How to recover data from corrupt VMDK file

This blog gives various methods on how to recover data from corrupt VMDK files. If you are searching for it, then you get to read on about its resolutions.

We are living in a world defined by boundaries. But, there is another world that is the Virtual reality to connect with users without restrictions of boundaries. This virtual world works on a Virtual Machine (VM). It corresponds to a computing resource that uses software instead of a physical computer to run programs and deploy apps. So, VM allows you to run an operating system in an app window on your desktop that behaves like a full, separate computer. 

Let us get to know better about the VM files called the VMDK files.

What is Filename.VMDK?

It is a virtual disk file, which contains the contents of the virtual machine’s hard disk drive. It is made available by VMware products. A virtual disk consists of one or more .vmdk files. The increase or decrease in the number of .vmdk files depends on the size of the virtual disk.

Previously VMware products used the extension .dsk for virtual disk files. VMDK data is supported by Virtualbox, QUMU, and XVM, among other virtual machine applications.

What happens when all the information about the virtual machine on the VMDK file is damaged or becomes inaccessible? Read further to know how to recover data from corrupt VMDK.

Corrupt VMDK File!

When we have a corrupt VMDK file, you get an error like ” The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable ” on your screen.

But, what reasons could have triggered such a response, let us get to know about it.

Reasons that Causes Missing VMDK File:

Any of the below reasons can lead to a corrupt VMDK file:

1.Sudden system shutdown that often damages opened files.

2.VMDK files not saved properly, and abruptly terminating them.

3.Virus/malware existing on your system or entered via an external source.

Let us get to know about methods to restore data from corrupt VMDK files.

How to Recover Data from Corrupt VMDK File via Manual Methods?

If you are not able to gain access to the VMDK file for the first time, then the following can help to resolve the problem.

Method 1: Fix VMDK by Booting the Machine

Let us see the process to perform a basic VMDK file recovery.

A combination of two types of files, namely-VMDK, and *-flat.vmdk, form a VMDK file. The plain text pointer is contained in the VMDK file for the *-flat.vmdk. The VM server name is denoted as (*). Whenever a VM server or VMDK file gets corrupt, the Virtual Machine fails to start. In such a scenario, the following steps can help you recover the VMDK file. 

  1. Firstly, make a backup copy of the original VMDK file.
  2. Secondly, make a copy of the pointer file with a different VM to your system.
  3. Thirdly, do the required modifications to the fields and save the changes.
  4. Initiate the virtual machine to repair the VMDK file.

This process seems like an easy task. But, it is the hardest job to get Cylinders, Heads, and Sectors precisely according to the size of the *-flat.vmdk file. Beginner users often feel confused and fail to recover their VMDK files with this process.

If still, you are with the thought: how to recover data from corrupt VMDK file, then try out the next method.

Method 2: Repair VMDK with Command Prompt in Windows

Although it is more suitable for technical users who are well-versed with CMD, making use of Command Prompt is also a great technique to recover VMDK files. Don’t worry if you are a new user, as you can make use of the following steps to recover the VMDK file with cmd.

  1. Firstly, Load the command prompt by first pressing Window + R and then enter cmd.
  2. Secondly, look for the location of the local installation of your VMware Dev kit.
  3. Thirdly, make use of this command in the cmd “vmware-vsdiskmanager.exe” – R “the fully qualified path to your corrupt VMDK.”
  4. After writing the command hit Enter.

This method comes with the same limitations as with the first method. What if you get a more secure and reliable solution to this problem? Read about it in the next Method.

Method 3: VMDK Data Recovery Software Free

It is one of the most searched VMDK recovery software, and is a great utility to recover corrupt VMDK files. This tool supports Fixed or Dynamic disc types. It comes with a RAW recovery mode, to perform powerful recovery from corrupt VMDK files. It is most helpful to repair VMDK files which are FLAT, split & SPARSE even descriptor. With such added features you can also use VMDK File recovery software for both Master boot record i.e. MBR and GPT reboot i.e. GUID partition table. Try it today to repair VMDK files with explanatory customized options.


VMDK or virtual files often get corrupted and get you to think about how to recover data from corrupt VMDK file. You can take help of methods mentioned in this blog to repair VMDK files. But, these methods often leave you with unsatisfactory results. To get instant and more accurate results, try the VMDK data recovery software.