When you map a virtual disk and its associated volume to a drive on the host system, you can connect to the virtual disk without opening a virtual machine.

After you map the virtual disk to a drive on the host system, you cannot power on any virtual machine that uses the disk until you disconnect the disk from the host system.

Note

You cannot map a virtual hard disk for a shared or remote virtual machine.

Important

If you mount a virtual disk that has a snapshot and then write to the disk, you can irreparably damage a snapshot or linked clone created from the virtual machine.

Power off all virtual machines that use the virtual disk.

Verify that the virtual disk (.vmdk) files on the virtual disk are not compressed and do not have read-only permissions.

On a Windows host, verify that the volume is formatted with FAT (12/16/32) or NTFS. Only FAT (12/16/32) and NTFS formatting is supported. If the virtual disk has mixed partitions, for example, one partition is formatted with a Linux operating system and another partition is formatted with a Windows operating system, you can map the Windows partition only.

Verify that the virtual disk is unencrypted. You cannot map or mount encrypted disks.

1

Mount the virtual disk to a drive on the host system.

Option

Description

Windows host

Select File > Map Virtual Disks.

Linux host

Select File > Mount Virtual Disks.

2

Map or mount the virtual disk.

Option

Description

Windows host

In the Map or Disconnect Virtual Disks dialog box, click Map.

Linux host

In the Mount or Unmount Virtual Disks dialog box, click Mount Disk.

3

(Optional) You can also map a virtual disk from Windows Explorer.

a

Open Explorer and browse to the .vmdk file you want to map.

b

Right-click the .vmdk file and select Map Virtual Disk.

The menu also allows you to map the first volume of the .vmdk file to a drive immediately. If you select that option, no further configurations are needed.

4

On a Windows host, leave the check box Open file in read-only mode selected in the Map Virtual Disk dialog box.

This setting prevents you from accidentally writing data to a virtual disk that might be the parent of a snapshot or linked clone. Writing to such a disk might make the snapshot or linked clone unusable.

5

On a Linux host, select the Mount in read-only mode check box in the Mount Disk dialog box.

This setting prevents you from accidentally writing data to a virtual disk that might be the parent of a snapshot or linked clone. Writing to such a disk might make the snapshot or linked clone unusable.

6

Browse to a virtual disk (.vmdk) file, select it, and click Open.

7

Select the volume to map or mount and select an unused drive letter on the host system.

8

(Optional) On a Windows host, if you do not want the drive to open in Windows Explorer after it is mapped, deselect the Open drive in Windows Explorer after mapping check box.

9

Click OK or Mount.

The drive appears on the host system. You can read from or write to files on the mapped virtual disk on the host system.

10

(Optional) View the mapped or mounted drive.

Option

Description

Windows host

Select File > Map Virtual Disks. A list of mapped drives displays.

Linux host

Select File > Mount Virtual Disks. A list of mounted drives displays.