Knowledge Base

The VMware Knowledge Base provides support solutions, error messages and troubleshooting guides
Search the VMware Knowledge Base (KB)   View by Article ID

Converting a linked clone virtual machine to a full clone virtual machine (1026753)


You may want to convert a linked clone virtual machine to a full clone virtual machine in these scenarios:
  • The virtual machine that has important information in the C: drive and on the user data disk does not power on and you do not want to recompose
  • When you view the virtual machine from a datastore browser, the replica disk is missing
  • When you connect to the host via command line, the -flat.vmdk file of the virtual machine exists but the .vmdk descriptor file does not exist or is corrupted
This article provides the steps to convert a linked clone virtual machine into a full clone virtual machine.


To convert a linked clone virtual machine to a full clone virtual machine:  

  1. Recreate the damaged or corrupted virtual disk descriptor file (.vmdk). For more information, see Recreating a missing virtual disk (VMDK) header/descriptor file (1002511).

  2. Check the linked clone descriptor file and verify that the Parent CID is the same as the CID in the descriptor file of the replica virtual machine.

  3. If the CIDs match, run this command from the command line to c lone the virtual machine:

    vmkfstools –i linked-clone.vmdk full-clone.vmdk

    This commits the snapshot from the linked clone virtual machine into the full clone.

  4. Create a new virtual machine using the cloned disk as the base disk. For more information, see Recovery of a lost or deleted virtual machine configuration file .vmx on an ESXi/ESX host (1002294).

  5. Copy the user's data disk associated with the linked clone to the folder of the new clone.

  6.  Add a new hard disk to the virtual machine and specify the user data disk you just copied.

  7. From the Edit Settings tab, remove the CD drive before powering on the virtual machine. Otherwise, the CD drive may be detected before the user data disk. This may break the profile redirection if the data disk gets the incorrect drive letter.

  8. Power on the virtual machine and recover any necessary user information. You can also create a manual pool, entitle the user, and allow the user to login.

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


  • 46 Ratings

Did this article help you?
This article resolved my issue.
This article did not resolve my issue.
This article helped but additional information was required to resolve my issue.
What can we do to improve this information? (4000 or fewer characters)
  • 46 Ratings