Contributor
Contributor

error: the specified file is not a virtual disk

Im running VMware Workstation on windows seven

i get this error when i open my virtual machine:

the specified file is not a virtual disk

i tried a lot of things and i couldnt solve the problem

my virtual disk had 0 kb, then i restored from a backup, and now it has 6Gb, but i still get the error

then i tried converting the .vmdk using starwind v2v converter. it said that the descriptor is too large

is there any way i can recover the files i had in the virtual disk or make it work again?

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21 Replies
Immortal
Immortal

Welcome to the forums!

Which version of VMware Workstation is in use?

Please post the content of the guest directory.

Was that guest created with VMware Workstation?

AWo

vExpert 2009/10/11 [:o]===[o:] [: ]o=o[ :] = Save forests! rent firewood! =
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Commander
Commander

If the VM won't start, one thing you could try is to attach that vmdk to another virtual machine as a secondary disk. This should let you get to your files.

*Please, don't forget the awarding points for "helpful" and/or "correct" answers
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Leadership
Leadership

Welcome to the Community,

you can try to map the virtual disk as a drive in your Windows hosts. Right click the vmdk and select "Map virtual disk ..."

Btw. do you still have the vmware.log file which was created after you first started the recovered vmdk. If yes, please attach it to your next post.

André

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Immortal
Immortal

If the VM won't start, one thing you could try is to attach that vmdk to another virtual machine as a secondary disk. This should let you get to your files.

While in some cases attaching a .vmdk file to another VM as a secondary disk certainly works nonetheless in a case when the error message is not a valid .vmdk file and an attempt to convert it says the descriptor is to large, then it's doubtful that attaching it to another VM will enable recovery.

What's needed here is hard technical information like what AWo and André have asked for and in addition that if its a monolithic disk then we'll need to see the Disk DescriptorFile portion of the disk and that will need to be extracted however I'll wait for the directory listing and or the vmware.log file before asking for that of giving direction how to extract it.  If the virtual hard disk is a split disk then the base .vmdk file, usually around ~4 kb, is the Disk DescriptorFile portion of the disk and that file will need to be attached in order to help determine why the program is reporting it's not a valid disk.

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Contributor
Contributor

I think the problem is with the vmdk file, I created a new disk and the vm runned normal, and I tried to make another virtual machine and use the hard disk and I got the same problem.

I dont understand much of this, but i have 5 log files. the last day it was working was day 22, and i dont have any log file ater this

I'll post these files anyway.

I saw some tutorials about the descriptor and extracted the descriptor, but I'm not sure about what I do now

the version is 6.5-7.x

the sftware version is 7.1

EDIT

forgot the content of the guest directory, yes it was VMware that created the directory

Caches/

Windows XP Professional (2).vmem.lck/

Windows XP Professional (2).vmx.lck/

vmware.log

vmware-0.log

vmware-1.log

vmware-2.log

vprintproxy.log

Windows XP Professional (2).nvram

Windows XP Professional (2).vmdk

Windows XP Professional (2).vmem

Windows XP Professional (2).vmsd

Windows XP Professional (2).vmx

Windows XP Professional (2).vmxf

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Immortal
Immortal

the descriptor is invalid - how exactly did you extract it ?

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - call me via skype "sanbarrow"
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Contributor
Contributor

i used dsfo, on the terminal:

dsfo.exe Windows XP Professional (2).vmdk 512 1024 descriptor.txt

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Immortal
Immortal

that is ok
can you please try

dsfo.exe "Windows XP Professional (2).vmdk" 0 2048 descriptor-big.txt

and attach it

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - call me via skype "sanbarrow"
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Contributor
Contributor

how the descriptor should look like?

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Immortal
Immortal

The descriptor-big.txt is corrupt.

Can you use the command continuum provided on the back copy you have?

how the descriptor should look like?

As an example:

# Disk DescriptorFile
version=1
encoding="UTF-8"
CID=fffffffe
parentCID=ffffffff
isNativeSnapshot="no"
createType="monolithicSparse"

# Extent description
RW 83886080 SPARSE "Windows XP Professional.vmdk"

# The Disk Data Base
#DDB

ddb.adapterType = "ide"
ddb.geometry.sectors = "63"
ddb.geometry.heads = "16"
ddb.geometry.cylinders = "16383"
ddb.uuid = "60 00 C2 91 13 bf 58 a8-03 f8 e0 b8 19 f5 5e 43"
ddb.longContentID = "5837668e97c769398995d85d841f82ed"
ddb.virtualHWVersion = "7"
ddb.deletable = "true"

In a hex editor...

In_a_Hex_Editor.png

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Immortal
Immortal

did you ever tried to hexedit the vmdk ?

this looks totally corropted - I doubt that fixing the header and the descriptor would work

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - call me via skype "sanbarrow"
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Contributor
Contributor

I tried making another descriptor, and using the command:

dsfi.exe "Windows XP Professional (2).vmdk" 512 1024 descriptor.txt

I'll attach the descriptor file i tried to write

EDIT

how do i hexedit the vmdk file? it has 6GB, isnt it a problem?

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Immortal
Immortal

fixing the descriptor will not help

if this really is the correct vmdk-file it has been truncated at the beginning


... and you should NOT hexedit vmdks !

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - call me via skype "sanbarrow"
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Contributor
Contributor

so i lost the disk?

its weird beacuse at day 22 it was still working, and i can have the file back to that day

I ve never tried hexediting the vmdk file

I believe it was corrupted when i tried installing linux, i got some erros and then some programs on my computer just stoped working, like firefox

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Immortal
Immortal

... and you should NOT hexedit vmdks !

Obviously one should not use them if one doesn't know what one is doing however I use Hex Editors on my .vmdk files all the time and have never corrupted one yet!  (Well except for when I'm intentionally doing so for experimentation/testing purposes.)

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Immortal
Immortal

@WoodyZ

I know that you can do it - that advice was not meant for you

did this VM ever crash completely ?
wonder how suchg a damage can occur - never seen something like this before

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - call me via skype "sanbarrow"
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Contributor
Contributor

no, it never crashed before, my other vm is still working

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Leadership
Leadership

Let's recap this issue:

  • the vmdk was 0 Bytes all of a sudden
  • you restored the vmdk from a backup (~6GB)
  • the header of the restored vmdk is corrupt

Some questions:

Did you backup the VM while it was running?

When did you run the last chkdsk c: /f on your Wndows host?

Can you run the dsfo.exe command on the backup vmdk (on the backup device)?

dsfo.exe "Windows XP Professional (2).vmdk" 0 2048 descriptor-big.txt

André

PS: One more important question. Did you exclude vmdk files from being scanned by your AV?

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Immortal
Immortal

did this VM ever crash completely ?

wonder how suchg a damage can occur - never seen something like this before

Don't know how Pedrolge93's virtual hard disk became corrupted however I've seen disk corruption such as this when the Host was shutdown hard while the VM is still running.

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