Update: Please, also check out my first impressions about VMware Converter 3.0 final.
Some weeks ago, I published an article where I explained how to expand a virtual VMware disk. The whole procedure is quite complicated and time consuming. However, with VMware Converter 3, it is now much easier to enlarge a virtual disk.

Latest posts by Michael Pietroforte (see all)

The main purpose of VMware Converter is to convert physical machines to virtual machines. Moreover, you can use it to expand virtual disks. I tried this feature today with a VMware Workstation virtual machine and was quite satisfied with the result.

My virtual test server was a Windows Server 2003 SP1 machine with two virtual disks, both with 4 GB of disk space. I selected "standalone virtual machine" as the source and destination system in the VMware Converter wizard. To expand the size of the virtual disks, I chose "Select volumes and resize to save or add space." This allowed me to change the size of each volume separately. I set the disk space of both volumes to 50 GB.

The whole conversion process took about 75 minutes, which is quite long considering that VMware Converter was running on a relatively new server. The source and destination machines were both on the same physical server.

The new virtual machine booted up without problems. As expected, both volumes were enlarged. However, I had a problem with the VMware tools. They were still installed, but the mouse pointer was quite jerky, which happens if you access a virtual machine remotely without VMware tools installed. I reinstalled them and everything worked fine afterward.

I then tried to convert a running virtual machine, but VMware Converter informed me that I had to shut down this machine first. It seems that VMware Converter doesn't support hot cloning of virtual machines. Therefore, I am not sure if you can use the Starter Edition to expand virtual disks since only the Enterprise Edition supports cold cloning.

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You can at least use the beta for this purpose. So, if your have some virtual machines where you want to resize the disks, I suggest you do this now.

  1. Avatar
    Brian 17 years ago

    Did the clone, and resize, then boot to Windows Server 2003 in my Vista Premium Laptop and it still shows 4GB on the VM system. The settings confirm 6GB. I’ll try to do a few more tweaks to see if I can get it going.

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    jokerc 16 years ago


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    Kelly 16 years ago

    this really helped

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    theUtmost 16 years ago

    Sorry in advance for posting this again, I’m just trying to be helpful…

    Essentially there is ALSO a way to do this using a standard vmware workstation v6 without any extra functions, addons or tools, or using any commandline tools. You do it all from the plain vanilla vmware GUI. I cannot vouch for earlier versions – you may need to use the vmware Converter tool.

    See my comment #24 on this post:

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    Gabriel 16 years ago

    Does this work when snapshots are used?

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    theUtmost 16 years ago

    @Gabriel – which process are you referring to?
    The VM Converter procedure as outlined by Michael?
    Can’t answer that sorry – never tried it.

    As for using the VM Import wizard (as outlined in my comment #24 on the other post):
    “…if you have multiple snapshots, you can keep whatever state you would like for the new VM, although the new VM will not be able to USE any of the snapshots in the old machine. However, you still have the original VM machine unaltered as a backup”
    Hope that helps

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    Gabriel 16 years ago

    The solution I used was to clone the latest snapshot (making a ‘full clone’) and then using that as a starting point to resize.

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    Paul Coddington 16 years ago

    Hmm… seeing an interesting problem with this tool.

    I tried increasing a machine from 25GB to 50GB, and the result is:

    1. VMware reports 50GB.
    2. Guest ‘Windows Disk Manager’ reports 50GB.
    3. Guest ‘Windows Explorer’ reports 25GB.
    4. Guest ‘chkdsk’ reports 25GB.

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    Paul Coddington 16 years ago

    Of course, doing it the old-fashioned way works just fine, even better in fact:

    1. Add an extra disk to the VM.
    2. Boot the VM with an Acronis TrueImage CD in the CD-ROM.
    3. Format the new disk using TrueImage.
    4. Backup system to extra disk.
    5. Shutdown VM.
    6. Delete and recreate system disk in larger/smaller size, preallocated or dynamic, as desired.
    7. Disconnect and reconnect all virtual hard disks in required order (to ensure IDE assignments are correct).
    8. Boot from CD.
    9. Format the new blank system disk using TrueImage.
    10. Reboot from CD to reassign drive letters.
    11. Restore image from backup to C: drive.
    12. Shutdown VM.
    13. Delete backup disk.

    Viola: system boots, disk space is increased, no need to repair VMware Tools, gets around VMware 6 not recognising Vista as importable, etc.

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    David Faure 15 years ago

    Paul (comment #12): you need to use ntfsresize to enlarge the filesystem, as explained in http://weblogs.asp.net/kdente/archive/2006/01/07/434789.aspx, I think.

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    David Faure 15 years ago

    Then again, I just used VMWare Converter 3.0.3 (with source other and destination other, to convert from a VMWare image to a VMWare image), and the NTFS partition seems to have resized automatically. I see the new size in Explorer immediately after booting the new image. So ntfsresize doesn’t seem to be needed after all.

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    Piotr Findeisen 15 years ago
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    rsbrux 11 years ago

    Unfortunately, VM converter insists on assignin a new SID and removing domain membership, making the new image a different machine. That makes this method unusable for me.

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