How to Transfer VMware Workstation Library or Inventory to New Installation

Recently I had to reinstall my Windows 8.1 Operating System and other programs including VMware workstation on same computer due to a crash .  New OS and VMware workstation looked fresh as expected and the drive letters of disks remain same as earlier letters. I had n number of virtual machines on VMware which located almost on all disk partitions, now how can I get them back?. It is a difficult task to search for VMX files and add them to dashboard again. I found out a way to copy the inventory/library file which contains virtual machine settings to new location to overcome this issue. Luckily I had the old Windows OS folders and other important stuff under Windows.old folder. Let me share  the way how I have moved the inventory file and got back my all VMs in VMware workstation.

We have published several guides about VMware workstation here. It is a solid and professional desktop virtualization software which can run on Windows and Mac OS X to allow virtualizing almost all Operating Systems.

This method will work on the computer where the disk drive letters remain same. Even if not, by opening the inventory file as shown below will give an idea of virtual machine’s location from your old OS. That would be helpful to rebuild the VMware workstation inventory easily on the new installation.

Here is the new installation without any VMs. I was really clueless how to get back my VMs list.

no vms


Because of still I had my old Windows 8 user profile, I was able to trace the inventory file and move it easily on new location. Here is the path of the file ( Userprofile\AppData\Roaming\VMware), you may need to show hidden files on Windows 8 or 8.1 to see these files.

original VM inventory file

You can open the inventory.vmls in any text editing software and view the settings, like VM name, virtual hard disk path etc…

Simply do replace the new file at new location with the old inventory.vmls file, that will bring back the same virtual machine library to the new Windows OS and VMware workstation installation.

Here how it looked like in a minute after copying the file.

after inventory file

Good to get back the old VMs in VMware workstation by this method and I hope this would be helpful for someone.

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.