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How to Increase VMware Hard Disk Space

Updated on December 10, 2009

Increase Virtual Machine Partition

A common issue that people run into when using VMware is that once they have created there virtual machine and installed there OS and everything else they eventually run out of room and decide to increase the Virtual machines hard disk / partition.

For this example I am running VMware server on Windows Vista , WIth one virtual machine running Linux Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy and will go through the steps to increase my harddrive size from 15GB to 25GB

Increasing Hard Disk Size on your Virtual Machine ( VMware )

Step 1.

Firs thing to do is locate the location of vmware.exe on your PC typically it will be in C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Server or VMware Workstation

Once you have located your vmware.exe file open up command prompt on Windows. [Start -> Run -> type "cmd" in the window then press ENTER

Now navigate into the vmware.exe directory , in this case simply C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Server

From here type vmware-vdiskmanager -x 25GB image.vmdk

- 25GB in this case we would like to make the NEW size 25GB , this method will not remove any exisiting files

- image.vmdk , Name of your Virtual Machine disk my example was Ubuntu.vmdk, if for some reason it doesn't work type the entire path of the vmdk file for example

vmware-vdiskmanager -x 25GB D:\Virtual Machines\Ubuntu\Ubuntu.vmdk

Extending Partition / Hard Disk

Now that you have used the VMware diskmanager to increase size of the Virtual Disk Space , this will create a new parition that 10GB in this case ( original 15GB + 10GB increase). This increased size will not automatically show up when we reboot our Virtual Machine. We need to carry out a few extra steps to make use of this newly created space , this involves extending the partition or merging two partitions together.

Step 2.

Before trying to extend your harddrive to include the newly created partition, you will need to open vmdk file in a second virtual machine. The reason for this is that you cannot extend a partition on a drive that you are actually using system files on, It has to be set as the secondary drive.

So go through the steps of making a new virtual machine and give it 4-5GB or so it doesn't need to be huge. You wont actually need to load any Operating system on it if you use the LiveCD. Before you run your second virtual machine you will need to add the harddrive you wish to increase onto that system , see screenshot

Select your 2nd/Other Virtual Machine, then select Edit virtual machine settings, Click Add, Select Harddrive and use exisiting virtual then load your original harddisk , in my case Ubuntu.vmdk
Select your 2nd/Other Virtual Machine, then select Edit virtual machine settings, Click Add, Select Harddrive and use exisiting virtual then load your original harddisk , in my case Ubuntu.vmdk
Choose to start Ubuntu without installing it, Run it off the CD (LiveCD)
Choose to start Ubuntu without installing it, Run it off the CD (LiveCD)


Now that you have created your secondary virtual machine, Boot it up and in order to extend our virtual hard disk we will use an inbuilt linux tool called gparted , there are also many other partitioning programs out there including fdisk and many others.

Now we want to load up our ubuntu LiveCD instead of having to install an Operating System, To get your virtual machine to boot up from your LiveCD do the following.

- Use Daemon Tools or any other mounting program and mount your Ubuntu.iso image.

- Start your virtual machine and soon as it starts press ESC to enter the boot menu and from here select CD-ROM

- This will start your secondary virtual machine with the Ubuntu LiveCD

Running Gparted ( Partitioning Program )

To run gparted simply enter the terminal window and type "gparted" , and this will open the gparted gui window. ( Remember to issue this command with root privledges )

Once gparted has started you will see a window similar to below, We see two parition that we want to join together below circled in red, To extend the exisitng partition to the unallocated partition use the resize button to increase the size of the exisiting partition to increase the size.

( Ensure the harddrive is unmounted, and swapoff )

Not my original screenshot for this case but you get the drift:)
Not my original screenshot for this case but you get the drift:)
Resizing Partition , simply drag the handle across to pick a size or type in desired size
Resizing Partition , simply drag the handle across to pick a size or type in desired size

Finishing Up

 Now once you have resized your partition to include the unallocated partition size click apply. This may take sometime for it to resize the partition size.

