How to Merge Snapshots in VMware Workstation 7

When ever you take a snapshot in VMware it keeps a separate VMDK file. Virtual machine will start running from that file and any changes after it will be keep on adding to snapshot file. Sometimes you have to merge these files to original base file or delete them. So, how to do it? Let me explain how to merge snapshots in VMware workstation 7.

I’m not going to show complicated commands and steps here, it is very simple, but you have to understand how it works.

How Snapshots work in VMware?

Snapshot is a particular state of Virtual machine. It’s like system restore point in Windows Operating systems, but slightly different. In fact, I would say  ‘Time machine’ of a virtual machine, you can go backward and forward with it. if you have a snapshot taken one week ago, today you can restore it and get the exact VM how it was one week ago.

Each snapshots keep separate VMDK files under working folder. Snapshot disk files can not be used alone ( without original VMDK , previous snapshots and configuration files) in any of the desktop virtualization software VMware or VirtualBox.

How to Merge Snapshots in VMware Workstation 7

Why We have to Merge Snapshots?

Good question. It is a  good habit of keeping important system states of virtual machine ( For example, before any updates, major installations, experiments and for backup too) as snapshots, but some times you need to delete or merge it with original file for following reasons.

1) Particular snapshot is not important or very old.

2) To clear disk space.

3) You are going to use current Virtual machine in other virtualization software such as VirtualBox or Virtual PC. These programs will not detect the snapshot technology in VMware. So, current machine’s state shout be merged to single VMDK file before use or  convert to VDI or VHD.

4) Exporting, Importing and Sharing of Virtual machine disks. It’s advisable to do these all as single file.

How to Merge Snapshots in VMware workstation 7?

It’s simple, just delete them in VMware snapshot manager.
Important Note: DO NOT delete VMDK files directly in explorer.

Go to snapshot manager of particular virtual machine. Select the point and press delete.

How to Merge Snapshots in VMware Workstation 7

The three snapshots ( marked as B) with lock having linked clone VMs. Some virtual machines are created with these  snapshots and running differently. If I delete them, those machine will stop working.

If I delete D, it will merge with C. You can’t revert back any deletion, so think twice before pressing delete button.

If our purpose is to merge B, C and D to A which is having base original VMDK file, then delete all (B,C,D). It will remove all VMDK files and add to original file. So current state of VM E, will go to next to A.

Deletion  will take longer time in VMware than taking  it, because it should merge with previous file. Be patient.

There are few methods available to merge snapshot files without deleting, but it is slightly complicated and required additional tools. I will be covering them is future posts, so stay tuned.

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.

5 thoughts on “How to Merge Snapshots in VMware Workstation 7”

  1. Deleting last snapshot (D) will remove it completely and it will not be merged with the previous one, in general we can merge in-between snapshots by deleting them , otherwise it will not be merged.(

  2. Kindly ignore last comment , even though that was the case on some snapshots that I worked with , but testing this lately shows that deleting any snapshot will remove it completly without merging it ,,

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