Recently, it came to our attention that a defect was identified in the VMware vSphere HTML5 User Interface on VMware 6.5 and above. Simply put, if a VM folder is selected and you choose Remove from Inventory, VMware processes this as a recursive delete operation in the backend.
We quickly started testing this on lab systems and found that powered-on VMs will error out, but powered-off VMs will truly be deleted. This is a very unfortunate labeling issue, and we are confident VMware will remedy this in a quick manner. All in all, this is a significant edge case that we couldn’t predict or avoid but don’t truly expect customers to be encountering.
VMware should simply re-label this menu item to Delete Folder or something very similar, and there are mentions of a KB that we haven’t seen posted yet.
We were first notified via this reddit post. If there is any way that we can assist you as you navigate this process, please feel free to reach out.