You can add an existing virtual hard disk to a virtual machine when you customize the virtual machine hardware during the virtual machine creation process or after the virtual machine is created. For example, you might want to add an existing hard disk that is preconfigured as a boot disk.

During virtual machine creation, a hard disk and a SCSI or SATA controller are added to the virtual machine by default, based on the guest operating system that you select. If this disk does not meet your needs, you can remove it and add an existing hard disk at the end of the creation process.

Make sure that you are familiar with controller and virtual device node behavior for different virtual hard disk configurations. See Add a Hard Disk to a Virtual Machine.

Before you add disks greater than 2TB to a virtual machine, see Large Capacity Virtual Disk Conditions and Limitations.

Verify that you have the Virtual machine.Configuration.Add existing disk privilege on the destination folder or datastore.


Right-click a virtual machine in the inventory and select Edit Settings.


(Optional) To delete the existing hard disk, move your cursor over the disk and click the Remove icon.

The disk is removed from the virtual machine. If other virtual machines share the disk, the disk files are not deleted.


On the Virtual Hardware tab, select Existing Hard Disk from the New device drop-down menu and click Add.


In the Datastores column, expand a datastore, select a virtual machine folder, and select the disk to add.

The disk file appears in the Contents column. The File Type drop-down menu shows the compatibility file types for this disk.


Click OK.

(Optional) Change the virtual disk configuration. See Change the Virtual Disk Configuration.

(Optional) Use disk shares to prioritize virtual machine access to this disk. See Use Disk Shares to Prioritize Virtual Machines.