Search the VMware Knowledge Base (KB)
View by Article ID

Recreating a corrupt or missing VMDK header/descriptor on hosted products (1015634)

  • 15 Ratings


The VMDK header/descriptor file for a virtual machine may be corrupt if you see the following errors when powering on the virtual machine: 
  • Failed to open disk.
  • The file specified is not a virtual disk (15) 3023.
  • Cannot open the disk or one of the snapshot disks it depends on.
  • The file specified is not a virtual disk


To resolve this issue, you have to recreate the VMDK header/descriptor file.
If the virtual machine is using persistent disks, see Recreating a missing virtual disk (VMDK) header/descriptor file (1002511). 
On products such as VMware Workstation and VMware Server, you need to use the vmware-vdiskmanager utility to create a new disk of the same type and size of the -flat.vmdk file.
In Windows, this utility is located in the install directory of VMware Server or VMware Workstation (C:/Program Files/VMware/).
To recreate the VMDK header/descriptor file:
  1. If you are using Windows, locate the utility in the install directory of VMware Server or VMware Workstation (C:/Program Files/VMware/).
  2. Run the command:

    vmware-vdiskmanager.exe <create disk> <size> <adapter> <disk-type> <path>

    For example, to create a 20 GB persistent size disk for use with Windows Server 2003 on the e: drive, run the command:

    vmware-vdiskmanager.exe -c -s 20GB -a lsilogic -t 2 "e:\newdisk.vmdk"

    Note: For more information about vmware-vdiskmanager.exe, consult the Linux man page (man vmware-vdiskmanager) or Windows Help (vmware-vdiskmanager /?).
  3. Copy the new VMDK descriptor file to the folder where the problematic virtual machine is located, and edit the flat file to which it points so it has the correct name. 

Additional Information

For further information regarding the vmware-vdiskmanager utility, see the Virtual Disk Manager User's Guide.

See Also

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.


  • 15 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)

Please enter the Captcha code before clicking Submit.
  • 15 Ratings