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Tips for repairing the VMDK file for a crashed Workstation or GSX Server guest on a Windows host (2016)

Details

My guest operating system crashed and now won't start. Is there a way I can repair the disk descriptor file (.vmdk) so that the guest boots again and I can rescue my data?

Solution

Note: This article applies only to the product versions listed. For Workstation 7.x, see Repairing a virtual disk in Fusion 3.1 and Workstation 7.1 (1023856).

Note:
The information in this article is for advanced users or system administrators only.

Warning: If the VMDK file (.vmdk) for your guest operating system is corrupted, we cannot guarantee that you can repair the file and rescue your data. Your safest course of action is to call VMware Technical Support for help. If you decide to try to rescue the file yourself, we offer some tips for you here.

When you power on a virtual machine after it has crashed, Workstation and GSX Server attempt a basic repair during the startup process. The VMware software checks the disks and fixes inconsistencies found on the them.

If there are severe errors in the .vmdk file, Workstation or GSX Server cannot mount the disk. When your .vmdk file is in this state, you should:

  1. Consider restoring the file from your backup.
  2. If you don't have a backup or cannot restore the backup for some reason, try installing the VMware diskmount utility on your host machine. For instructions, see Downloading and Using the VMware Diskmount Utility below.
  3. If you succeed in mounting the .vmdk file, copy the data to a new virtual disk as soon as possible.

For more information about this topic, and for a link to a virtual disk driver that may also help you if the VMware diskmount utility does not, see the user solutions area of the VMTN Discussion Forums at www.vmware.com/community/thread.jspa?threadID=29538.

Downloading and Using the VMware Diskmount Utility

Download the VMware diskmount utility to your Windows host from http://www.vmware.com/download/eula/diskmount_ws_v55.html . Be sure to read the EULA carefully before using this utility, as VMware will not provide any support services under this agreement. For additional information see http://www.vmware.com/pdf/VMwareDiskMount.pdf.

A newer version of the diskmount utility for both Windows and Linux is available in the Virtual Disk Development Kit: http://www.vmware.com/support/developer/vddk/

Make the corrupted .vmdk file available to the Windows machine and try to mount the disk. To do this:

  1. Install the driver using the installer.
  2. Change to the directory where you installed the driver.
  3. Run the two following commands:
    1. vmware-mount /p

      This command shows the partitions and volumes within the .vmdk file. Determine which partition to mount. In the following example, this partition appears as N.

    2. vmware-mount /v:N R: diskfile.vmdk

      Substitute N with the partition determined in the previous step. Replace diskfile.vmdk with the name of your .vmdk file.

      The partition may be a local or a network drive. Accessing the.vmdk file through a local drive is the safest action. In this situation, the disk is mounted as drive R.

 
Additional Information:
 
For translated versions of this article, see:

Tags

corrupt-virtual-disk  how-to  virtual-disks

Keywords

2016; urlz

Update History

03/25/2011 - Added link to modern version of this article.

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