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Survey: Extend / Expand VMware virtual disk

with 3 comments

Before you begin, create a backup copy of the virtual disk so that you can restore it in case of failures. Extending a virtual disk can be a complex operations for several reasons, e.g.,:

  • The virtual disk that is full happens to contain the boot/primary partition for Windows
  • There are snapshots
  • There is insufficient disk space available on the physical drive to permit growth
  • It is a multi step process and involves use of different tools and commands in a specific sequence. Creative individuals have devised workarounds to extend the primary partition for Windows by using Linux boot disks and disk partitioning tools such as GParted, and you have to get this right.

A blog post that expands on each of the above is here.

You’ll find several posts regarding this topic on Google. Essentially, they are all variations of the following posts

VMware Workstation or Fusion

How To Extend Virtual Machine Hard Disk (VMware) by Kalpesh Prajapati and Extend Boot Volume on Windows Server 2000/2003 by Dominic Rivera provide an illustrated tutorial that demonstrates the extension of Windows 2003 guest.  You will notice that there are several steps and from reviewing the comments posted for the former, you’ll realize that these steps have not worked for its readers uniformly.

Expanding a drive within a  VMware image by Sean Deasy outlines two methods

  1. Extend the non-system/data drive using WIndows tools. This approach preserves snapshots
  2. Extend the system drive using vmware-vdiskmanager tools. However, this approach causes loss of snapshots

VMware Server

Adding a new disk to a VMware virtual machine in Linux by Matt Topper provides an illustrated step-by-step how-to gude


A recent authoritative and comprehensive post about Re-sizing Virtual Disks by Eric Seibert is a great starting point. It provides step-by-step how-to guide

  1. Using vmkfstools and GParted to extend a disk
  2. Using VMware Converter to shrink or extend a disk
  3. Using vmkfstools and another Windows virtual machine to extend a disk
  4. Using vmkfstools and System Rescue CD to extend a disk
  5. Using Knoppix Live CD with QtPartEd to shrink a disk
  6. Using Ghost or another 3rd party imaging product to shrink a disk

3 Responses

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  1. […] disk on Google. A summary of the most commonly referenced posts is available <a href=”; […]

  2. You should download and try fatVM

    fatVM is a reliable, robust, and safe, 1-click solution for extending the C drive of your VMware Fusion or Workstation virtual disk that is becoming full.

    It provides a simple, intuitive, interface and a reliable process that hides the technical complexity of extending a virtual disk.
    It is robust because it can extend virtual disks having snapshots and clones.
    It is safe because it preserves your original disk, which remains available to you for when the need ever arises.

    Paul Evans

    February 3, 2010 at 11:15 pm

  3. […] Survey: Extend Expand VMware virtual disks […]

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