VMFS Recovery™
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Last updated: May 06, 2024

Fix - VMDK is Corrupted and Cannot be Repaired in Vmware

VMware environments utilize VMDK files to store virtual machine data on VMFS partitions. However, if a VMDK file becomes corrupt, the associated virtual machine can become inaccessible. VMDK file corruption can happen for a variety of reasons, emphasizing the importance of being proactive – regularly back up your VM data and keep a VMDK recovery tool ready.

This article delves into the common causes of VMDK file corruption and how to minimize these risks. It also highlights the critical nature of VMware VMDK files and the necessity of their protection. For those managing multiple VMs in a VMware setup, this blog is a valuable resource, offering essential insights and tips.

What Causes VMDK Files to be Corrupt?

While there can be many reasons for VMDK file corruption, the few listed below are the most common ones you are likely to experience.

  • Hardware Failure: Hard drives may start to malfunction if they are physically scratched, and they may fail completely due to power surge or sudden power failures. Either of these highlighted scenarios can lead to the corruption of the files and data saved on the affected hard drive.
  • Malware & Viruses: No doubt, malware and viruses can affect a computer system to a great extent and also damage your files. When a malware gains access to your computer drive, it could possibly encrypt the VMDK files stored on the drive and lock you out from accessing your VMs.
  • Improper Shutdowns: Not everyone does that, but most people forget to shut down their virtual machines properly. If you constantly do not shut down your VMs completely before leaving the system, it could cause the VMDK files to get corrupted, somehow. VMware’s VMDK format is volatile and easily corruptible.

Software Conflicts: Another possible cause of file corruption is software conflicts. When you install multiple software programs that perform the same task, the programs’ files will conflict with one another and can cause potential file corruption. The best way to avoid this scenario is to use one software for the intended purpose.

Methods to Fix “VMDK is Corrupted and Cannot be Repaired”

Are you getting the “VMDK is corrupted and cannot be repaired” error message? Truth is, this can be fixed, and there are a couple of ways to get that done.

Method 1: – Use DiskInternals VMFS Recovery

DiskInternals VMFS Recovery is a professional software program developed by IT specialists and data experts. This software runs on all Windows OS computer versions and can repair damaged VMDK files in order to recover data stored in those files. More so, the software features a built-in wizard that guides you through the entire recovery process – from start to finish.

Of course, the DiskInternals VMDK recovery tool reads VMFS drives perfectly and supports all known file systems, as well as Unicode filenames and multi-level folders. With the DiskInternals VMDK Recovery software, you can recover your lost VMDK files and relaunch your VMs. You can also trust this program to recover data from your corrupted VMDK files.


  • Download and install the DiskInternals VMFS Recovery on your Windows computer, then launch the app and ensure your hard drive which has the VMDK files is properly connected to the system.
  • Select the hard drive, then choose a scanning mode; there are two modes available: Fast Recovery and Full Recovery. It is advisable to choose Full Recovery, but if you’re in haste, you can choose the Fast Recovery mode.
  • This software will automatically check the VMware VMFS datastores, RAID (if used), and other relevant factors, and then launch a deep search for your lost/corrupted VMDK files.
  • When the scan is complete, you will get read-only access to VMDK files and you can preview them for verification before making the actual recovery. Once you are satisfied with the recovered files, save them back to your PC.

Method 2: – Create a Backup

As it is always being said, everyone who deals with data should make regular backups. This cannot be overstated – backups are really important and should be taken seriously by every PC user. If you made backups of your VMDK files, you can recover them from the backup storage you saved them; it could be a cloud storage or a local external drive. How to retrieve the data from your backup storage depends on the type of drive, platform, or format the backup resides on.

Method 3: – Using CMD

Of course, you can still use Windows’s utility tool to attempt fixing your corrupt VMDK files, but this method is riskier, so you should be more cautious, and probably make a full backup before proceeding. The command prompt (CMD) is a free utility tool that allows you to run various commands to perform quite various actions on a Windows OS computer. To use the CMD to repair corrupt files, you need to really understand how command-lime prompts work.


  • Press the Windows Key + X and choose Powershell/Command-Prompt (Admin). You must be logged into the computer as an admin to use this tool.
  • When the command prompt is launched, run the following command: “vmware-vsdiskmanager.exe” – R “enter the file path of the corrupt VMDK file”
  • This may take a long whole to run completely, after which you should close the command prompt and then restart your system.

Other Reasons Why Your VMDK File is Corrupted

  • You Had More Virtual Disk Space: Virtual disks are created into physical disks. While you can scale your virtual disk to offer an enormous storage space, it is not advisable to have more virtual memory than the physical one. This scenario can cause the files in your virtual storage to get corrupted.
  • Snapshot Issues: Snapshots are like “Restore Points” in Windows OS; they act as a fallback version you can fall to if your VM is experiencing problems. However, VMware snapshots can get corrupted too, and when that happens, if you roll back your VM to a snapshot, the VMDK file will get corrupted too, consequentially.
  • Faulty Disk Drivers: Every device, drive, or component of a computer system works with drivers. These drivers needed to be updated with their latest versions at intervals. Outdated drivers can cause hard drives or system peripherals to malfunction, which could lead to file damage. So, you should check your system’s drivers and possibly update them. You can view all your system’s drivers through Device Manager.
  • Other External Factors: Aside from all the possible causes of VMDK file corruption explained already, there are a few other ones worth noting. Other factors include forced system shutdown, failed disk in the RAID (if RAID is used), or human errors such as trying to change the VMDK filename or properties.
Tip: how to repair corrupted VMDK file


As someone who runs virtual machines, you should also keep an eye on your VMDK files as any issue with the files could lock you out from accessing your VMs. That said, you should make frequent backups of your VMDK files – DiskInternals VMFS Recovery can help with that, for free.

Also, if you need to repair or recover VMDK files from your VMFS drives, the DiskInternals software can help you out. VMDK files are very volatile, you should be careful how you handle them and where you store the backups. Learn more about How to repair Virtual Disk in VMDK!

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