VMware Workstation 5.5Features | Documentation | Knowledge Base | Discussion Forums
A physical disk directly accesses an existing local disk or partition. You can use physical disks if you want VMware Workstation to run one or more guest operating systems from existing disk partitions. While virtual disks are limited to 950GB, physical disks may be set up on both IDE and SCSI devices of up to 2TB capacity. At this time, however, booting from an operating system already set up on an existing SCSI disk or partition is not supported.
Caution: If you run an operating system natively on the host computer, then switch to running it inside a virtual machine, the change is like pulling the hard drive out of one computer and installing it in a second computer with a different motherboard and other hardware. You need to prepare carefully for such a switch. The specific steps you need to take depend on the operating system you want to use inside the virtual machine. For details, see Configuring a Dual-Boot Computer for Use with a Virtual Machine.
You can also create a new virtual machine using a physical disk. For details, see Installing an Operating System on a Physical Partition from a Virtual Machine. In most cases, however, it is better to use a virtual disk.
Only expert users should attempt physical disk configurations.
Note: You should not use a physical disk to share files between host and guest operating systems. It is not safe to make the same partition visible to both host and guest. You can cause data corruption if you do this. To share files between host and guest operating systems, use shared folders. For details, see Using Shared Folders.