Tips

Mount Up!

Sneak a peek at the contents of your virtual drives.

Last time, we talked about how to manipulate your virtual disks using the vmware-vdiskmanager.exe tool that comes with the VMware Workstation installation. This tool lets you manage the format, size, and fragmentation of your virtual disks. But, what if you need to “open up” a virtual disk and see what’s inside?

Think of the VMware Disk Mount Utility as the virtualization equivalent of using a steam iron to secretly unwrap your Christmas presents. To see what’s inside, you don’t actually have to create a virtual machine. Instead, you can sneak a peek by mapping the virtual disk to a drive letter on your host machine.

To do this, use this command:

vmware-mount.exe [drive letter] [path to virtual disk]

You’ll see the contents of that virtual disk show up in My Computer as a mapped drive. If that virtual disk contains multiple partitions, you’ll need to use the /v:N command to identify the partition number you’re interested in opening. To view available partitions, use the /p command.

Unlike Virtual Disk Manager, VMware Disk Mount isn’t natively available when you install VMware Workstation. You’ll need to search for and download it from the VMware Web site.

About the Author

Greg Shields is Author Evangelist with PluralSight, and is a globally-recognized expert on systems management, virtualization, and cloud technologies. A multiple-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP, VMware vExpert, and Citrix CTP awards, Greg is a contributing editor for Redmond Magazine and Virtualization Review Magazine, and is a frequent speaker at IT conferences worldwide. Reach him on Twitter at @concentratedgreg.

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