VMFS Recovery™
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files

How to fix/repair corrupted VMDK files

This article is dedicated to how to fix the VMDK file and how to repair corrupt VMDK. Read it to find out all that you need!

VMDK corruption

Imagine this situation: you try to load your virtual machine and suddenly you see that the VMDK file is damaged. This can happen for the following reasons:

  • When booting the virtual machine, you see error messages like: “The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable”. The corrupted virtual disk needs to be repaired.
  • You decided to mount the virtual disk, but there were problems with it and you see a message similar to this: “There was a problem while trying to mount the virtual disk”.
  • The system crashed or the VM stopped working, and after that, it does not boot. How do you fix VMDK files in these cases? How do you recover a corrupt VMDK file? And in general, is it possible?

Fortunately, here you will find the best way to fix a corrupted VMDK file.

How to fix a VMDK file

Before you go deep into this solution, you need to understand that a VMDK file consists of two files on a VM: the .vmdk file (descriptor) and the -flat.vmdk file (binary).

Let’s discuss how to fix a VMDK descriptor file. For lost, deleted, or corrupt VMDK file repair, you need to add a new disk to the vSphere virtual machine. Then it is necessary to specify the existing VMDK. As a result, the VMDK file (handle) will be re-created automatically, without any manual editing.

It should be noted that this method is perfect for fixing VMDK descriptor file corruption.

The -flat.vmdk file will not be able to be recovered this way and in order to recover it, you need to use the best and most reliable software.

Repair corrupt VMDK with VMFS Recovery™

DiskInternals VMFS Recovery™ is the best known professional VMFS recovery tool. It can bring you back your VMDK files (both the .vmdk file and the -flat.vmdk file).

Here are the key features that distinguish VMFS Recovery™ from other similar software:

  • Supports virtual machines, including VMware disk images, Virtual PC, VirtualBox, and ProDiscover.
  • Supports vSphere 6 and ESX/ESXi Server.
  • Works with Windows 7 and above. But, best of all, use Windows 10, because before starting the recovery of deleted VMDK files, VMFS Recovery™ creates a VMFS structure in RAM, and for this, you need at least 6 GB.
  • The software size is 65 MB. However, you need to keep in mind that you need enough free space for the data on your hard disk drive to be restored. Plus, you should not restore data on the disk where you recovered it from, because the data will be overwritten, so that means you need additional free space.
  • The recovery wizard will help you automatically recover data without problems in a short period of time.
  • It is possible to mount virtual disks as local disks available in Windows Explorer.
  • VMFS Recovery™ supports file names and multi-level Unicode folders.

How do you recover a corrupt VMDK file? Use this detailed guide!

Use these detailed step-by-step instructions to repair a corrupt VMDK file in ESXi using DiskInternals VMFS Recovery™.

Step 1. Download and install VMFS Recovery™. Afterward, access to the VMFS disk may be performed in one of these ways:

  • Network connection using iSCSI or Fiber Channel interface.
  • SSH connection.
  • Access to data storage from VM with Windows, launching VMFS Recovery™ inside the same ESX/ESXi.
  • Direct connection of a VMFS disk to another computer with Windows and starting VMFS Recovery™.
  • Boot Windows to ESX / ESXi from an external drive and then start VMFS Recovery™.

Step 2. Scan the VMFS disk. Wait until the process is completed; it may be delayed.

Step 3. In the new window, you will see the search results. Find the correct VMDK file and mount this file with the .vmdk extension as a disk.

Step 4. Now open the disk and click the Scan button. This will check if your files can be recovered.

Step 5. Preview. Select the desired file, right-click on it. Select "Preview in New Window". After reviewing the file, you will be sure that it can be correctly restored.

Step 6. Finally, to save the recovered files, you need to purchase a license for VMFS Recovery™. You will receive a license key; enter it, run the save wizard, and the program will help you to complete the saving of data.

If you have VMDK files in Windows, you can return them to ESX.

If the VMDK file was damaged, you will need to recreate the new VM and load the recovered data into this new VM.

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