How to Open VMware VMDK File in Windows 10/8.1 and 7

If you have a VMDK file in your system, most probably your have VMware workstation or VMplayer or even the VMware Hypervisor installed in your computer. For some reasons, you may need to open a VMDK file to read the content from your host Operating System which can be Windows 10 or 8.1. In this guide let me show the simple and easy method to open a VMware VMDK file in Windows 10, the same method is applicable for any other Windows OS such as 8.1 and 7 as long as your have VMware in your computer.

Vice versa, you can access the Physical hard disk (like C or D drive of the host computer) inside VMware Virtual Machine by following method mentioned here. But, this article explains how you can access the Virtual disk (VMDK file) in Windows without opening VMware software. This method could be ideal when you have a Virtual machine which is not booting, but you need to access some important data inside the virtual machine which is stored on the VMDK file. In another case, you have a VMDK file which contains important data, but it is not bootable or part of non-bootable partition in a different virtual machine that belongs to the different host. By using the below method, you can open the VMware virtual machine file VMDK in Windows 10/8. easily.

Steps to Open VMware VMDK File in Windows 10/8.1 and 7

  1. Locate the Virtual Disk file you want to open or edit in Windows host OS. Right click on it as below.

How to Open VMware File in Windows 10

2. You must have VMware workstation on the host computer. Most of the time the VMDK files would have already associated with the VMware program. Once your Windows 10 or 8.1 host computer knows that VMDK files should be opened by VMware Workstation program, you will see an option called “Map Virtual Disk..” as shown above. If you notice, there is another option below called “Map First Volume as Z:”, it will automatically mount and open the first volume in the VMDK file. We are not sure what is the first volume, mostly it would be the system reserved disk on the bootable partition, it will not be helpful if you want to open the C drive from the VMDK file. So, better select the first option “Map Virtual Disk..” and see the partitions, then select the desired partition inside VMDK virtual disk file to mount.

3) It is always recommended to open the VMDK files in the Read-only format to prevent any modification inside the virtual disk which may cause booting or Operating system issues in the virtual machine. If you are sure what you are doing, then remove the tick shown by arrow mark and open the drive with writing access. This method will help to modify some boot options, overwrite corrupted files and any other tasks you can do in virtual disk to boot the virtual machine. Once the ‘Map Virtual Disk” option opened, select the partition you want to open on the host computer, modify the Read-only access (required) and the mount point drive letter.

Select The Partition And Mount

Above example shows that I selected the 2nd partition (which is the C drive of the Virtual machine) with the read-only access. Z is the drive letter of the mount point on my Windows 10 host.

4) Here is the VMDK file mounted on the Windows Explorer with the specific drive letter.

Opended Disk

5)  Now I can easily copy the data from the virtual hard disk (VMDK) to host Windows 10 or 8.1/1 through Windows Explorer. Since I opned opened in Read-only access, I can’t delete or modify any files inside the opned VMDK file.


Remember to unmount (Disconnect) the file once your task complted. Otherwise you can’t use the VMDK file in VMware programs or move the file to diffrent location.

Disconnect Disk

I hope this guide is useful in opening the VMware VMDK file in Windows 10, 8.1 and 7 easily. Though there are several 3rd party tools available to mound or extratct the VMDK files, some are complicated paid versions. This method can be done without any tools if you have VMware workstaion in your computer.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

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