data recovery from esxi virtual disk(s)

Here's the situation:

I have a virtual guest with a disk named server.vmdk
Before a significant software installation I performed a snapshot so I now have server.vmdk, snapshot1.vmsn and server-000001.vmdk

The datastore was reaching its limit so I then upgraded the physical machine with more storage and created datastore2. As I have a free version of esxi v4, I had to find a way of manually moving the virtual disk files to datastore2.

I shut down the virtual machine and used the datastore browser to move just the 2 .vmdk files to datastore2. I deleted the 1st disk from the vm's hardware config and created a "new" disk and, from the wizard, chose an existing disk and pointed it to server-000001.vmdk on datastore2. At this point, the wizard came up with an error and wouldn't allow me to complete the task. So I then foolishly pointed it to server.vmdk and the wizard completed.

I had hoped that the system would pick up on both .vmdk files as being part of the same set. Alas, the system booted in the state it was in at the point of the last snapshot which is 6 months ago.
Fortunately I have a backup which I have recevered from- its just that I would like to recover the last 24 hours worth of data. I'm worried that, now server.vmdk has been modified, that its relationship with server-000001.vmdk and the snapshot has been irreversibly destroyed.

I am hoping to be able to mount server.vmdk and server-000001.vmdk as a (corrupted) drive and then run data recovery software to pluck out the data I need- its just that getting the drive into a VM that I need help with.

I live in hope,

Jon.
jonogibboAsked:
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JohnLoCommented:
ohhhh you should have merged the snapshot before doing any moving. i think your going to be missing the 24 hours. just what backup solution do you use? there might be a way with thatand remember NEVER lat a snapshot get older that a couple of days.....

Also when you move a virtual machine form store to store alway move the whole folder.

Aif you may be able to mout it on your local machine. heres how...

First get  VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit it supports vSphere and ESX VMDK's
http://communities.vmware.com/community/developer/forums/vddk
you'll have to register if you have not already done so...download and install it
copy the 0000**.vmbk file to your local machine
then youll run a command at a the cmd prompt like this

"c:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit\bin\vmware-mount" y: "c:\virtual machines\Windows XP Exchange\Windows XP Exchangel.vmdk" /m:w

the y: is the drive letter it will mout to on your local system the /m:w make it writeable..

You can now go to my computer and if your lucky see all the files on the disk in Y: copy the files to the server if your lucky.
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JohnLoCommented:
Holy crap this thing needs spell and grammar check!!!! I just read it and was like WOW who’s gonna use this crap….

Here’s a more legible version

ohhhh you should have merged the snapshot before doing any moving. I think you’re going to be missing the 24 hours. just what backup solution do you use? there might be a way to recover some but remember NEVER let a snapshot get older that a couple of days.....

Also when you move a virtual machine form store to store always move the whole folder.

One way you may be able to get some data is mount it on your local machine. here’s how...

First get  VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit it supports vSphere and ESX VMDK's
http://communities.vmware.com/community/developer/forums/vddk
you'll have to register if you have not already done so...download and install it
copy the 0000**.vmdk file to your local machine
then you’ll run a command at a the cmd prompt like this

"c:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit\bin\vmware-mount" y: "c:\virtual machines\Windows XP Exchange\Windows XP Exchangel.vmdk" /m:w

the y: is the drive letter it will mount to on your local system the /m:w make it writeable..

You can now go to my computer and if you’re lucky see all the files on the disk in Y: copy the files to the server if you’re lucky.
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jonogibboAuthor Commented:
Hi JohnLo,

Thanks for such a quick and comprehensive reply.
I use Acronis Trueimage Echo v9.5
I'm currently restoring the server from the 24 hour-old backup and its going well.

Do you mean to only bother with downloading the server-000001.vmdk file to my desktop? Will I also need server.vmdk and the .vmsn file?
If the server-000001.vmdk will mount on its own, I can recover some spreadsheets that I know have been created AFTER the snapshot. Unfortunately accounts and .pst files were created before the snapshot which have since been modified- this data is an acceptable loss although we would like to get them back.!

PS- I intend to use Ontrack's Easyrecovery Pro as it does a good job with a corrupted FAT or unidentifiable file systems...

Many thanks,

Jon.
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JohnLoCommented:
are you restoreing to the original location? or a new location?

do you still have ALL the old file server.vmdk server-00001.vmdk and the vmx vmem vswp everything?

if not try a copy of both to the local machine.... mount both images see what you got..

and im not trying to rub it in but in the future remember snapshots are great but when your done with the reason you took it Merge it!! they suck when your in a situation like this.

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jonogibboAuthor Commented:
Hi JohnLo,

I'm restoring to an alternate location.
I also have all virtual disk, snapshot and config files so I'll give trying to mount both images a go.
And thanks for your advice on the snapshots- I will take caution in the future and hopefully others won't get into the same mess as I did!

Really appreciate all your help,

Jon.
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JohnLoCommented:
did you by chance backup the vmsd vmx vswp files before messed with the hard drive settings?
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jonogibboAuthor Commented:
Hi JohnLo,

I still have a copy of the vmsd and vmx files. I don't have a vswp file- i guess its beacause the VM was powered down before I messed things up.
I do have the .vmsn file though. And everything else for that matter. The only file that was touched afterwards is the server.vmdk file.

Hope this helps,

Jon.
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