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Using a Physical/Raw disk as a primary or secondary drive on VMware Workstation (2046678)

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  • Unable to use a Physical/Raw disk as a Primary/Secondary drive on a virtual machine.
  • When using a Physical/Raw Partition as a virtual machine, you see the message:

    Physical Disk is already in use.


This article provides steps to correctly add a Physical/Raw disk.


When the Physical Disk of host is referenced by others (for example, if the file is open or there are processes referring a file in the current physical disk or partition), it tries to dismount the volume first. However, there are files referenced in current physical disk or partition, and the open-disk status makes the operation fail.

For issues faced with VMware Workstation 7.x, 8.x, and 9.x, disklib does not make a strict check for independent-persistent disk (Raw disk added). If files are referenced in current disk, open-disk fails.


To properly add a physical disk to a virtual machine:
  1. Prepare the physical disk for the operation to avoid the conflict.
    • On a Windows system:
      1. Ensure that no programs or applications are using the physical disk. 
      2. Remove the drive letter of the particular disk. Navigate to Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management > Change Drive Letter and Path > Remove.

    • On a Linux system:
      1. Open a terminal interface. For more information, see Opening a command or shell prompt (1003892).
      2. Run this command to list the partitions on the host:


      3. Unmount the partition that needs to be added to the virtual machine:

        unmount path of the partition

        For example #unmount /dev/sda2

      4. Add the partition of the virtual machine.

        Note: If you want to mount the partition back on the host, power off the virtual machine, then mount the disk using the command: mount path of the partition mount path. For example: #mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/backupdisk.

  2. Open the virtual machine settings from VM > Settings.
  3. Click the Hardware tab.
  4. Select Add > Hard disk.
  5. Select Use a Physical Disk (for advanced users).
  6. Select a Physical Disk > Device > Choose "PhysicalDrive#".

    Note: Select the entire disk or partition, as required.

  7. Specify Disk file and click Finish.

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.


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  • 67 Ratings