willwoodward
Contributor
Contributor

When will fusion incorporate expanding hard drive like parallels?

Hi. Maybe someone from VMWare can answer this one.

1) When will fusion incorporate an expanding hard drive option? I want to give windows as little space as possible and I also don't want to have to go through the process to increase the size of my virtual hard drive as outlined in other posts.

2) Is this feature not included by choice or is it on the "to do list?

The lack of this option is making me seriously consider switching back to parallels.

Thanks.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're driving at... but Fusion already has a feature for grow-as-needed virtual hard disks. When you build a virtual machine with Fusion, the disk size you specify is actually its maximum capacity: in other words, the capacity that the virtual machine believes it has. But the actual amount of disk space taken up in your Mac's filesystem by that disk is pretty much the amount of space used inside the disk (plus some overhead). For example, Vista (inside one of my VMs) believes it has a 16 GB disk. But that virtual disk only takes up 6 GB on disk.

As I understand it, Parallels has this feature too.

If you wanted to, you could make your VM's virtual disk insanely huge--in terms of the size your guest OS believed it was, and its effective maximum. Assuming you didn't load an insane amount of stuff into it, it would occupy a comparatively much smaller amount of real disk space on your Mac filesystem. Of course, then you'd run the risk of filling up your Mac filesystem with it. As for me, I like the fact that my VM's disk-space consumption is capped.

The folks you see in other posts who want to expand their virtual disks picked initial sizes for their virtual disks that proved, over time, to be too small. I've been there. Hence the procedure that Pat Lee wrote up for enlarging them.

I try not to keep useful files inside VMs. Instead, I keep them in my Mac home directory and access them from VMs using network shares. This allows me to reserve the VMs' disk space for operating system and applications.

Anyway, if you wanted to make sure that your VM always used the smallest amount of disk space as possible, you could use VMware Tools's "Shrink" functionality. This takes unused disk space inside the virtual disk and gives it back to the host (Mac, in this case) filesystem.

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willwoodward
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks for the reply, it helped clarify some points.

At the moment I have run out of space on my virtual hard drive. I understood that the "expanding hard drive" feature in parallels overcome this by growing as the virtual hard drive filled. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Is it planned/would it be possible to include this feature in future versions of Fusion? If so, when?

The process for increasing the size of the virtual hard drive, as outlined by Pat Lee is good. Is it planned to simplify this process in future realeases? If so, when?

Thanks for your help. It's great to see VMWare people are active on the forums.

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At the moment I have run out of space on my virtual

hard drive. I understood that the "expanding hard

drive" feature in parallels overcome this by growing

as the virtual hard drive filled. Please correct me

if I'm wrong. Is it planned/would it be possible to

include this feature in future versions of Fusion? If

so, when?

Actually, that is exactly what Brian explained...the feature is already available in Fusion. You can have a grow-able disk that only takes the space on the hard drive it actually requires at a given time. As Brian mentioned....his Vista virtual machine is created with a (virtual) hard drive of 16 GBytes. However, the physical size on the Mac OS file system is rather 6 GBytes so far. If he would install another 1 GByte of applications, the physical size would automatically increase to 7 GBytes. At the same time, Vista always sees the (virtual) hard drive as being 16 GBytes in size...

Ciao, Andreas

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willwoodward
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks Andreas. I need to explain myself more clearly and use the correct lingo. Here goes...

I assigned a maximum of 6gb physical space to my virtual hard drive and have already used 5.8gb. I understood "expanding hard drive" to mean that this 6gb would grow (eg, always leaving 1gb of physical free space for the virtual hard drive to expand into).

It seems that Parallels and Fusion both have this "expanding hard drive" feature, just that parallels markets it a little more.

This leads me back to an unanswered question. Will fusion incorporate an easier process to increase the physical size of the virtual hard drive in future releases (eg, increase the maximum size of my virtual hard drive from 6gb to 12gb), as opposed to the one outlined by Pat Lee? If so, when?

I hope this is clear. Thank-you for replying.

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This leads me back to an unanswered question. Will

fusion incorporate an easier process to increase the

physical size of the virtual hard drive in future

releases (eg, increase the maximum size of my virtual

hard drive from 6gb to 12gb), as opposed to the one

outlined by Pat Lee? If so, when?

