How to Recover Data from Corrupt VMDK Files – Learn Step-by-Step Guide

Anuraag Singh | Last Modified: June 25th, 2019 | Recovery

With the advancement of technology, Virtual Machines are becoming popular. But these machines are not completely free from issues. Now and then, even virtual machine files or VMDK files also suffer from corruption. In that case, it becomes really difficult for the users to fix it and recover data from the corrupt files. If you are looking for the solution to the same problem, here is the right post for you. Here, we are going to discuss how to recover data from corrupt VMDK files.

“I have been using Virtual Machine for some years without any problem. Recently, some of the VMDK files got corrupt and these are causing trouble to the VM. Now, I am not able to start VM and unable to access the data stored in VMDK files. Please tell me how to recover data from corrupt VMDK file. I will be grateful.”

How to Recover Data from Corrupt VMDK File Learn Different Methods
It is quite common for the VMware users to face corruption and henceforth, being unable to initiate the Virtual Machine. In the case of VMDK file corruption, users can go for both manual and automated techniques.

Manual Techniques to Recover Corrupted VMDK File

If you are having minor issues or not willing to use any third-party application, then you can try these manual methods. In the case of corruptions with less severity, these manual methods may work. But before starting, let us learn a bit more about VMDK files:

Learn More About VMDK File

VMDK file usually consists of VMDK file and *-flat.vmdk file. Here * indicates the name of Virtual Machine server. In this case, VMDK file plays the role of plain text pointer for the *-flat.vmdk.

First Manual Method to Recover Corrupted VMDK File

  1. Before you begin the process of VMDK file recovery, create a backup of the original VMDK pointer file.
  2. Now, copy the point file and save it on a different VM of your machine.
  3. You can perform necessary changes to the fields before saving the modifications.
  4. At the final stage, boot the main VM and see if the issues have been fixed or not.

Second Manual Method to Recover Corrupted VMDK File

  1. Run command prompt on your system.
  2. Navigate to the location where VMware Dev Kit has been installed.
  3. Type the syntax in command prompt and hit Enter:
  4. “VMware-vsdiskmanager.exe” –R “*add the correct directory of corrupted VMDK file”

Limitations of Manual Approaches

These methods may sound easy, but for novice users, their execution will be difficult. Moreover, it is tough to get sectors, heads, and cylinders just as the size of the *-flat.vmdk file. These methods are also not fully trustworthy to fix corrupt VMDK file and recover data from it.

Automated Technique to Recover Corrupted VMDK File

As you can understand, the manual techniques do not assure the complete recovery of corrupted VMDK files. If you want an ultimate solution to your corrupt VMDK file or suffering from severe corruption, then you must go for SysTools VMware Recovery Tool. This is the right solution to fix any type of VMDK file corruption. To run this tool, you need to execute these steps:

  1. Launch VMware Recovery Tool and click on the Scan button. recover deleted vmdk file
  2. If you know the path of Virtual Machine, enable the radio button Scan Virtual Machine and click on Browse to select the folder. recover permanently deleted vmdk file
  3. If you do not know the location, select Search Virtual Machines button and choose to search in all or particular drives. recover corrupted data from VMDK file
  4. Click on Scan and all the data of chosen Virtual Machine will be visible for preview. recover lost vmdk file
  5. From the left panel, select Search. Filter the data by the date of creation, modification, and access. virtual machine
  6. The software will search accordingly and display the results of the software screen.  recover formatted data from vmdk file
  7. Select the files you want to fix, and click on “Extract” or “Extract As Original” button. virtual machine data recovery
  8. When the process is completed, the tool will show a summary of the export report. vmware data recovery
  9. Users can also save the full report on their local system if needed. recover corrupt data from VMDK file

Some Highlighted Features of VMware Recovery Tool

Wondering why you should go for VMware Recovery Software to recover corrupt, deleted, or lost VMDK data? Here are the answers:

  1. Suitable for all types of files created by VMware
  2. Capable of fixing any level of corruption
  3. No file size restriction for VMDK files
  4. Compatible with both NTFS and FAT systems
  5. Recovers deleted and formatted VMDK files too
  6. Option to preview, filter, and search files


In this post, we have described how to recover data from corrupt VMDK files. There are different ways to fix the corruption issues and we have shared two manual and one automated solution for our readers. By following the steps properly, users will be able to recover data from corrupt and formatted VMDK files also. If users want to recover the files using a simple method and without any data loss, they should try the tool mentioned in this post.