How do I access the files within the .vmdk files of Vista?

samhdonald
samhdonald used Ask the Experts™
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How can I access the contents of .vmdk files from OSX, as Vista won't boot in Fusion? My last backup was a couple of days ago, so I don't want to lose those two days work. I have backed up the Vista package. I can show package contents to reveal the .vmdk files but what do I do to get the files from within? I can't find VMDKMounter.app anywhere on the system.
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Top Expert 2009
Commented:
you dont have many options in OSX, i think the easiest way is to copy the vmdk to usb drive
download vmware diskmount http://www.vmware.com/download/eula/diskmount_ws_v55.html then save it to that usb drive
take that usb drive to your friend that has a laptop with Windows XP
install VMware-mount.exe to your friend laptop, just accept the default install location
once installed, go to run then type cmd
at the prompt, type cd "C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware DiskMount Utility"
assuming your usb drive is x: and your vmdk file is in a folder named myvm
run the following command
mount-vmware n: x:\myvm\your_vista.vmdk
after that you should be able to see all the files in a new n: drive under "My computer" of your friend's laptop
good luck!
An other option is to download a live bootable cd (like knoppix www.knoppix.org), then boot with it. This way you can see the content of your disks, and copy it through the network.
Offcourse you can use a lot of other tools (which are smaller to download), but they need to see the network driver of vmware.
ryder0707,
Thank you for providing info about VMware DiskMount Utility. I was not aware that such a tool existed.
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Top Expert 2009

Commented:
you're welcome arun :)

Commented:
Good info and good idea folks!

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the quick responses guys, It's great being down under - when you get up in the morning all the answers are there waiting! I'm going to try the knoppix first option first. Will let you know how I get on.
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
yes you can boot from knoppix but knoppix will NOT be able to extract the vmdk file
you can only use it to get the vmdk file but you still need another tool to read it
since you already have the vmdk file, why you still want to use knoppix?
correct me if i'm wrong, your problem is to get the files from within vmdk file rite?
in other words, you want to see all your files directly from the vmdk file correct?
Boot knoppix (or other distro) in the vm, not your os. Then you can access all files in your vm. With network support (or usb) you can transfer your files. That way you do not have access to a windows machine.
An other option is to boot an other working vm with the vmdk files added as a disk. This way a working vm will get new disks, and you can copy them. Offcourse, make a good backup and you need the right utilities to read from the disk (ntfs).

Author

Commented:
Hi Ryder0707,

You are absolutely correct. I downloaded the iso and created a bootable Knoppix CD, then booted up only to find that I was no better off with Knoppix than using "show package contents" in OSX. ie. I could see all of the 2GB .vmdk files but not the files within them.

So I then tried your suggestion of using the VMWare Diskmount Utility on an XP machine to mount the .vmdk file. This didn't work, possibly because XP was running on a Bootcamp partition which had less than 2GB free space?

After several hours and being no closer to the files within the .vmdk files and with someone waiting on one of the files being printed I decided to use a Snapshot from a few days prior and re-do the work just to get it our the door by close of play.

Bu there is still about three full days of work that I would love to not have to repeat, so I'l now try to add the .vmdk file as a disk to the working VM. Any tips on doing that?
add disk, and use existing disk/vmdk
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
i'm not really sure what is a bootcamp partition, but i did it copule of times on a normal pc/laptop with no issue
what was the error?

Author

Commented:
Hi Ryder0707,

A Bootcamp partition is for booting up a Mac straight into Windows, rather than as VM. It behaves just like any old PC.

The message I get is:

"Unable to mount the virtual disk. The disk may be in use by a virtual machine or mounted under another drive letter. If not, verify that the disk is a virtual disk file, and that the disk file has not been corrupted."

The disk isn't in use by a virtual machine and isn't mounted under another drive letter, so I can only assume that is corrupted. I'm not sure how to confirm that though.
Look in the directory where the vmdk is, are there any lck files? If so, make sure nothing is using the fils (reboot).

Author

Commented:
I never actually managed to access any of the document files that I needed but I learnt a lot about VM's so thanks for all your responses. Cheers, Sam.

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