.

Two cases were easy to delete. First was empty VM namespaces i.e. a VM namespace object with only VMFS metadata files present. The other was vdisk objects when there was not anymore corresponding osfs file present. The former cases I deleted by calling osfs-rmdir and latter with objtool delete. 222/365 of objects were either of these and I got easily rid of. However the cases that remained were namespaces with files and vdisks that still had their osfs file association present. I couldn't figure out what would be the correct action or order of actions to delete these.

The script is this:

#!/usr/bin/env python
Remove vsan orphaned objects with rudimentary intelligence and user control
First argument is the list to process
Author: perttu.maatta@h*******.fi
Public domain

Script assumes following the vsanobj metadata
   "Object type":"vsan", 
   "Object size":"273804165120", 
   "Allocation type":"Thin", 
   "Policy":"((\"stripeWidth\" i1) (\"cacheReservation\" i0) (\"proportionalCapacity\" (i0 i100)) (\"hostFailuresToTolerate\" i1) (\"spbmProfileId\" \"818c0891-b8cc-45aa-9ab9-d1e070c3e68e\") (\"spbmProfileGenerationNumber\" l+0) (\"objectVersion\" i15) (\"CSN\" l1258) (\"SCSN\" l1247) (\"spbmProfileName\" \"VM_HOME_6984ae27-1af1-4bcf-a58b-7218dfcf6982\"))", 
   "Object class":"vmnamespace", 
   "Object capabilities":"NONE", 
   "Object path":"/vmfs/volumes/vsan:521bea82245708eb-f874cefcb89cf014/vdi-win1", 
   "Group uuid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000", 
   "Container uuid":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000", 
   "User friendly name":"vdi-win1", 
   "HA metadata":"(null)", 
   "Filesystem type":"vmfs6d" 
import sys
import subprocess as subp
import json
from datetime import datetime
from pathlib import Path

OSFSPATH = '/usr/lib/vmware/osfs/bin'
OBJTOOL = '/'.join([OSFSPATH,'objtool'])
LS = '/'.join([OSFSPATH,'osfs-ls'])
RMDIR = '/'.join([OSFSPATH,'osfs-rmdir'])
VMFSMETADATA = {'.fbb.sf', '.fdc.sf', '.pbc.sf', '.sbc.sf', '.vh.sf', '.pb2.sf', '.sdd.sf', '.jbc.sf', ''}

logfile = None

def logAction(jsonObj, isEmpty, exists, isDeleted):
  # header: uuid, class, path, empty(VM namespaces), exists in filesystem (vDisk), deleted
  datarow = [ jsonObj['UUID'], jsonObj['Object class'], jsonObj['Object path'], str(isEmpty), str(exists), str(isDeleted) ]  
  if logfile is not None:

def pUuid(uuid):
  p = subp.Popen([OBJTOOL,'getAttr','-u',uuid,'--format','JSON'],stdout=subp.PIPE,stderr=subp.PIPE)
  stdout, stderr = p.communicate()
  if p.returncode > 0: 
  jsonObj = json.loads(stdout)
  if jsonObj['Object class'] == 'vmnamespace':
  elif jsonObj['Object class'] == 'vdisk': 
    print(f"skipping object class {jsonObj['Object class']}")

# processes VMnamespace type objects
def pVMnamespace(jsonObj):
  # checking directory contents
  path = jsonObj['Object path']
  p = subp.Popen([LS, path],stdout=subp.PIPE,stderr=subp.PIPE)
  stdout, stderr = p.communicate()
  items = set(stdout.decode('utf8').split('\n'))
  print("number of files and folders (including vmfs-metadata) in %s: %d" % (path, (len(items)-1)))
  leftovers= list(items - VMFSMETADATA)
  if len(leftovers) == 0:
    print("%s has only VMFS-metadata" % path)
    isEmpty = True
    if question():
      isDeleted = True
    print("data files: %s" % " ".join(leftovers))
    isEmpty = False
    isDeleted = False
  logAction(jsonObj, isEmpty, '', isDeleted)  

# processes vDisk type objects
def pVdisk(jsonObj):
  if Path(jsonObj['Object path']).exists():
    # if object exists as a file in a VM namespace, what is the correct delete action then?
    print(f"object {jsonObj['Object path']} exists as accessible osfs file, lets skip it")
    logAction(jsonObj, '', True, False)
  print(f"object {jsonObj['Object path']} doesn't exist as an accessible osfs file")
  isDeleted = False
  if question():
    isDeleted = True
  logAction(jsonObj, '', False, isDeleted)  

def question():
  dObj = None
  while(dObj != "y" and dObj != "n"):
    dObj = input("delete object [y|n]")
  return dObj == "y"

def rmdir(dir):[RMDIR,dir])

def rmObject(uuid):
  p = subp.Popen([OBJTOOL,'delete','-u',uuid],stdout=subp.PIPE,stderr=subp.PIPE)
  stdout, stderr = p.communicate()
  print(f"stdout:{stdout.decode()}\nstderr: {stderr.decode()}")

if __name__ == '__main__':
  if len(sys.argv) != 2:
  logprefix ='%Y-%m-%d-%H-%M-%S')
  logfile = open(logprefix + '-vsancleanup.log', 'w')
  logfile.write('uuid, class, path, empty(VM namespaces), exists in filesystem (vDisk), deleted\n')
  filename = sys.argv[1]
  file = open(filename,'r') 
  for l in file:
    print("handling uuid %s" % l, end="")


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