I have a VM with very important data contained inside which I urgently need.
Recently, I had an issue with the VM where it would constantly crash, so I wanted to revert to an old snapshot I have of the system in a clean, known working state.
To ensure I did not loose my data, I copied the entire VM directory to an external hard disk.
Once I had copied the data to an external hard disk, I powered off the VM reverted to a clean snapshot.
Once I had tested the snapshot and knew the system was working again as expected, I powered off the VM and edited the settings to include a second hard disk (I edited the location of the second disk to include the old VM hard disk on my external harddrive).
So, now my VM has 2 hard disks associtaed with it,
> The internal hard disk which contains the clean VM state
> The external hard disk which contains the old VM state with my data
However, once I powered on the machine the external hard disk state is identical to the state of the local hard disk - namely all my data is missing even though I backed up the entire disk
Why did this happen?
Have I lost my data?
How can I recover it?
right way to take copy of this VM was to clone it, instead of taking copy of it's VMDKs.
as you mentioned you have taken whole VM directory as Backup, I would say upload that VM (all the files of it) into a different folder in datastore. Register it back into inventory but do not power it on.
modify network adapter settings to connect that with a different network (may be isolated port group)
power it on and see if it comes up with all your data.
see if this works, we can then take your data back from it.
Your story lacks at least one important detail -so far it does not explain what happened.
If you want to recover the missing data do nothing before we really understood what happened here.
Feel free to contact me via skype "sanbarrow" if you need help with a recovery