Mounting VMware Workstation snapshots with split vmdk files

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  1. Posts : 138
    Windows 10
       #1

    Mounting VMware Workstation snapshots with split vmdk files


    I recently migrated from Hyper-V to VMware Workstation. As someone that has used Parallels Desktop on OS X (now macOS) for years, I find the capabilities (such as VMware Tools integration) of VMware as well as UI superior -- just my opinion.

    However, I am attempting to capture an image of a VM created in VMware Workstation to deploy on other PCs (similar to @Kari informative tutorial here). My issue is with Hyper-V, mounting a snapshot image via disk-mgmt was straight forward; but with VMware, my VM disk is based on split
    .vdmk files and am not sure which file to mount using the "File --> Map Virtual Disk" function.

    Also, out of curiosity, is there a way to mount the hard-disk of one VM inside another VM Guest OS? I would appreciate help from anyone and would also like to hear from @jimbo45 as you seem familiar with VMware as well.

    Mounting VMware Workstation snapshots with split vmdk files-vm_capture.png
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  2. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 17,607
    Windows 10 Pro
       #2

    KabyBlue said:
    I am attempting to capture an image of a VM created in VMware Workstation to deploy on other PCs (similar to @Kari informative tutorial here). My issue is with Hyper-V, mounting a snapshot image via disk-mgmt was straight forward; but with VMware, my VM disk is based on split[/FONT][/COLOR] .vdmk files and am not sure which file to mount using the "File --> Map Virtual Disk" function.
    Why don't you just capture the image on VM instead? Instructions on tutorial you mentioned show how to do it. First check step 7.7 and create those two folders told in that step before sysprepping, and sysprep as told in steps 7.8 & 7.9. Continue from 7.10 to change VM boot order, booting it either from Windows install media or WinPE, and just follow the instructions to do the capture.


    KabyBlue said:
    Also, out of curiosity, is there a way to mount the hard-disk of one VM inside another VM Guest OS? I would appreciate help from anyone and would also like to hear from @jimbo45 as you seem familiar with VMware as well.
    Open elevated Command Prompt, CD to folder containing your split VHD files. Enter following command to merge split VHD to one single VHD file:

    "C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware-vdiskmanager" -r SplitFileName.vmdk -t 0 NewMergedSingleVHDName.vmdk

    Kari
    Last edited by Kari; 13 May 2018 at 07:54. Reason: Serious typo fixed
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  3. Posts : 138
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Kari said:
    Why don't you just capture the image on VM instead? Instructions on tutorial you mentioned show how to do it. First check step 7.7 and create those two folders told in that step before sysprepping, then continue from 7.10 to change VM boot order, booting it either from Windows install media or WinPE, and just follow the instructions to do the capture.
    Thnx for the response. And that's definitely a great option. I was still curios nonetheless on understanding which file to mount when dealing w/ split files.

    Kari said:
    Open elevated Command Prompt, CD to folder containing your split VHD files. Enter following command to merge split VHD to one single VHD file:

    "C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation\VMware\vdiskmanager" -r SplitFileName.vmdk -t 0 NewMergedSingleVHDName.vmdk
    Am glad you brought up the "merging split .vdmk" file option @Kari as it's a segue to my next question...

    Personally, do you recommend using split .vdmk files or a single .vdmk monolithic files in regards to performance. When I was creating my VM, I had the option to go with either but chose split files based on the post from other users here and here and I figured as the split VHD option was the default, VMware must have a good reason why?
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  4. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 17,607
    Windows 10 Pro
       #4

    KabyBlue said:
    Thnx for the response. And that's definitely a great option. I was still curios nonetheless on understanding which file to mount when dealing w/ split files.



    Am glad you brought up the "merging split .vdmk" file option @Kari as it's a segue to my next question...

