Virtual Machine Disk File
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What is a VMDK file?
A VMDK file is a virtual disk that stores the contents of a virtual machine created by VMware Workstation or VMware Fusion. It is typically stored within a virtual machine package (.VMWAREVM file), and the VMware software accesses it similarly to a physical hard disk. VMDK files may be set at a fixed size or configured to grow over time using VMware's Virtual Disk Manager.
Workstation and Fusion are virtualization applications that enable you to run multiple guest operating systems, including Windows and Linux, as virtual machines (VMs) on your computer. When creating a VM, the software creates various files to configure and run the VM. One of the files created is the VMDK file, which functions similarly to the Windows C:\ drive.
To locate the VMDK file, right-click the VMWAREVM file, and choose Show Package Contents. The VMDK file is typically named after the operating system. For example, the VMDK file for Windows 11 may be named Windows 11-0.vmdk.
Other files that make up a virtual disk may include:
- [vmname]-s[###].vmdk - for split virtual disk files.
- [vmname]-f[###].vmdk - for split files with disk space allocated in advance.
- [diskname]-[###].vmdk - stores changes made to a virtual disk.
NOTE: Early versions of VMware software saved virtual disks as .DSK files.
How to open a VMDK file
You can open a VMDK file with VMware software, such as Workstation and Fusion. Both apps open the VMDK file automatically when starting up a virtual machine. However, you can also run a virtual machine by double-clicking the VMDK file.
Additionally, you can mount a VMDK file as a virtual disk with WinMount. Once WinMount mounts the VMDK file, you can delete, copy, and modify files in the virtual disk.