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: Nov 07, 2022

Data Recovery from Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) Files

Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) is a file format that represents a virtual hard disk drive. VHDs have the same features and properties as physical drives; the difference is that they cannot be touched physically (if it is not a physical drive where the VHD is saved). A VHD file typically contains a boot record, file systems, disk partitions, and folders/files.

While VHD files are typically used for logical disks in a virtual machine environment, you can mount them directly to a Windows PC running Windows 7 or later versions. More so, virtual hard disks – while they cannot be physically touched (if it is not a physical drive where the VHD is saved) – can get corrupted, mistakenly deleted, or damaged due to pretty many reasons, leading to data loss.

In this article you will find out:

  • How to Recover Data from Virtual Disk
  • What Actually is a Virtual Hard Disk
  • Reasons for Data Loss in Virtual Systems

Ready? Let's read!

How to Recover Data from Virtual Disk

When a VHD file is corrupted, it becomes difficult – sometimes impossible – to access the files and data. But then, it is possible to recover files from virtual disks. However, the process requires the use of a professional data recovery software like DiskInternals VMFS Recovery.

DiskInternals VMFS Recovery stands out from other virtual disk data recovery programs out there because it offers a suite of built-in handy tools and features:

  • Designed to clearly read VHD,
  • Recovers information from corrupted or healthy VHD drives,
  • Recovers remotely in online mode (no shutdown is required),
  • Recovers VHD drives stored on corrupted and inaccessible hard drives,
  • Automated recovery includes step-by-step recovery wizard,
  • Virtual drives can be mounted as local disks accessible by Windows Explorer etc,
  • Windows restrictions are bypassed by recovery process!

Also, the software can recover your VHD file irrespective of how it got lost – hard drive partition damage, accidental deletion, wrong formatting, or any other scenario.

To get started, download the trial version; this trial version is fully functional and also allows you to preview the recovered files for FREE

Step 1: Select Your Virtual Disk Drive (The Physical Drive, Actually)

VMFS Recovery

Launch the DiskInternals VMFS Recovery software – the Recovery Wizard will launch automatically too – select the disk where you had saved the VHD file and choose a scanning/recovery mode.

Step 2: Scan The Drive

Click on the VMFS volume

You may start with the Fast Recovery mode, which is pretty fast and time-saving. However, if you want to do a wholesome recovery to repair corrupt or damaged files, choose the Full Recovery mode. While the recovery scan is ongoing, DiskInternals VMFS Recovery will automatically examine and structure/fix bad sectors on the disk.

Step 3: Preview and Recover Your Data

right-click on the volume and open it

Once the scan is complete, the deleted files will be marked with a red asterisk – search carefully and find the VHD file you were looking to recover.

Select the folder you wish to save your files and recover your files to this folder

DiskInternals VMFS Recovery lets you preview recovered files for free, which means you can preview the files you just recovered to figure out the ones that are more important to re-save to your computer.

Part 2: What Actually is a Virtual Hard Disk?

Put simply, a virtual hard disk (abbreviated as VHD) is a computer storage drive you cannot touch physically (if it is not a physical drive where the VHD is saved). A VHD functions like a typical hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD), but you can’t just remove it or tamper with it physically. Notwithstanding, VHDs can be tampered with – the features and properties can be changed.

Virtual hard disks are used with a virtual machine; so to say, every virtual machine is linked to a virtual hard drive where the virtual machine’s files and important configuration data are stored. VHDs can be formatted with any file system, depending on the purpose. Also, you can install and run operating systems through virtual disks – this shows that a VHD is the same as a physical drive.

A virtual hard disk may be set up to have a flexible or fixed storage capacity; actually, the storage size is controlled by the parent OS or virtualization manager software.

Part 3: Reasons for Data Loss in Virtual Systems

Everything that could cause data loss to a physical HDD or SSD can also cause data loss on virtual hard drives. However, hereunder are some of the most common reasons for data loss on virtual hard drives or disks – whichever you choose to call them.

  • Reformatting: If you reformat the VHD (or the physical drive where the VHD is saved), it could lead to data loss.
  • Corruption: If the virtual machine files or the VMFS datastore volumes are corrupted, it could lead to data loss.
  • Hardware Failures: Hardware failure can occur due to power surges or OS crashes. If the physical hard drive fails, the VHD stored inside will most likely fail too.
  • RAID Problems: If the VHD is saved on a RAID array, any problem with the array will lead to the loss of the VHD file.
  • Accidental Deletion: The system user may accidentally delete the VHD file.


Conclusively, this article explains how to perform data recovery on virtual hard disk drives (VHDs). The process is all about installing a powerful data recovery solution and launching a Full Recovery on the physical drive where the VHD is stored.

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