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Summary: This article introduces VMDK files, emphasizes their significance in virtual environments, discusses reasons for relocation, offers steps to move them, and mentions Kernel VMDK Recovery as a solution, aiming to assist readers in cost-effective VMDK file relocation.

A VMDK, short for Virtual Machine Disk, is a virtual disk format developed by VMware for various server environments, including VMware ESX Server, VMware GSX Server 3.x and 2.5, VMware ACE, VMware Player, and more. Essentially, a VMDK serves as a digital counterpart to a physical hard disk, and the efficiency of this virtual disk significantly impacts the performance of the guest operating system.

As the IT industry increasingly embraces the concept of “Server Consolidations,” the knowledge and skill set required for managing and operating virtual machines become increasingly crucial. The ability to control the most essential configurable elements of a virtual machine, such as CPU, Memory, and Disk, is paramount. This control over virtual disks is vital as it directly correlates with the resource allocation needed to meet the workload demands within a Data Center.

Need to Move

With the introduction of what a VMDK file is and its significance, let’s delve into the topic of relocating a VMDK file. But why would one consider doing this? Firstly, it’s important to understand that you can change the VMDK file’s location on the same host system. Additionally, you have the option to move the virtual machine to a different operating system. This move involves relocating not just the virtual machine itself but also the associated files. There are several reasons why one might need to change the VMDK file location, including:

  • Moving a VM disk using a single VMware product to an unlike platform using a different VMware Product.
  • Troubleshooting problems that entail or emerge high disk-space use.
  • In the case of cloning a VM.
  • If you are backing up your Virtual Machine.

Now, that we see why we need to move vmdk file location let us now focus on the very topic of our discussion, namely how to run the file location.

How to Move the VMDK Files?

Moving VMDK files to a different location or host have satisfied prerequisite which needs to be followed diligently before running the VMDK file to a new or different host. The following are the prerequisites that you must pay heed to, before moving:

  • Firstly, try to become familiar with how Workstation produces UUIDs for move VMs. (P.S. UUID is a 128-bit number which is used to identify an object or entity on the Internet uniquely)
  • Secondly, please acquaint yourself not merely on the advantages of moving VMDK File but also the disadvantages associated with it, namely:
    1. The guest operating system might cease to work correctly when the movement of the virtual machine to a host system which has significantly different hardware.
    2. In Workstation versions 7.x and later, virtual machines support up to eight-way virtual symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) when running on multiprocessor host systems. Users have the flexibility to allocate up to eight virtual processors to virtual machines that are running on host systems with a minimum of two logical processors.

      However, it’s important to note that if a user attempts to assign two processors to a virtual machine running on a uniprocessor host system, a warning message will appear. While users do have the option to disregard this warning and assign two processors, they must be aware that the virtual machine will need to be moved to a host system with a minimum of two logical processors before it can be powered on successfully. This ensures that the virtual machine can effectively utilize the assigned processors and operate as intended without any potential performance issues or conflicts.

    3. Furthermore, users have the capability to migrate a virtual machine from a 32-bit host to a 64-bit host. However, the reverse operation, running a virtual machine from a 64-bit host on a 32-bit host, is only possible if the 32-bit host is equipped with a compatible 64-bit processor.
  • Thirdly, in case of moving a linked clone, you will need to verify if the clone can access the parent virtual machine. Please follow these instructions, concerning the movement of the vmdk file location:
    1. In case the user is moving a linked clone or moving its parent virtual machine, he/she would need to assure that the clone can access the parent virtual machine.
    2. The user needs to make sure that the Workstation can locate the original virtual machine. If the Workstation is incapable of finding the original virtual machine, it cannot power on a linked clone.
    3. In case of a disconnected laptop, in which the user wishes to make use of a cloned virtual machine, it is necessary that the user must ensure the clone used is a full clone or must move the parent VM to the laptop.
  • Backup copies of the files that are in the directory for the virtual machine that is being moved.

That being clear, we now proceed to the procedures that are followed to move vmdk file location to a new place. Given below are the Do It Yourself Steps:

  • To begin with, make sure that VM files have been stored within the VMs directory because some of this file dwell outside the list.
  • Now close or shut down the guest operating.
  • Again, power-off the VM.
  • Copy VM files to a new location (Note: in case the data have been moved to the same host system, remove the virtual machine from the library and then select File, go to Open and Browse to the VM configuration file in the new location.
  • After moving the Virtual Machine to a different host system start Workstation, select File then press Open and browse to the virtual machine configuration file.
  • When convinced that the VM works perfectly in the new location, delete virtual machine files from the original site of the data.

(To be Noted: In case the VM does not work correctly on them, the user needs to verify if the VM file has been copied whole)

Read Also: Difference Between VHD and VMDK Files

If the do-it-yourself steps prove ineffective in relocating the vmdk file, you may need third-party software to accomplish the task. One such solution is Kernel VMDK Recovery, a versatile tool designed to efficiently extract various types of data, including documents, audio files, media files, and more. Additionally, this software offers a ‘Find’ option to search for specific document instances. However, it’s worth noting that there are alternative free VMDK recovery methods available for you to explore as well.

The Software can be used straightforwardly namely,

  • Browse and then select corrupt VMDK file.Browse and then select corrupt VMDK file
  • Click RecoverClick Recover
  • Whole drive information is seen. Click Next.Whole drive information is seen. Click Next.
  • Select Partition Type between w of the options. Then click Ok.Select Partition Type between w of the options. Then click Ok
  • Select ‘Partition Recovery.’ Press Scan.Select ‘Partition Recovery.’ Press Scan
  • After the scanning process is complete click Next. Select the items that need to be recovered. Click ‘Repair.’Click ‘Repair’
  • Browse and Select Saving Path then click OK.Browse and Select Saving Path then click OK.
  • Saving process starts.Saving process starts.
  • When Complete, message ‘File saved successfully’ appears.When Complete, message ‘File saved successfully’ appears


In summary, our main goal has been to offer readers a thorough guide on relocating VMDK files to new destinations. We trust that these steps will assist our readers in efficiently changing the VMDK file location to different data stores in a straightforward, practical, and cost-effective manner.

Kernel for VMDK Recovery