What does VMDK?


Reading Time: 4 minutes

VMDK – VMware Virtual Machine Disk File is a virtual disk file that is practically used to store the contents of virtual hard disks. It is an open file format that includes all the information regarding the virtual machine.

VMDK is generally used for virtualization and cloud computing. A virtual disk having a VMDK file can operate as a single virtual machine. From now on, the virtual machine can be used as an independent machine that can be used to test specific software on a different system.

For example, suppose your company wants to test a new software product with multiple operating systems. In that case, you can do this using virtual machine software instead of using multiple computers or operating systems installed in a dual boot primary configuration file.

This implies that the virtual machine can be used as a variety of testing machines. VMDK log files are supported on QEMU, VirtualBox, and Sun XVM. Because virtual disks consist of .vmdk files, if a log file size of 1 GB is assigned, then more than 1 GB of .vmdk files will be created.

Almost all of the contents of the VMDK file are virtual machine data, and only a small portion is used for the virtual machine’s overhead.

What is the VMDK file in VMware?

VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk Abbreviation) is a file format that describes virtual hard disk containers used in virtual machines such as the VMware Workstation or VirtualBox. The maximum VMDK size is generally 2 TB for most applications, but in September 2013, VMware vSphere 5.5 introduced a 62 TB VMDK capacity.

Open VMDK File

Different programs may use VMDK file extension files for various purposes, so you may need to try several other programs unless you are unsure of the format of your VMDK file.

The VMDK file consists of a descriptor and a flat-file. The descriptor contains geometry, virtual hardware, identifiers, etc. It is a standard text file. Flat, on the other hand, has the correct data.

If you have a VMware Workstation Player, save the descriptor and the flat file in the same folder. Right-click on the file and select any options as read-only or read-write. It will open the VMDK file without any problem.

To open a VMDK file, i.e., disk drive with a virtual machine, trusted VMDK recovery software can be used. The software fixes the .vmdk file and intelligently supports both the descriptor and the flat file.

This software can restore all data in minutes, even if corrupted or undamaged. It contains a robust algorithm for recovering all data that can not be viewed otherwise.

Here are the steps to open the VMDK file in VMware virtual machines:

  • Launch the VMDK Recovery Software and select VMDK files;
  • Click the Browse button and then open the VMDK file;
  • Third, select the recovery mode options and scan the damaged VMDK file;
  • Click Update Item and view the data in the VMDK file;
  • Choose the destination path to save the recovered data as a new VMDK file;
  • Click the OK button and save successfully.

VMware Virtual Disk

Files that contain the .vmdk file extensions are files on a virtual machine disk. These files store the contents of a “virtual” hard drive created by VMware Virtual Hard Drive software.

VMware is used as a “software computer”, which allows you to install, for example, Windows on a virtual computer, storing the operating system and all the applications you install in a VMDK file. VMware must install the operating system on the VMDK file, but various other tools can extract data from the file.

Mount VMDK files in a host operating system with VMware Workstation

You can mount VMDK files on the host operating system with VMware Workstation. If virtual machine footage is available, delta virtual disks are created after each image.

Consequently, if you want to open the state of a virtual disk after creation, you must have a parent virtual disk and delta disks. The parent virtual disk can be opened in read-only mode to avoid unnecessary problems. However, it is necessary to mount the appropriate delta virtual disk in the host operating system.

How to mount VMDK files with VMFS Recovery

Use VMFS Recovery to mount VMDK files. The software tool reads and updates all information from the VMFS file system. The discreet and patient Recovery Wizard will help you with the application if you have any questions.

Each virtual disk can be mounted locally for easy viewing. All Windows restrictions are cleverly and unobtrusively circumvented, and of course, there is Unicode support.

How to mount VMDK files by using /dev/loop

This method makes the files available as block devices. As a result, they can mount disk images containing file systems. This loop is called / dev / loopH, where H is the device number of the loop. Here it is possible to mount -flat.vmdk files even without a virtual disk descriptor.

Features of VMDK files

  • Efficient recovery of the foremost possible data from the corrupt VMDK format;
  • Supports VMDK files stored in Fixed Disk and Dynamic Disk Type;
  • Supports then split VMDK files, SPARSE and FLAT, as well as a descriptor;
  • VMDK Recovery software has two scan modes, standard and advanced, for different levels of corruption;
  • Supports both partition tables, i.e., Boot Master Record (MBR) and GUID partition table (GPT);
  • After that, the custom settings option is enabled for the selected volume before returning;
  • Supports file systems of all popular operating systems, such as FAT, FAT16, FAT32, FAT64, NTFS, HFS +, and EXTX;
  • RAW Recovery Mode to perform a substantial recovery of corrupt VMDK files;
  • Features three different recovery modes in the likes of Standard, Advanced, and Deep for successful recovery;
  • Grants the user to browse the recovered files and folders; shown in a tree structure view;
  • It features an automatic search for files in the tree structure by simply entering their file names/types.


A virtual disk that keeps the contents of the VMware virtual machine hard disk; can be accessed as a physical hard drive with VMware software; typically named “[vmname] .vmdk;” can be set to a fixed size or configured to grow over time using VMware Virtual Disk Manager.

Early versions of VMware used the. DSK extension for virtual disk files. VMDK files are used by VMware software but can also be mounted as a virtual disk. Once the VMDK file is mounted, users can delete, copy, and modify the files on the virtual disk.