The following was written for VMWare 3.0 on OS X, but applies to Windows and Linux as well.
Virtual Machine Structure
Although a Virtual Machine appears to be a file, it’s actually a folder composed of many files. Expand the table below if you’re interested in learning about them.
<vmname>.log or vmware.log. : This is the file that keeps a log of key VMware Workstation activity. This file can be useful in troubleshooting if you encounter problems. This file is stored in the directory that holds the configuration (
.vmx) file of the virtual machine.
<vmname>.nvram or nvram: This is the file that stores the state of the virtual machine’s BIOS.
<vmname>.vmdk: This is a virtual disk file, which stores the contents of the virtual machine’s hard disk drive. A virtual disk is made up of one or more
.vmdkfiles. If you have specified that the virtual disk should be split into 2GB chunks, the number of
.vmdkfiles depends on the size of the virtual disk. As data is added to a virtual disk, the
.vmdkfiles grow in size, to a maximum of 2GB each. (If you specify that all space should be allocated when you create the disk, these files start at the maximum size and do not grow.) Almost all of a
.vmdkfile’s content is the virtual machine’s data, with a small portion allotted to virtual machine overhead. If the virtual machine is connected directly to a physical disk, rather than to a virtual disk, the
.vmdkfile stores information about the partitions the virtual machine is allowed to access. Earlier VMware products used the extension
.dskfor virtual disk files.
<diskname>-<###>.vmdk: This is a redo-log file, created automatically when a virtual machine has one or more snapshots. This file stores changes made to a virtual disk while the virtual machine is running. There may be more than one such file. The
###indicates a unique suffix added automatically by VMware Workstation to avoid duplicate file names.
<vmname>.vmsd: This is a centralized file for storing information and metadata about snapshots.
<vmname>-Snapshot.vmsn: This is the snapshot state file, which stores the running state of a virtual machine at the time you take that snapshot
<vmname>-Snapshot<###>.vmsn: This is the file which stores the state of a snapshot
<vmname>.vmss: This is the suspended state file, which stores the state of a suspended virtual machine .Some earlier VMware products used the extension
.stdfor suspended state files
<vmname>.vmtm: This is the configuration file containing team data.
<vmname>.vmx: This is the primary configuration file, which stores settings chosen in the New Virtual Machine Wizard or virtual machine settings editor. If you created the virtual machine under an earlier version of VMware Workstation on a Linux host, this file may have a
<vmname>.vmxf: This is a supplemental configuration file for virtual machines that are in a team. Note that the .vmxf file remains if a virtual machine is removed from the team.
For instance, I have a Virtual Machine I called “Windows XP
Professional”. It’s stored as a directory called
Windows XP Professional.vmwarevm. The VMDK images are:
Windows XP Professional.vmdk Windows XP Professional-s001.vmdk Windows XP Professional-s002.vmdk Windows XP Professional-s003.vmdk Windows XP Professional-s004.vmdk Windows XP Professional-s005.vmdk Windows XP Professional-s006.vmdk Windows XP Professional-s007.vmdk Windows XP Professional-s008.vmdk Windows XP Professional-s009.vmdk Windows XP Professional-s010.vmdk Windows XP Professional-s011.vmdk
Note: I’m going to call the topmost the ‘primary’ VMDK for the Virtual Machine for the following sections.
So many VMDK’s!
Yep. They’re all in 2GB chunks, presumably to get over the volume size limitations of FAT16, in case you choose to format your Virtual Machine as such.
I want one VMDK to rule them all
Fine. Fire up a terminal (or a “PowerShell” if you dream of Ballmer every night), and navigate to your virtual machine’s folder. There are three things you’ll be doing here:
- Move all your fragmented VMDK’s to a temporary folder
- Run a program that will ‘stitch’ them to a big file
- Move this resultant file to the virtual machine’s folder
- Give this big file the same name as your virtual machine folder
cd /Users/tech/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/Windows XP Professional.vmwarevm mkdir ~/temp mv *.vmdk ~/temp cd ~/temp Library/Application\ Support/VMware\ Fusion/vmware-vdiskmanager -r "Windows XP Professional.vmdk" -t 0 "XP Temp Image.vmdk" mv "XP Temp Image.vmdk" /Users/tech/Documents/Virtual Machines.localized/Windows XP Professional.vmwarevm/"Windows XP Professional.vmdk"
On Windows, this would be located at
C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation