If you have worked with a virtualization software such as VMWare Workstation or VirtualBox, then you know that virtual hard disk drives used in these software are often saved in the VMDK file formats. These VMDK files are nothing but the virtual disk drive images used in running virtual machines using virtualization software.
Sometimes we want to make changes to these images from Windows File Explorer because it is much easier to copy or delete files on VMDK images through Windows File Explorer. For example, if you have a FreeDOS virtual machine then you can copy files to its VMDK disk image by mounting it in Windows first.
Mounting a VMDK image on Windows enabled us to access it through Windows File Explorer just like any another drive. Here is a simple method of mounting it on Windows using VMWare Workstation:
- First of install VMWare Workstation Player by downloading it from https://www.vmware.com/products/workstation-player.html.
- Launch VMWare Workstation, click on the File menu and then select Map Virtual Disks.
- In the window that opens up, click on the Map button.
- Click on the Browse button to select the VMDK file that you want to mount or map to a drive letter. If it has multiple partitions, then you can choose which partitions are to be mounted. You can make it read only or read-write. You can also choose the drive letter to be used. Click on the OK button to mount the disk image.
- When you have finished using the disk image in Windows File Explorer, first close all the File Explorer windows that are opening the virtual drive. Then you can go back to window that was opened in step 3 above and click on the Disconnect button to unmount or unmap the drive.
So this is the fastest and safest way to mount a VMDK file in read-write mode on Windows File Explorer. However, you should be careful when making changes to the contents of VMDK disk images as inappropriate changes could make the virtual machine useless.