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VMWare Player - The file specified is not a virtual disc

Posted on 2014-10-29
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Last Modified: 2014-11-07
I had a hard disc fail and had to recover my files from a backup.

When I try to run the restored Virtual Machine I get the error "The file specified is not a virtual disc"

How can I recover this file, I've got months of work on this virtual server and thought and though I was safely backing up :(

Please note this is VMWare Player, not the full blown VMWare ESXi
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Question by:BrianFord
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40412186
So you have a Virtual Machine on a hard drive that has failed.

First, VM's are large files, and so it is very feasible the damage included the VM.
Second, try putting the failed drive in a carrier and see if you can see the drive and possibly the VM.

Finally then, there are products like getbackdata that can recover files from failed drive and that may help.
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Expert Comment

by:Armenio
ID: 40412200
My friend you just learnt Rule 1 of IT ( check your backups regularly)

How did you back up the VM originally ?
How are you restoring the VM ?
What is the format of the VM ?
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Author Comment

by:BrianFord
ID: 40412226
The backup was a simple copy and paste of the folder holding the VM from 2 days ago when everything was working fine (The VM was powered down at the time of the copy.

I was able to mount the failed hard disc in another PC that has Data Recovery software installed and I was able to see all the files and use that software to save them to another location, but when I try top open I get the above message

The disc file is a vmdx file
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 40412235
From the above description, the hard drive damage included the (large) vmdk file.

If only the vmx file (configuration file) then you can try to make a new VM and point it to the vmdk file. See if that works.
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LVL 119
ID: 40412245
It suggests the virtual disk (vmdk) is corrupted.

You could confirm this, by using VMware Converter to try and convert the VM.
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Author Comment

by:BrianFord
ID: 40412248
I tried adding the vmdk file to another existing VM that's working fine and got the same error
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Author Comment

by:BrianFord
ID: 40412252
Please forgive my ignorance as I'm not a VM expert (yet) but I don't have VMWare Converter, is that a free downloadable product?
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 40412261
Yes, VMware Converter is free, standalone available from VMware.com. I think all it will do is confirm (by not being able to convert) that the vmdk file is no good.
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Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 125 total points
ID: 40412267
If the VM cannot be added to a VM, mount the VM as you have, and manually extract the data, for recovery,

Yes it's free.

see my EE Articles

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.5.3 - Shellshock "BASH" Fix included in this version

HOW TO: FAQ VMware P2V Troubleshooting
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Author Comment

by:BrianFord
ID: 40412277
Andrew,

I'm not sure what you mean by "manually extract the data, for recovery"
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Author Comment

by:BrianFord
ID: 40412283
So I tried Converter, browsed to the vmx file and got an error stating "Unable to obtain hardware information"

So I guess I'm SOL :(
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40412286
At this point, I would say yes. The hard drive damage apparently occurred in the area of the disk where the vmdk file was.
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Author Comment

by:BrianFord
ID: 40412308
Sorry Andrew, could you please clarify what you by:

 "If the VM cannot be added to a VM, mount the VM as you have, and manually extract the data, for recovery,
"
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Expert Comment

by:Armenio
ID: 40412461
Mount is like connecting  so connect to the disk from windows and extract the data  Just like plugging in a usb but you need a tool to mount it . Follow these instructions.

http://www.vmwarearena.com/2014/06/access-vmware-vmdk-virtual-disk-from-windows.html

Once mounted the files will be visible just like any folder or usb then copy all your important data out and start over  with a new VM
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LVL 119
ID: 40412682
in your post http:#a40412226

you stated


I was able to mount the failed hard disc in another PC that has Data Recovery software installed and I was able to see all the files and use that software to save them to another location, but when I try top open I get the above message

e.g. Data Recovery, but this VMDK is not going to work in a VM anymore.
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Accepted Solution

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Armenio earned 125 total points
ID: 40414647
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Author Comment

by:BrianFord
ID: 40416354
Thank you Armenio, I downloaded the trial version of the above product and was able to mo9unt the damaged vmdk file. After letting scan for quite a long time it came back with no files :(

I guess I'm just going to have to start over here but thanks for trying
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40416363
I guess I'm just going to have to start over...  <--- Yes. It most certainly appears the main vmdk file was damaged in the disk failure.
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Expert Comment

by:Armenio
ID: 40418630
Sorry to hear that. Next time make sure you test your backups regularly
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Author Closing Comment

by:BrianFord
ID: 40429685
Thanks all for trying
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