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: Jun 10, 2024

VMware data recovery - Restore your Files in 2024

VMware, as a leading virtualization software, plays a pivotal role in managing these virtual systems. However, the convenience and efficiency of virtual machines do not render them immune to data loss. From accidental deletions to system crashes, the risk of losing critical data is a constant concern. This is where DiskInternals VMware Data Recovery comes into the picture as a lifesaver.

In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the nuances of DiskInternals VMware Data Recovery, a robust tool designed to tackle the challenge of lost or inaccessible data within VMware virtual machines. Whether you are a seasoned IT professional or a novice user, our guide will walk you through the essential steps and considerations for effectively restoring your VMware lost files using this powerful software.

Join us as we explore the features, capabilities, and user-friendly approach of DiskInternals VMware Data Recovery, providing you with the knowledge and tools to confidently manage and recover your critical virtual machine data.

1. Restore data in VMware from a backup source

Before diving into the process of restoring data in VMware from a backup source, it's essential to learn what is data backup and recovery. This term refers to the strategic process of creating copies of data to ensure its availability in the event of data loss, corruption, or disasters. Data backup is akin to taking a snapshot of your data at a particular moment, allowing you to revert back to that state if needed. Recovery, on the other hand, is the process of retrieving this backed-up data and restoring it to its original or a new location after data loss.

How to create an image backup

Creating an image backup involves making a complete copy of a system's hard drive, including the operating system, installed programs, settings, and all files. This process is critical for data protection and disaster recovery. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to create an image backup:

1. Choose an Image Backup Software:

  • There are various image backup tools available, both free and paid. Some popular ones include Acronis True Image, EaseUS Todo Backup, and Macrium Reflect.
  • Ensure the software is compatible with your operating system.

2. Prepare the Backup Destination:

  • Select an external hard drive, network drive, or cloud storage service where the image backup will be stored.
  • Ensure that the destination has sufficient space for the backup.

3. Install and Open the Backup Software:

  • Download and install your chosen backup software.
  • Open the software to access its user interface.

4. Select the Source Disk:

  • Choose the disk or partition you want to create an image of. This is typically the disk where your operating system is installed.

5. Configure Backup Settings:

  • Choose the backup type (full, incremental, or differential). A full backup is recommended for the first time.
  • Set compression level and encryption if needed for security.

6. Select the Backup Destination:

  • Specify where you want the image backup to be saved.
  • If using a cloud service, you may need to log in with your credentials.

7. Initiate the Backup Process:

  • Start the backup process. The time it takes will depend on the size of your disk and the speed of your computer and backup medium.

8. Monitor the Backup:

  • Keep an eye on the progress. Some software allows you to continue working on your computer during the backup, while others might require a system restart.

9. Verify the Backup:

  • Once the backup is complete, ensure that it's functional. Some software provides an option to verify the backup.

10. Regularly Update the Backup:

  • Schedule regular backups (incremental or differential) to ensure your backup stays up to date.

11. Safe Storage:

  • Store your external backup drive in a safe location to protect it from physical damage.


  • Regularly test your backups by trying to restore a file or two to ensure the backup is working correctly.
  • Keep multiple backups and consider off-site or cloud storage for added security against local disasters.
  • Update your image backup after major changes to your system, such as after installing new software or system updates.

Creating an image backup can seem like a daunting task, but with the right software and a bit of time, it's a straightforward process that can save you a lot of trouble in the event of a system failure or data loss. Now, let's learn how to recover vmware image!

Steps to Restore Data in VMware from a Backup Source

1. Identify the Backup Source:

The first step is to identify the backup source where your VMware virtual machine's data is stored. This could be an external hard drive, a network storage, or a cloud-based backup service.

2. Prepare the VMware Environment:

Ensure that your VMware environment is ready for the restoration process. This may include checking the health of your virtual machine and ensuring that it is powered off.

3. Accessing the Backup:

Access the backup source and locate the specific backup file that contains the lost data. This will typically be a file with a .vbk or .vmdk extension, depending on the backup solution used.

4. Using VMware Data Recovery Tool:

Utilize VMware's built-in data recovery tools or third-party software like DiskInternals VMware Data Recovery. Follow the software's guidelines to initiate the recovery process.

5. Selecting the Restore Point:

Choose the appropriate restore point. This should be a backup that was created before the data loss occurred.

6. Restoring the Data:

Execute the restore process. The software will retrieve the data from the backup file and restore it to the specified location in your virtual environment.

7. Verification:

Once the restoration is complete, verify that the data has been restored correctly. Check for the integrity and completeness of the data.

8. Post-Restoration Steps:

After successful data restoration, it’s recommended to take additional steps such as creating a new backup and reviewing your backup strategy to prevent future data loss.

By following these steps, you can effectively restore lost or corrupted data in your VMware virtual machines from a backup source, ensuring minimal disruption and maintaining continuity in your virtualized environment.

