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Consolidating snapshots in VMware Fusion (1020000)

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  • When starting a virtual machine, you see one of these warnings:

    • VMware has paused this virtual machine because the disk on which the virtual machine is stored is almost full. To continue, free up at least [X] GB of disk space.

    • This virtual machine has more than 100 snapshots in a single branch of its snapshot tree. If you take more snapshots of this virtual machine in this branch, the guest operating system may not boot again. You should either delete some snapshots or make a full clone of the virtual machine.

  • When deleting snapshots, you see the warning:

    Unable to clean up deleted files. There is not enough space on the file system for the selected operation.

  • You cannot see all of your snapshots in the Snapshots Manager.

  • VMware Fusion says that your virtual disk has snapshots, but you cannot see any.


Caution: This article assumes familiarity with how snapshots work. For more information on snapshots, see Understanding snapshots and AutoProtect in VMware Fusion (1014509).

The most likely reason for running out of disk space (if you have not recently saved any large files to your computer) is that one or more snapshots have grown too large. If this occurs, you have three options:

  1. Make more space.
  2. Automatically consolidate snapshots
  3. Manually consolidate your snapshots

Option 1: Make more space

This option may be the easiest, and it does not involve any changes to your virtual machine. If you are running out of disk space, you can:

  • Delete data to free up disk space.
  • Use an external hard drive (for example, a USB or Firewire drive) to store extra data and/or your virtual machine.

Fusion can regain the space currently taken by your snapshots and bring your virtual machine back to the size you originally allocated, but it needs the extra space to do so to ensure that no data is lost.

Option 2: Automatically consolidate snapshots

If you cannot see any or all of your snapshots in the Snapshot Manager, allow Fusion to consolidate your snapshots. This succeeds if you have sufficient disk space. Otherwise, you see an error.

To have Fusion consolidate your snapshots:

  1. Take a snapshot.

    Note: This is faster and uses less space, if you do it while the virtual machine is not running.

  2. Delete the snapshot.

This consolidates all of your snapshots into your main disk. If you do not have enough disk space to do this, use option 3.

Option 3: Manually consolidate snapshots

If you cannot see any or all of your snapshots in the Snapshot Manager, and you do not have sufficient disk space for Fusion to consolidate them, you must consolidate your snapshots manually.

To manually consolidate snapshots:

  1. Check the size of the virtual machine.
  2. Determine which snapshot Fusion is currently using.
  3. Consolidate all snapshots.
  4. Point the virtual machine to the new file.
  5. Run a final check.

Checking the virtual machine size

Fusion requires approximately the same amount of free space as the size of the virtual machine bundle to regain the disk space.

To check the size of the virtual machine bundle:

  1. Find your virtual machine bundle. For more information, see Locating the virtual machine bundle in VMware Fusion (1007599).
  2. Right-click the virtual machine bundle and choose Get Info. The file size appears in the top-right corner.

If you cannot free up sufficient space on your Mac, move your virtual machine bundle to the external drive now. After moving your virtual machine, you need to re-open it in Fusion to use it in the new location.

Determining the current virtual disk

You have to determine which snapshot Fusion is currently using.

To determine the snapshot that Fusion is using:

  1. Open Fusion.
  2. Go to Virtual Machine > Settings....
  3. Click Hard Disks.
  4. Make a note of the .vmdk file listed in the Filename: field.

If the file name is too long to fit in the field, check the virtual machine settings file ( .vmx) for this information instead.

To check the .vmx file:

  1. Open your .vmx file. For more information, see Editing the .vmx file for your VMware Fusion virtual machine (1014782).
  2. Find the line that is similar to:

    scsi0:0.fileName = "Virtual machine name.vmdk"


    ide0:0.fileName= "Virtual machine name.vmdk"
The file name in quotation marks is the snapshot currently used by Fusion.

Consolidating all snapshots

To consolidate data from the snapshot(s) and from the main virtual disk, use the command-line utility vmware-vdiskmanager to create a new virtual disk.

To create a new virtual disk:

  1. Open Terminal (found in /Applications/Utilities).
  2. Copy and paste this text into Terminal:

    • In Fusion 4.x and later:

      cd /Applications/VMware\

    • In Fusion 3.x and earlier:

      cd /Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Fusion

  3. Press Return.
  4. Copy and paste this text into Terminal:

    ./vmware-vdiskmanager -r

  5. From your virtual machine bundle, drag the current virtual disk file (the file name determined above) into the Terminal window. This copies the location of the file into Terminal.
  6. Copy and paste this text into Terminal:

    -t 1

  7. Press the spacebar.
  8. Enter a new (temporary) location for the virtual disk, followed by a forward slash ( /), and enter a new file name (for example, NewDisk.vmdk).

    Note: The name must end with .vmdk . Any spaces in the file name must be preceded by backslashes ( \).

    Example: If you copy and paste this into Terminal, it creates a disk called NewDisk on your desktop:


    Note: If you do not have enough space on your desktop to create the new virtual disk, you can create it on the external drive. Drag a folder from the external drive into Terminal to generate the correct path. The path and file name are similar to this:

    /Volumes/My\ USB\ Drive/Virtual\ Machine/NewDisk.vmdk

  9. The command in the Terminal windows is now similar to this:

    ./vmware-vdiskmanager -r /Users/yourname/Documents/Virtual\ Machines.localized/Windows\ XP\ Professional.vmwarevm/Windows\ XP\ Professional.vmdk -t 1 ~/Desktop/NewDisk.vmdk


    ./vmware-vdiskmanager -r /Users/yourname/Documents/Virtual\ Machines.localized/Windows\ XP\ Professional.vmwarevm/Windows\ XP\ Professional.vmdk -t 1 /Volumes/My\ USB\ Drive/Virtual\ Machine/NewDisk.vmdk

  10. Press Return.

    A message that says Converting... followed by a percentage appears. The length of the process varies depending on the size of the virtual machine.

Pointing the virtual machine to the new file

After the snapshots have been consolidated, you need to use the new virtual disk. The easiest way to do this is to make a new virtual machine that uses the new virtual disk you have just created (which has all of the information from your old virtual disk and all of the snapshots).

To make a new virtual machine that uses the new virtual disk, refer to  Creating a virtual machine from an existing virtual disk in VMware Fusion (1023555)

Running a final check

After powering on the new virtual machine, compare it with the old virtual machine and ensure that nothing is missing. If you see any files or folders missing, you may have neglected to re-enable Shared Folders or Mirrored Folders. For more information, see Sharing a folder from your Mac to a virtual machine (1004055) and Setting up mirrored folders for your Mac and virtual machine (1014127). Alternatively, you may not have selected the correct snapshot (the current virtual disk) when consolidating. Confirm the above steps.

When you are satisfied with the new virtual machine, delete the old virtual machine. For details, see Deleting a virtual machine in Fusion (1003420).

Additional Information

Ensure to have enough free space on the hard disk to erase snapshot. The application required additional working space to delete and commit the snapshots to the main base virtual disk.

It is recommended to run a repair on the virtual disk file (.vmdk) before starting consolidation. For more information, see Repairing a sparse virtual disk in Fusion (1023888)

For more information on the vmware-vdiskmanager command, see the Virtual Disk Manager User's Guide.

See Also

Update History

09/15/2011 - Added Fusion 4.x information. 08/23/2012 - Added Fusion 5.x to Product Versions. 09/09/2013 - Added VMware Fusion 6.x to Product Versions. 08/20/2014 - Updated for Fusion 7.x

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.


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