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Adding Physical Disks to a Virtual Machine

Use the virtual machine settings editor (VM > Settings) to add a new raw disk to your virtual machine. The virtual machine should be powered off before you begin. If it is not, shut down the guest operating system normally, then click Power Off on the VMware Workstation toolbar.

Caution: Physical disks are an advanced feature and should be configured only by expert users.

1. Open the virtual machine settings editor (VM > Settings) and click Add. The Add Hardware Wizard guides you through the steps to create your virtual disk.

2. Click Hard Disk, then click Next.

Link to 02-select_disk.png

3. Select Use a physical disk, then click Next.

Link to w_raw_warn.png

A warning appears. Click OK.

4. Select the physical disk characteristics and click Next.

Link to 03-select_phys_disk.png

  • Choose the physical hard disk to use from the drop-down list. VMware Workstation supports physical disks up to 2TB.
  • Select whether you want to use the entire disk or use only individual partitions on the disk. If you select Use entire disk, continue with step 6.
  • 5. If you selected Use entire disk in step 4, this step does not appear.

    If you selected Use individual partitions in step 4, now select which partitions you want to use in the virtual machine.

    Link to 04-partition.png

    Only the partitions you select in this step are visible to the virtual machine. All other partitions are hidden from it.

    Click Next.

    Link to 05-disk_file.png

    6. Accept the default filename and location for the file that stores access information for this raw disk — or change it, if you want to use a different name or location. To find a different directory, click Browse.

    Click Advanced if you want to specify the virtual machine SCSI or IDE device node to which this disk is connected.

    Link to 06-device_node.png

    On the advanced settings screen, you can also specify a disk mode. This is useful in certain special-purpose configurations in which you want to exclude disks from a snapshot. For more information on the snapshot feature, see Using Snapshots.

    Normal disks are included in snapshots. In most cases, this is the setting you want — with Independent deselected.

    Independent disks are not included in snapshots. If you select Independent, you have the following options:

  • Persistent — changes are immediately and permanently written to the disk.
  • Nonpersistent — changes to the disk are discarded when you power off or revert to a snapshot.
  • When you have set the filename and location you want to use and have made any selections you want to make on the advanced settings screen, click Finish.

    7. The wizard configures the new physical disk. If the partitions used on the physical disk are not formatted for your guest operating system, use the guest operating system's tools to format them.

    Caution: After you create a physical disk using one or more partitions on a physical disk, you should never modify the partition tables by running fdisk or a similar utility in the guest operating system.

    Note: If you use fdisk or a similar utility on the host operating system to modify the partition table of the physical disk, you must recreate the virtual machine's physical disk.

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