2. VMware data recovery software

VMware Data Recovery Software is an essential tool for IT professionals and businesses that rely on VMware virtual environments. This software is designed to recover data from VMware-based virtual machines (VMs) in cases of file deletion, corruption, disk failures, or other data loss scenarios.

How to Use DiskInternals VMware Data Recovery

DiskInternals VMware Recovery is a specialized tool designed for recovering data from VMware virtual machine disks. It supports various file systems and is capable of recovering both deleted files and data from damaged or corrupted VMs. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to use this software:

Step 1: Install DiskInternals VMware Recovery

  • Install the software on a Windows machine by following the installation wizard.

Step 2: Launch the Software

  • Open DiskInternals VMware Recovery after installation.
  • The user-friendly interface should guide you through the initial setup.

Step 3: Select the VMware Disk

  • The software will display all available local and network drives.
  • Locate and select the VMware virtual disk (VMDK file) that you want to recover data from.

Step 4: Choose the Recovery Mode

  • DiskInternals VMware Recovery offers different recovery modes such as 'reader mode', 'uneraser mode', or 'full recovery mode'.
  • Select the mode based on your situation. For example, use 'full recovery' for corrupted or damaged disks.

Step 5: Scan the Virtual Disk

  • Initiate the scan of the selected VMDK file.
  • The scanning process might take some time, depending on the size of the virtual disk and the selected recovery mode.

Step 6: Preview Recoverable Files

  • Once the scan is complete, the software will display a list of recoverable files.
  • You can preview these files before recovery. This feature helps in identifying the specific files you need to recover.

Step 7: Recover and Save Files

  • Select the files or folders you want to recover.
  • Choose a safe location on your system to save the recovered data. It's advisable to save the data to a different drive than the one you're recovering from.

Step 8: Purchase a License (if needed)

  • DiskInternals VMware Recovery allows you to preview recoverable files for free. However, to save the recovered files, you may need to purchase a license.
  • Follow the instructions for purchasing and activating the license if necessary.

Step 9: Complete the Recovery Process

  • After activating the license, proceed with saving the recovered data.
  • Ensure all necessary files are successfully recovered and saved.

Additional Tips:

  • Regularly back up your VMware virtual machines to prevent data loss.
  • Avoid installing the recovery software on the same disk where your lost data resides to prevent overwriting.
  • Consider seeking professional help if you encounter complex issues or the data is critically important.

Using DiskInternals VMware Recovery can be a straightforward solution for retrieving lost or corrupted data from VMware virtual machines. This software is a valuable tool for IT professionals and individuals relying on virtual environments for their day-to-day operations.

3. Recover lost files in VMware manually

Recovering lost files in a VMware environment manually can be a challenging task, especially if you don't have a backup system in place. However, there are still some steps you can take to attempt recovery. Here's a guide on how to proceed:

1. Check the Recycle Bin or Trash

  • If the lost files were simply deleted from the virtual machine's operating system, they might still be in the Recycle Bin (Windows) or Trash (macOS/Linux).
  • Check these locations and restore the files if they are present.

2. Use File Recovery Tools within the VM

  • There are various file recovery tools available that can be installed within the operating system of the virtual machine. Examples include Recuva for Windows or PhotoRec for Linux.
  • Install one of these tools in the VM and run a scan to search for recoverable files.

3. Restore from Snapshots

  • If you have taken snapshots of your VM, you might be able to revert to a snapshot taken before the files were lost.
  • Open the VMware management interface, select the virtual machine, and look for the option to manage snapshots.
  • Revert to a relevant snapshot. Note that this will also undo all changes made to the VM since that snapshot was taken.

4. Recover from Shared Folders or Network Drives

  • If the VM was connected to network drives or shared folders, the lost files might be recoverable from there.
  • Check any connected physical or network drives that the VM had access to.

5. Consult with IT Specialists

  • If the lost data is critical and the above methods are not successful, consider consulting with IT professionals who specialize in data recovery.

Precautions and Tips

  • Avoid Writing New Data: Don't install new software or save new files in the virtual machine from which you are trying to recover data, as this might overwrite the lost files.
  • Regular Backups: Regularly back up your VMs to prevent future data loss.
  • Use Snapshots Wisely: While snapshots are useful, they are not a replacement for backups and can affect VM performance if used excessively.

Manual recovery can be effective for recently deleted or lost files, but in cases of severe corruption or long-term data loss, professional data recovery services might be required.

Ways to experience data loss in VMware

Data loss in VMware environments can occur due to a variety of reasons. Understanding these causes is crucial for implementing effective preventative and recovery strategies. Here are some common ways through which data loss can occur in VMware:

1. Accidental Deletion

  • User Error: Users might accidentally delete files, folders, or entire virtual disks.
  • Misconfigured Scripts: Automation scripts, if not properly configured, can inadvertently delete important data.