Once this is complete shutdown the virtual machine and remove the secondary harddrive you added in the previous section. Boot your original virtual machine and you should have successfully extended your hard disk space.

Gparted LiveCD

There is also a gparted LiveCD which can be run if you have trouble deleting and creating partitions. Simply mount the gparted LiveCD and follow the prompts.


Other Methods

If you have made your way through this howto and still unable to get it to work you could try the Vmware Converter which can do all this tasks a lot easier, ( yeaa should've told you a lot earlier) it's a free download and can perform partition extensions easily.

VMware Converter

Windows Method

After you have loaded the secondary harddrive on the secondary virtual machine (windows in this case) to fix the partitions. Run the command prompt and enter "diskpart.exe" or if that doesn't work locate its location and run it through cmd using the directory locations.

Steps - type

- show volume

select volume 2 ( in this case , double check to make sure you have the right one)



Then simply shutdown this virtual machine, remove the secondary hard disk, then startup the original virtual machine.

Any QUESTIONS let me know I will try to help you:)


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    • profile image

      David 6 years ago

      Tried all i read here... but unfortunally it ends by saying that "the disk is full". tried through CMD.. through VMware station tools to expand..nothing. all i left todo is only write new OS in WM station.

    • profile image

      gunsleep 7 years ago

      vmware workstation 7.1.3

      go to hardware tab hi light on Hard Disk(SCSI) then

      click utility tab and choose Expand and put your HD new value

      very easy for me

    • profile image

      Eldad 7 years ago

      Thank you. very helpful :)

      One problem that I had run into was that I had a swap partition after the original partition that had prevented me from extending the original partition. I had to delete the swap partition (from the original virtual machine) before I could extend the original partition as described here. For more reference this is a post I had found that describe how to remove the swap partition using gparted.


    • profile image

      Victor 7 years ago

      Nice, simple and straight forward.

      Thanks very much - it helps me a lot.


    • profile image

      Gurmeet 7 years ago

      It works well. thanks for useful info..

    • save my system profile image

      save my system 7 years ago from United Kingdom - London

      VMware is essential if you are running some dummy software's to check. It won't affect performance of moan operating system. With Vm ware you can check the operation of system as whole.

    • expectus profile image

      expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder

      kuji sun , Jan - thanks for tips, this is quite an old tutorial so it may be a bit outdated as they have made it a lot easier to increase hdd size allocation

    • profile image

      Jan 7 years ago

      Nice tutorial, thank you. One comment though: When using a live CD you do not even require a second virtual machine. Just mount the live CD and boot from it, works perfectly as well.

    • profile image 7 years ago from bear, de, 19701

      Great hub. really helpful. Thanks a lot

    • profile image

      Juan 7 years ago

      Thank for information. It's work perfect!!

    • profile image

      kuji sun 7 years ago

      no offense but increasing virtual disk space is easily done with a few click of the mouse with parallels. I wonder why i changed to vmware :)

    • profile image

      JooseyJay 7 years ago

      I'm using VMware Player, on a Vista x64 Host OS, with a Windows 7 x64 Guest OS... The location of my virtual HDD is "C:\Users\Joosey\Desktop\Virtual Machines\Windows 7 x64.vmdl"....

      How would I write out the command to change it from a 25GB Virtual Disk to a 30 GB Virtual Disk?

    • expectus profile image

      expectus 8 years ago from Land Downunder

      do you mean you wanted more pictures? or do you have to delete partitions before extending them?

    • profile image

      Anh Tu Nguyen 8 years ago

      Do you have to delete all the snapshot before extending the virtual disk? I've been mentioned somewhere out there :)

    • expectus profile image

      expectus 8 years ago from Land Downunder

      bobak- you might just have to try increasing them individually

    • profile image

       8 years ago

      I don't have any single idea that i can improve hard disc size of virtual machine. I needed virtual machine for my software testing projects, and sometimes it is bit complicated to install new files due to lack of free space. Thank you so much for such valuable guidelines. Information on partition is really helpful.