    Personally, do you recommend using split .vdmk files or a single .vdmk monolithic files in regards to performance. When I was creating my VM, I had the option to go with either but chose split files based on the post from other users here and here and I figured as the split VHD option was the default, VMware must have a good reason why?
    First, before merging, I hade a serious typo in my post, I had replaced a hyphen in command name with a backslash (had typed VMware\vdiskmanager when it should be VMware-vdiskmanager). Command sample is now edited in my previous post.

    I have very little knowledge about VMware. I only know the basic command line options like how to merge split VHD but I have no further knowledge about the pros and cons of it. I am a Hyper-V fanboy and have very limited VMware experience.

    Kari
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  5. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 11,012
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #5

    Hi folks

    @KabyBlue

    @Kari

    I'm confused as to what the OP wants to do

    If you've got both VM's up and running concurrently then just simple network sharing the HDD's (the fact they are virtual HDD's as far as the HOST is concerned is irrelevant.

    The other way is simply in the 2nd VM's configuration is to "Use existing Virtual Hard Disk" in the add hardware section.

    Mounting VMware Workstation snapshots with split vmdk files-vhd.png

    Although this is for create virtual machine -- same process is for existing VM's just go into edit config -- I'm running 4 VM's now so I cant edit those on the fly -- same idea though.

    Of course cloning VM's is easy enough either take a Macrium image from within the VM or just copy the whole thing (vmx, vdmk etc).

    Note though if creating / moving Windows VM's -- when the new VM starts up answer "I Moved it" rather than "I copied it" at first power on the VM otherwise you'll probably lose Windows activation.

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  6. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 17,607
    Windows 10 Pro
       #6

    After sysprepping a custom Windows installation on a VM, OP wants to capture it to an install.wim file. To do that there are two options: either boot the VM from WinPE and capture image with DISM, or mount the virtual hard disk of the VM on host and capture image on host.

    Kari
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  7. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 11,012
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #7

    Hi there

    I still think the easiest way would be to just use something like Macrium on the VM

    then in new vm's you can boot the bootable macrium restore program (set that as the .iso in boot to firmware in the VMware workstation before powering on) and then capture the image created from the original VM. If the VM has networking with the host just copy the macrium image to the Host. Job done as you can then use the macrium program to restore the image to any number of VM's you want.

    But do say you MOVED rather than Copied the VM at first power on or windows activation will go bonkers.

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  8. Posts : 138
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #8

    Kari said:
    After sysprepping a custom Windows installation on a VM, OP wants to capture it to an install.wim file. To do that there are two options: either boot the VM from WinPE and capture image with DISM, or mount the virtual hard disk of the VM on host and capture image on host.
    Thnx for clarifying my intent @Kari to @jimbo45. Appreciate you guys' help...

    I have run into a new issue, but this is in relation to capturing the image so am hoping any of you could help. I was successfully able to merge my .vdmk files into a single file and am now trying test capturing the image via my host -- Windows 10 ver. 1709 Pro x64. When I run the /capture-image command I get the following error...

    Mounting VMware Workstation snapshots with split vmdk files-dism-cmd.png

    Mounting VMware Workstation snapshots with split vmdk files-explorer.png

    Mounting VMware Workstation snapshots with split vmdk files-dismlog.png
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  9. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 17,607
    Windows 10 Pro
       #9

    Your DISM command syntax is correct. Do you have Deployment Tools from Windows ADK installed? If so, run Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment from Start > W > Windows Kits as an admin instead of Command Prompt and try again.

    Deployment and Imaging Tools Environment has an annoyingly long prompt by default. You might first want to cd to root:

    Mounting VMware Workstation snapshots with split vmdk files-image.png
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  10. Posts : 668
    Win 10 pro
       #10

    ... When I was creating my VM, I had the option to go with either but chose split files based on the post from other users here and here and I figured as the split VHD option was the default, VMware must have a good reason why?
    Split VHD is probably the most conservative and less performant option, if you need to move/backup to file system with size limit you're out of luck when your virtual disk is something like 100 Gb; top (among other vmware options) performance with preallocated disk space.
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