How to Expand VM Disk in VMware Workstation

After VMware Workstation 7, we can expand the existing disks in the virtual machine easily in Graphical user interface. This guide shows how to extend and increase the disk size of a virtual hard disk on an existing virtual machine.

This feature can allow you to add some more space inside the virtual machine hard disk, For example, if the C drive of the virtual machine is running out of space, we can easily increase it from the Virtual Machine settings then extend inside the guest OS.

Easy Steps to Expand Disk in VMware Workstation

The below screenshots were taken from the older version, but it is applicable for the latest version of VMware workstation 15 (as on updating this guide).

There are two major steps involved in extending the virtual machine hard disk on VMware workstation.

  1. Increase the disk size from the VMware settings ( The VMDK file size will be increased, make sure you have enough space on the physical disk partition)
  2. Extend the partition from guest Operating System. Initially, the guest OS will see the newly extended space as unallocated space only, we need to extend the existing partition (in this case, the C drive) to this unallocated space. Some of the older Windows Operating Systems do not support this feature.

Obviously, the virtual machine should be completely powered off to make the changes in hardware settings.

1)    Click on Edit virtual machine settings and select the hard disk you want to expand.

hdd

2) In this example, the current size of the disk is 15GB, and we will increase it to 20GB by latest expand disk feature in VMware workstation

Click on the drop-down arrow mark in Utilities Button. Select Expand.

3) Change the size to 20GB and click Expand.

Expand VM Disk in VMware Workstation

4) This progress will take some time. For 5GB expansion, it took around 15minutes for me. (Could be an issue on my computer. But I got two errors which explained below.

Problems in Expanding Disk in VMware Workstation

You cannot expand hard disk in VMware workstation, if;

a) Existing Snapshots of the virtual machine on the disk

b) The virtual machine is made by ‘linked clone,’

If snapshots are important and cannot be deleted from the virtual machine, then try with VMware converter.

snaperror

You can delete the existing snapshots. Snapshots will be merged with the current state of the VM. It will not impact the current state of the virtual machine, but you will lose those snapshots that will prevent any rollbacks.

In this example, I deleted the snapshots. To be in the safe side, better to take a backup of your VMDK file.

5) Once the expansion progress is completed, then changes will appear in virtual machine settings.

addeddisk

That’s it, we have successfully expanded the disk in VMware workstation without adding extra disks.

6) The Operating System will not detect the disk expansion and it will remain in the old size only. Because, disk expansion is done in virtual machine hardware settings only, not in the OS level.

How to Activate Expanded Disk in VMware Workstation?

Go to Device Manager, expand the ‘Disk Management’.

The additionally added space to existing disk by VMware workstation can be seen as an unallocated space as shown below.

unallocated space

Our purpose is to expand the disk on a virtual machine, we are not going to create a partition from unallocated space.  Extend the unallocated space with the main partition. The steps are related to the Windows Operating system, so I’m not explaining here.

After successful extend your existing parting to unallocated space in Windows, you see a single partition with 20GB.

29GB

Hope this guide is helpful with the latest version of VMware Workstation 15 and Windows 10 or other latest Windows OS as guest virtual machines. Keep in mind those possible errors and solutions.

3 thoughts on “How to Expand VM Disk in VMware Workstation”

  1. No, that’s why I showed at last, how to expand inside guest OS (Windows Vista, Windows 7). In Windows XP you may need to use third party software to expand the partition

  2. The partition is merely 200 Mb left, Windows will notify a low disk space alert to indicate there is no enough space on the partition. The computer may not work reliably in the event. A method is to increase the partition to optimize disk space usage and resolve the issue. [url=http://www.extend-partition.com/help/how-to-extend-partition.html]enables you to complete this job without data loss.

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