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How do I undelete a VMWare disk (.VMDK) ?

Posted on 2008-10-17
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I was multitasking this morning and accidentally deleted the wrong VMWare disk from the VM console.  The disk was located on a separate physical disk only used for this virtual machine, so nothing else has been written to the drive.

When I tried to use several undelete utilities I was able to find the server.VMDK file, but it was 0 bytes.  

Is there anything else I can do?  OnTrack isn't an option, since this data isn't that valuable to the company; however it has value to me.

Regards
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Question by:scoco
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michote earned 500 total points
ID: 22745417
If the undelete utilities give you 0 bytes, most likely it was overwritten by VMware. Most of them do the same thing, there is no one better than the other.

Because when something gets deleted, windows only erases the the link from the File Allocation table. Undelete utilities look for this and fix restore them. The problem is that if something overwrites it, or any piece of it, undelete utilities will mark it as gone. This is made worse by the fact that VMware partitions are big files ranging from 2gb to bigger. The bigger it is the bigger the chance it gets overwritten by something
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Expert Comment

by:michote
ID: 22745430
And you don't have to do it, there are a lot of background processes that are constantly writing to the hard drive. This is a lost cause, if undelete utilities don't find it. The data is gone.
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Expert Comment

by:sk_raja_raja
ID: 22745712
1. Sorry to say that you're out of luck. There is no 'undelete' functionality in the VMware tools, and I don't believe there are any undelete tools out there that understand the VMFS file system. You'll need to recover from a backup.
On the other hand, VMware support *may* have a tool. It's worth logging a call and asking the question.

2.Probably a good time to set up AD authentication on your ESX servers and turn off root login from ssh. A non-root user would not have been able to delete the vmdk file without using sudo or 'su -' first. Also make sure that rm is aliased to 'rm -i'.
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/esx3_esxcfg_auth_tn.pdf has more information
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Expert Comment

by:michote
ID: 22745829
It is a normal server, not ESX.
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Author Comment

by:scoco
ID: 22746090
This is not ESX.  It's running on a Windows hosted formatted NTFS.  

Sounds like my drive may have gone to data heaven.
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Expert Comment

by:michote
ID: 22746144
Yep, I am sorry.
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Author Closing Comment

by:scoco
ID: 31507298
Thanks for the quick response.  I finally had to accept reality :(  Fortunately the loss of data was only an annoyance and not mission critical.
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