When you create a virtual machine, Workstation creates a set of files for that specific virtual machine. Virtual machine files are stored in either the virtual machines directory or the working directory. Both directories are typically on the host system.

Virtual Machine Files


File Name




The primary configuration file, which stores virtual machine settings. If you created the virtual machine with an earlier version of Workstation on a Linux host, this file might have a .cfg extension.





The main log file. If you need to troubleshoot a problem, refer to this file. This file is stored in the same directory as the .vmx file.





The NVRAM file, which stores the state of the virtual machine BIOS. This file is stored in the same directory as the .vmx file.



Virtual disk files, which store the contents of the virtual machine hard disk drive. These files are stored in the same directory as the .vmx file.

A virtual disk is made up of one or more virtual disk files. The virtual machine settings show the name of the first file in the set. This file contains pointers to the other files in the set.

If you specify that all disk space should be allocated when the virtual disk is created, these files start at the maximum size and do not grow. Almost all of the file content is virtual machine data. A small portion of the file is allotted to virtual machine overhead.

If the virtual machine is connected directly to a physical disk, the virtual disk file stores information about the partitions that the virtual machine is allowed to access.


Earlier VMware products use the .dsk extension for virtual disk files.


If you specified that the files can increase, filenames include an s in the file number, for example, Windows 7-s001.vmdk.

If you specified that the virtual disk is divided into 2GB sections, the number of files depends on the size of the virtual disk. As data is added to a virtual disk, the files increase to a maximum of 2GB each.


If all disk space was allocated when the disk was created, filenames include an f, for example, Windows 7-f001.vmdk.


If the virtual machine has one or more snapshots, some files are redo log files. These files store changes made to a virtual disk while the virtual machine is running. The ### indicates a unique suffix that Workstation adds to avoid duplicate file names.



The virtual machine paging file, which backs up the guest main memory on the host file system. This file exists only when the virtual machine is running or if the virtual machine fails. It is stored in the working directory.


Each snapshot of a virtual machine that is powered on has an associated .vmem file, which contains the guest operating system main memory, saved as part of the snapshot.



A centralized file for storing information and metadata about snapshots. It is stored in the working directory.



The snapshot state file, which stores the running state of a virtual machine at the time you take that snapshot. It is stored in the working directory.


The file that stores the state of a snapshot.



The suspended state file, which stores the state of a suspended virtual machine. It is stored in the working directory.

Some earlier VMware products used the .std extension for suspended state files.

Other files, such as lock files, might also be present in the virtual machines directory. Some files are present only while a virtual machine is running.