Proven Methods to Repair Corrupt and Damaged VMDK File

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  • Updated on January 19th, 2023

VMDK files are used for virtual machines like VMware Workstation, Virtual box, WEMU, etc. These files generally consists of two types of files, i.e., VMDK and *-flat.vmdk. Both these files have different work assigned. The VMDK file behaves like a plain text pointer for the *-flat.vmdk. The asterisk(*) symbol shows the name of the VM server. These files contain a lot of data and can easily become damaged or corrupt. Hence, users are always keen on finding methods to repair corrupt and damaged VMDK files.

The size of the VMDK files was initially 2TB, but now they can be of the capacity of 62TB. The VMDK files of the virtual machines can be used for cloud computing and virtualization. 

In this blog, we will provide all the manual methods that can help you to repair corrupt and damaged VMDK files with ease. Before that, let us go through the reasons that bring up the need to repair these VMDK files.

Need to Recover Corrupt VMDK Files

The VMDK files contain the data of the whole disk in them. Therefore, they are more liable to get corrupt now and then. Some of the main reasons that can cause corruption in the VMDK files are mentioned below.

  • Virus and malware attacks can cause damage to the VMDK files. The intrusions in the machines can corrupt the VMDK files making them inaccessible and can also damage the data present in them.
  • Sudden system shutdown or crash is also one of the main reasons that damage the VMDK files. It forces these files to close instantly that can harm their stored files.
  • Some users do not save the VMDK files or exit or terminate them before the saving process. It leads to corruption in the VMDK files. Improper saving of the data results in the damage of the files.

The above points are the main reasons that damage the VMDK files and lead users to repair corrupt and damaged VMDK files. The user can detect the VMDK file corruption by analyzing some signs or behaviors. If the below situations arise, then you can assume the VMDK Files are corrupt or damaged.

How to Know if VMDK Files are Damaged?

If you encounter any of the below situations, then you can assume your virtual disk files to be corrupt.

  • If the loading process of the files is taking too much time. SLow loading of the VMDK files can be an indication of the corruption in them.
  • The user encounters error messages like,

“There is a problem trying to mount the virtual disk.”

“Cannot open the disk ‘path_to_virtual machine/virtual_disk.vmdk’ or one of the snapshot disks it depends on. Reason: The specified virtual disk needs repair.”

These error messages mean that your VMDK file is damaged.

  • On the launch of the VMDK files, if a black screen appears with slow or no progress, then you can assume your VMDK files to be corrupt.

As we all have understood the reasons and situations of VMDK files corruption, let us now move forward to know the proven methods to repair corrupt and damaged VMDK files.

Methods to Repair Corrupt VMDK Files

  1. By Booting the Machine
  2. Through Windows Command Prompt

These methods are explained in a stepwise manner below so that you can execute them properly and recover VMDK files.

  1. By Booting the Machine

When the VMDK files are damaged or corrupt, it does not allow the Virtual machine to open normally. To resolve this issue and to repair corrupt and damaged VMDK files, follow the below steps precisely.

  • Start with taking the backup of the original VMDK files in your system.
  • Then, copy the Pointer file with another VM.
  • Now, change the fields as per your requirements and save changes.
  • Finally, boot the Virtual Machine to apply the changes.

This method will fix the damage and corruption in the VMDK file. It seems easy, but the problem arises for beginners while managing the size of the cylinders, heads, etc. 

  1. Through Windows Command Prompt

The command prompt of the Windows OS also can recover the damage in the VMDK files. The users need to follow the steps mentioned below to execute the process.

  • Launch the command prompt and enter by pressing Windows key + R simultaneously.
  • Find and go to the location of the VMDK file on the system.
  • Enter the command, vmware-vsdiskmanager.exe, into the cmd.
  • Finally, press the Enter button to run.

These manual methods discussed above can repair corrupt and damaged VMDK files. However, they have some limitations, like they can be difficult to execute for novice users and also require prior technical knowledge. 

To overcome these limitations and recover corrupt and damaged VMDK files, you can choose an alternate solution, i.e., VMware Data Recovery. It is a flawless tool to open VMware virtual machine data files. It supports and recovers VMDK data of both FAT or NTFS file formats. You can resolve any data or file corruption issues of the VMDK files. The VMware Recovery Software does not take much time to fix the issues, and its GUI is interactive and helps any beginner user to easily operate it.


The VMDK files are not easy to manage and can get corrupted due to various issues. All these reasons have been underlined in this blog so that you can avoid them. Moreover, all the proven manual methods have been provided so that you can perform them easily to repair corrupt and damaged VMDK files. Both the methods are not apt for some users due to them being technically strong. A professional tool is another method that overcomes all these issues and fixes the VMDK file errors with ease.

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