VMware Workstation – “Cannot open one of the virtual disks needed by this VM because it is larger that the maximum size supported by the host file system”

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After moving a VMware Workstation VM from one PC to another you may receive the following error message when going to start it:

“VMware Workstation cannot open one of the virtual disks needed by this VM because it is larger that the maximum size supported by the host file system.”

VMware Workstation cannot open one of the virtual disks needed by this VM because it is larger that the maximum size supported by the host file system 

The most common cause is that, as the error message outlines, the underlying file system on which the VM is being run from doesn’t support larger files than 2GB.  Your VMs VMDK disk will, in the majority of cases be bigger than this.  For example a hard disk formatted with FAT32 will throw up this error.

Though not to worry all is not lost as you can tell VMware Workstation to skip checking any underlying disk file size limitations (ie: 2GB) by adding the following line to your VMs VMX file.  Note: The VMX file is generally found in the same directory as your VMs VMDK file.

 diskLib.sparseMaxFileSizeCheck= "FALSE"

If you are going to be moving VMs between PCs that have this 2GB file limitation then you should consider configuring any future virtual disks to use a set of files limited to 2GB per file. This setting is defined at the time of creating the virtual disk with VMware Workstation.

 

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About Simon Seagrave

Simon is a UK based Virtualization, Cloud & IT Technology Evangelist working as a Senior Technology Consultant and vSpecialist for EMC. He loves working in the ever changing IT industry & spends most of his time working with Virtualization, Cloud & other Enterprise IT based technologies, in particular VMware, EMC and HP products.

As well as on this site, you can find him on Twitter and Google+

Comments

  1. Hi Simon,

    You can actually change the disk type after it has been created as well from the command line.
    In order to change your virtual disk to a growable virtual disk split in 2GB chunks, run the following command:
    vmware-vdiskmanager -r sourceDisk.vmdk -t 1

    As always, do make sure to have a working and recent backup before you run the above command. Just in case, so you don’t bump into problems if -for example- you run out of disk space.

    cheers!

    Wil

  2. Ahmad Osman says:

    Hi Kiwi Si,

    Thanks you a lot for your article, it really helps me, the error msg, and the line needed to be edited guided me to solve the issue.

    YOUR HELP is SIMPLY PERFECT :D

    Ahmad

  3. Hi, I came across the same problem. I added diskLib.sparseMaxFileSizeCheck= “FALSE” to vmx file. The system booted fine. But now I ended up with lost data to MAy09 Today is 16Dec09.

    Can you explain if it due to this change.

    Regards,
    Rizwan

    • Hi Rizwan,

      Hmmm, that is strange. I don’t know why this would do this – I assume you are talking about lost data on the VM you are running via VMware Workstation.

      Did you get to the bottom of what caused this data loss?

      Cheers,

      Simon

  4. NewMount says:

    Hi Kiwi Si,

    The extra line in the vmx file to ignore file size worked fine.
    Thanks!

    Regards,

    NewMount

  5. This is very helpful

    Thanks!

  6. This is very helpful

    Thanks!

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