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: Jan 16, 2023

Restoring a VMware virtual machine using DiskInternals VMFS Recovery

All the time, you’d hear IT admins and pro PC users talk about “Data Recovery”. Yes, it is that important, regardless of whatever you’re using a computer to do. You can recover files from a regular hard disk drive, you can also recover files from a VMware virtual machine. So, let’s get closer to the subject of today's article.

Virtual machines can be restored either to their original location or to another one. The original hypervisor is used to restore virtual machines by default, and the backup proxy is used.

A virtual machine can be restored to vCloud if the hypervisor is set up to support it.

A restoration procedure may be started from the VM groups page, the Virtual machines page, or the detail page for a particular VM. You have the option to restore the whole VM, employ live recovery, or carry out a live mount action when you start a restoration process for a specific VM from the VM groups page or the Virtual machines page.

Recovery Preparation

Users can recover VMware VMs from a backup. In this case, the user may only modify the value of the VM display name option in the Restore preferences dialog box.

Any user who is linked with the recovery target can restore a VM out of place and choose a recovery target from the Destination list if an admin user specifies the recovery target and associates a user or a user group with the recovery target.

The restoration is unsuccessful if the VM display name matches that of an already-existing VM at the destination.

How to Live Recovery Your VM

Virtual machines (VMs) may be restored and switched up from a backup using the Live Recovery function without having to wait for a complete VM restore. This functionality may be used to swiftly restore a failing virtual machine to production or to confirm that a backup can be used in a disaster recovery situation.

To enable the actions required by the VM, data is restored from the backup as needed, and the entire restore is finished as soon as resources permit. The restoration procedure does not change the backup.

The Live Recovery procedure is as follows:

1. When this option is used during a restoration, the backup's MediaAgent may be utilized throughout the restore process.

2. The restoration procedure exposes the backup to the target ESX server as a network file system (NFS) export rather than reading it.

3. The destination ESX server mounts the NFS export as an NFS datastore.

4. The restoration procedure gets the.vmx and catalog files for the VM when the ESX server can see the NFS datastore.

The.vmx file has been altered to reflect that the NFS datastore's VMDK files may be written to (or the VM can be modified to redirect writes to an alternate datastore).

5. The VM is registered and may be switched on when the VM files are accessible to the NFS datastore.

6. The File Recovery Enabler for Linux handles any read requests for the virtual machine disks, restoring the necessary data to the NFS cache and presenting it to the ESX server.

7. A storage vMotion is started to move the virtual machine to the destination datastore designated for the restoration after the first readings required to make the VM operational.

8. The ESX server unmounts the datastore and unexports the backup after the migration is finished (if there are no other paths exported to the ESX server). The restoration task is indicated as finished after the cleaning is finished.

Recovery Guide

  • 1. Go Protect > Virtualization
  • 2. Click the hypervisor
  • 3. Click action, Restore
  • 4. Click Settings > Source list > Copy
  • 5.Select Full virtual machine
  • 6. Click Restore
  • 7. Click Submit.

How Do I Recover VMware Virtual Machine From Backup

While it is possible to restore VMware virtual machines from backup files (VMDK), such recovery won’t go through if the dataset of the VM is deleted. The procedures to recover your VMware VMs from VMDK files – with the main focus on VMs launched on ESXi hostsare explained below:

  • You have to access the ESXi Web Client, go to the Storage page, and click on “Datastore browser” on the toolbar.
  • In the new window, click “Create directory” and create a new folder for the new virtual machine.
  • Import the VMDK and VMX files into this new folder.
  • Go to the Virtual Machines page, and click on Create/Register VM on the toolbar.
  • On the “Select creation type” page, choose “Register an existing virtual machine” and click the Next button.
  • On the next page, select your virtual machines and click Next.
  • Click the Finish button and close the Wizard.
  • Now, back on the Virtual Machines pace, the newly created VM would appear as a VMX file – all you need to do is to right-click on it, rename it, and power it.

Now that the backup file has been used to create a new VM – with the same properties as the old VM – on your VMware ESXi host, that is the recovery you need. But, using this method doesn’t work all the time; hence, you may want to consider using a third-party tool.

Recover VMware VM with VMFS Recovery

Every other VMware VM recovery option can only restore or back up one single ESXi VM at a time. Therefore, they are not the best solution for enterprise businesses and IT admins that handle multiple VMs.

That said, if you need to recover multiple VMs at a time, you need a professional VMware VM recovery software, and that’s where DiskInternals VMFS Recovery comes in.

Step One

VMFS Recovery

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

Step Two

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 make 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 Three

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 VM files 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.


The DiskInternals VMFS Recovery is the most reliable tool to use in recovering virtual machine files seamlessly. You can recover hundreds of files at the same time using this tool.


How do I restore a VM from a datastore?

The instant restore command can be used to restore one or more datastores. With this command, you may go back in time and restore a datastore or datastores together with any related virtual machines that were part of the snapshot backup at a certain period.

How do I restore a VM from a clone?

1. From the navigation pane, go to Manage Protections > Hypervisors > VMware > Restore.

2. In the VMware Restore section, locate the VMDKs in which the target files are stored.

3. Click Options and specify the “destination VM” where you want to create clones of the restored volumes.

How long does a VM restore take?

10 to 30 minutes.

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