Well....let me say two things to that...in general VMware does not provide any information about future functionality or their availability.

Having said this, I know that people have requested an easier way to deal with certain things such as the configuration as well as virtual disk management...so I guess there is a good chance to see something in a future release...

Ciao, Andreas

PS: I do not work for VMware though, so the above is my own opinion... Smiley Wink

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willwoodward
Contributor
Contributor

Thanks Andreas.

Would you care to comment Brian, or anyone from VMWare? Maybe even outline a possible timeframe...

This seems to be a simple feature that should be included asap! Maybe 1.0.1.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

It seems that Parallels and Fusion both have this

"expanding hard drive" feature, just that parallels

markets it a little more.

Aha, I think I figured out the source of the confusion here. In Parallels's Hard Disk Options screen, there's a checkbox for "Expanding." But, in Fusion, the equivalent feature is always used by default, and there isn't even a way to turn it off in the user interface. (We do provide a separate tool for converting an expanding virtual disk to a fixed-size virtual disk, called "vmware-vdiskmanager", about which I will say more below.)

I assigned a maximum of 6gb physical space to my

virtual hard drive and have already used 5.8gb. I

understood "expanding hard drive" to mean that this

6gb would grow (eg, always leaving 1gb of physical

free space for the virtual hard drive to expand

into).

Hmm, I am afraid you may have misunderstood the nature of expanding disks. Virtual disks (Parallels or VMware) don't auto-grow past their maximum sizes. I'd consider it a bug if they did!

My copy of Parallels 3.0 (build 4560) comes with a separate program called "Parallels Image Tool" that can enlarge a virtual disk's maximum capacity. But you have to run it explicitly, and you must do so when the VM is powered off. That's not a criticism of Parallels. In fact, VMware's vmware-vdiskmanager is also capable of enlarging a virtual disk's maximum capacity, and it too must be run when the VM is powered off.

Frankly, Parallels Image Tool and vmware-vdiskmanager both do the easy part of enlarging a virtual disk. The hard part is the file system inside the virtual disk: it has to grow somehow to take up the new space. And, if it was a boot disk, it needs to have its boot sector corrected to the new disk geometry, so that it'll still boot. This problem is why the makers of Partition Magic have made a lot of money. And, in fact, Partition Magic works just as well inside virtual disks as inside physical disks.

In Pat Lee's "how to grow a virtual disk" writeup, most of the heavy lifting is in fact devoted to this second problem. He has the reader download and use gparted[/i], a free alternative to Partition Magic.

In fact, if you check out the "Parallels Image Tool User Guide," you'll notice that it does not even attempt to explain how to enlarge your existing filesystem. Rather, it takes the simpler path of having you create a new partition in the newly created space and put a new, separate filesystem inside. As far as I know, you could use Pat's instructions just as well with your Parallels VM, substituting Parallels Image Tool for some of the early steps. Maybe Parallels should send Pat a check! Smiley Happy

Could all this be made easier? Well, to a certain limited extent. Our tool could use a graphical user interface. (Our colleague Eric Tung wrote a nice one that's a free download from this forum; it's not an official part of Fusion, and it's not supported, but it is mighty slick.) And Parallels Image Tool (build 4560) doesn't work on every kind of Parallels virtual disk, although vmware-vdiskmanager does work on every kind of Fusion virtual disk. So I'd say we're sort of even.

As Andreas says, VMware people never talk about unannounced features. In fact, I'm not even a member of the Fusion team, just a random interested VMware employee.

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admin
Immortal
Immortal

In Parallels's Hard Disk Options

screen, there's a checkbox for "Expanding." But, in

Fusion, the equivalent feature is always used by

default, and there isn't even a way to turn it off in

the user interface.

Actually, during the virtual machine creation process on the disk screen there's a triangle that shows advanced disk options. One of these options is to "Allocate all disk space now"

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danyul
Contributor
Contributor

---

Our colleague Eric Tung wrote a nice one that's a free download from this forum; it's not an official part of Fusion, and it's not supported, but it is mighty slick.

---

Could you kindly point me in the direction of the download? I couldn't seem to find it. Thank you! Best, Daniel

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Could you kindly point me in the direction of the

download? I couldn't seem to find it. Thank you!

You will find the tool in the following thread[/url]...

Ciao, Andreas

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