    • profile image

      Bobak 8 years ago

      I have more than one .vmdk, so what should I write in the command line? I have :

      Windows XP Professional-cl1.vmdk

      Windows XP Professional-cl1-s001.vmdk

      Windows XP Professional-cl1-s002.vmdk

      Windows XP Professional-cl1-s003.vmdk

      Windows XP Professional-cl1-s004.vmdk

      Windows XP Professional-cl1-s005.vmdk


    • profile image

      Elixir 8 years ago

      This worked perfectly! Nice how-to!!

    • Johnvincent profile image

      Johnvincent 8 years ago

      Nice information, I was looking for this type of guide online

    • harrisdy profile image

      hdy 8 years ago from Texas

      great hub!

    • profile image

      prix 8 years ago

      works perfect. thanks a lot,

      otherwise i had do all again..

    • sukhera143 profile image

      sukhera143 8 years ago from Home

      useful information. Thanks

    • profile image

      Prabu 8 years ago

      Thanks for your Valuable Information. Nice Topics

    • expectus profile image

      expectus 8 years ago from Land Downunder

      glad it helped hmtrung :)

    • profile image

      hmtrung 8 years ago

      Thanks, it works perfectly

    • askjanbrass profile image

      askjanbrass 8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Great information in you Hub!!


    • expectus profile image

      expectus 8 years ago from Land Downunder

      thanks M.H. Hazarah and jonty :)

      thanks the path command

    • profile image

      M. H. Hazarah 8 years ago

      If you have multiple virtual machine and you wan to increase the size of one of those located in same physical partition then you need to specify the path, otherwise the information is corretc. The path command should be corrected as follows

      vmware-vdiskmanager -x 25GB "D:\Virtual Machines\Ubuntu\Ubuntu.vmdk

      The quote is missing in the original information.

    • profile image

      jonty 8 years ago

      Very well written hub .....

      very much informative ....

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful information ....

      Keep up the good work ....

      God bless you .......

    • expectus profile image

      expectus 8 years ago from Land Downunder

      thanks for the comments, sujit, abhilash p d and rdcornel

      will add some more info on starting the second VM without any OS. It should be straight forward just start it up and make sure there is a cd-rom in the drive or mount an image for your operating system. Will recognize it and go through with the installation:)

    • profile image

      rdcornel 8 years ago

      Thanks, this information are very helpful.

    • profile image

      abhilash p d 8 years ago


    • expectus profile image

      expectus 8 years ago from Land Downunder

      Your welcome Steven Tuxfield:) same thing happened to me that's the reason I made this hub:)

    • profile image

      Steven Tuxfield 8 years ago

      Thank you so much, expectus. I spent a long time in installing Debian and all the useful software on VMware, but I found I ran out of hard disk (99% used up) when I finally set every thing well. You saved me, expectus.

    • Jimmy Fuentes profile image

      Jimmy Fuentes 9 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga

      Very helpful hub. I always ran into that problem. Plus vm ware ran a little slow so I just put windows on boot camp. Thanks for the info

    • expectus profile image

      expectus 9 years ago from Land Downunder

      Your Welcome:) glad it helped

    • profile image

      Freelancer München 9 years ago

      Thx - this was exactly what I was looking for :-)

    • expectus profile image

      expectus 9 years ago from Land Downunder

      thanks for the comment, you would think a simple thing like increasing hand disk space allocated would be well "simple" but it isn't always. I hear that vmware server 2 is much easier to use and it may have an inbuilt tool to help increase hard-disk size.

      Otherwise its always best to allow for future space needs:)

    • expectus profile image

      expectus 9 years ago from Land Downunder

      my pleasure, hope it helped:)

    • profile image

      M. HD projector 9 years ago

      Nice ,, thanks for adding

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 9 years ago

      thanks for this useful info


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