How to Restore Deleted VMDK File

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VMDK files are extension files that support ‘’Virtual Machine disk’’. Like any other data files, VMDK files can also be deleted by accident. To restore deleted VMDK files, one needs to understand what VMDK files are? VMDK files are data files that can be deleted while importing ESX files from one place to another because of damaged storage disks.
Usually, VMDK files are deleted while adding files to Virtual machine. Adding the files to the virtual machine generates two files that are: .vmdk files and flat.vmdk files. From these files, either one can be deleted. The .vmdk file can be recovered by adding a disk to a virtual machine. Now, let’s take a look at a how-to method to tackle the situation.

There is no such portable method to restore deleted VMDK file. To support the user in tackling the problem, the market offers the best utility for recovering VMDK data files. One such third party utility is VMDK Recovery by ShDataRescue. Let’s take a look at some of the properties of the utility.

Advanced features of the Utility:

  • Restores data from corrupt VMDK files and store them at user-defined location.
  • Compatible with both SPART and FLAT dynamic disk types.
  • Recovers data of VMDK split files as a whole.
  • Offers two modes of recovery: standard and advanced to restore deleted files.
  • Highly supports partition tables: MBR(Master Reboot Record) and GPT(GUID Partition table).
  • User can set custom factors in advanced settings, according to his/her choice.
  • The utility supports Operating systems such as FAT32, FAT64, FAT16, FAT, HFS+(Mac), NTFS(Windows), and EXTX(Linux).
  • Allows previewing VMDK files in a hierarchical structure, before download.
  • It gives options for adding signatures to existing VMDK files, for parsing.
  • Auto-search VMDK files in the system directory.
  • Compatible with major versions of VMware, Oracle virtual box, Windows 7, Vista, XP, and 8.

Working of the Software

  1. Download and Install ShDataRescue VMDK Recovery, then select the disk type and VMDK split type. Next, hit Browse icon.
  2. Now, choose the corrupt/damage VMDK file you wish to repair, then hit Open.
  3. All the detailed information of selected file like file format version, size of hard disk, head, cylinder, sector per track will appear on the screen. Then, click on Next.
  4. Select from the two options of scanning mode: Standard and Advance, then check GPT format( for file partition). Now, “save disk image” to check GPT format and then hit Next.
  5. Then, scanning process completion message will display on your screen – hit “OK” to continue further.
  6. Choose the volume you wish to recover. One can use Custom settings for Selected Volume to define the start and ending value. Hit Add Custom Value if you wish to add a new volume level to the list. Hit Next to proceed further.
  7. Next, choose a recovery mode out of three options “Standard”, “Advanced”, and “Deep”. Press next to start recovery.
  8. The recovery process will then start to recover corrupt/damaged data from VMDK file.
  9. After process completion, Hit OK to move to the next step.
  10. The software will then show you the preview of VMDF files in a tree structure. Select a file you wish to save.
  11. Now, browse a location where you wish to save the VMDK recovered files.
  12. After choosing a location, the VMDK files will be saved to the user-defined location.
  13. Now, the saving process is successfully completed, you can now view the recovered VMDK files.


The above discussed third party utility assures to restore deleted VMDK file. It is recommended to always choose an optimized method recommended by experts. No such method is stated as a pre-measured so, the market offers a variety of solutions to save VMDK files and folders. I hope you find this tip helpful.

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