2. Hardware Failures

  • Storage Device Failures: Hard drives, SSDs, or RAID arrays can fail, leading to data loss.
  • Network Failures: Disruptions in network connectivity can lead to data corruption or loss, especially in clustered or distributed environments.

3. Software or System Malfunctions

  • Corrupted VM Files: Virtual machine files, like VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk) files, can become corrupted due to software errors.
  • Operating System Crashes: Crashes within the guest operating system can lead to data loss, especially if unsaved work is present.

4. Malware or Ransomware Attacks

  • Viruses and Malware: Malicious software can corrupt or encrypt files, making them inaccessible.
  • Ransomware: A type of malware that encrypts data, rendering it inaccessible unless a ransom is paid.

5. Power Failures or Surges

  • Sudden power outages can interrupt operations, potentially leading to data corruption or loss, especially if uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) are not in use.

6. VM Snapshots Issues

  • Mismanagement of Snapshots: Excessive or poorly managed snapshots can fill up datastores, potentially causing data issues.
  • Snapshot Deletion: Deleting a snapshot without understanding the dependencies can result in data loss.

7. Improper VMWare Tools Configuration

  • Misconfigurations in VMware Tools can lead to suboptimal performance and data integrity issues.

8. Logical Errors

  • These include file system corruption within the virtual machine, partition table issues, or software bugs.

9. Data Transfer Errors

  • Errors during data migration or replication processes can result in partial or complete data loss.

10. Insufficient Security Measures

  • Lack of robust security protocols can leave systems vulnerable to unauthorized access and data breaches.

11. Disaster Events

  • Natural disasters like floods, fires, earthquakes, etc., can physically damage hardware, leading to data loss.

Preventative Measures

  • Regularly back up VM data and test restoration processes.
  • Use RAID arrays for redundancy.
  • Implement robust security measures, including anti-malware software and firewalls.
  • Properly configure and regularly update all software, including operating systems and VMware tools.
  • Use UPS systems to protect against power outages.
  • Monitor VM health and storage capacity to avoid snapshot-related issues.
  • Train users on best practices to minimize the risk of accidental deletions or misconfigurations.
Tip: VMware image recovery.


Navigating the complexities of data management and recovery in VMware environments requires a comprehensive understanding of the potential risks, as well as the tools and strategies available for prevention and restoration.

The possibility of data loss in VMware can stem from a variety of sources, ranging from accidental deletions and hardware failures to software malfunctions and malicious attacks. This diversity of risks underscores the importance of implementing robust and multifaceted strategies to safeguard data. Regular and strategic backups, efficient use of VMware snapshots, and the implementation of rigorous security protocols form the cornerstone of effective data protection in virtual environments.

In instances where data loss does occur, tools like DiskInternals VMware Recovery provide a lifeline. This software, among others, is equipped to handle various data loss scenarios, offering a ray of hope in what might otherwise be a dire situation. The key lies in selecting the right tool and following a methodical approach to data recovery, as outlined in the steps provided for using such software.

Additionally, understanding how to manually recover lost files in VMware through methods like checking recycle bins, using file recovery tools within the VM, and reverting to snapshots can be invaluable. However, the effectiveness of these manual methods can vary based on the nature and severity of the data loss.

Ultimately, the best defense against data loss is a proactive one. Regular backups, careful system monitoring, and an awareness of the common causes of data loss are crucial. By combining these preventative measures with a readiness to deploy effective recovery tools and techniques when needed, users can navigate the VMware landscape with greater confidence and security.

Tip: VMware Snapshot vs Backup
  • How to restore data from VMware virtual machine?
    • VMware Data Recovery: Restore Lost VMware Partitions
    • Execute EaseUS Partition Recovery on your computer.
    • Allow the scan to fully complete.
    • Review and select the lost partition(s) for recovery.
    • Finalize the recovery by clicking on "Recover Now".
  • How do I restore a VMware virtual machine backup?

    Restore a VMware Virtual Machine

    • Navigate to the App Manager tab and choose 'Applications' from the options available.
    • Identify and select the VMware VM you wish to restore, then opt for 'Access' from the menu at the bottom of the Applications page.
    • Pick the preferred image and then choose 'Restore' from the available access operations.
  • Can a deleted VM be recovered?

    You have the capability to recover a deleted VM using either the primary or secondary backup from a datastore, restoring it to a chosen ESXi host. If the restoration is happening to a different location, it is mandatory for the SnapCenter Plug-in for VMware vSphere to be active in the associated vCenter, which serves as the target destination for the restoration process.

  • What is DiskInternals VMware Recovery?

    DiskInternals VMware Recovery is a specialized software tool designed for recovering data from VMware virtual machines (VMs). This advanced software is particularly useful in scenarios where data within VMware VMs is lost, deleted, or becomes inaccessible due to various reasons such as file system corruption, VM file corruption, accidental deletion, or hardware failures.

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