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Windows 7: Host disk is running out of room, can't shrink virtual hard disk?

24 Feb 2013   #1
Mr Davo

Windows 7 (XP, by Virtualization)
Host disk is running out of room, can't shrink virtual hard disk?

Hi Everyone,

I have a challenge with resizing a virtual disk - here are a few details before I plunge into the challenge at hand;

1). The HOST O/S is Windows 7 x64
2). The GUEST O/S is Windows XP
3). The Desktop Virtualization software is VMware Workstation 8

Background - originally when I setup my XP Virtual Machine I allocated disk space during the setup. Later I discovered that I didn't have enough space on my Guest hard disk, so I did the following in VMware Workstation;

1). Selected Edit Virtual Machine Settings
2). Selected the Hard Disk
3). Clicked on the Utilities menu and selected Expand
4). Expanded the Virtual Machines Hard Disk to a size that would fit into my Hosts hard drive partition (leaving about 8 Gigs free for any later "tweaking")
5). Loaded my XP Guest
6). Inside the guest loaded Norton Partition Magic 8
7). Expanded the guest hard disk to take up all available space

Everything was running fine for a time, that is until I started seeing this message in my Host O/S -

I then looked in Windows Explorer and noticed that the partition I had set aside for my XP Guest was in the "Red" -

I attempted to compact the virtual disk through VMware Workstation and was met with the following -

I have managed to find the files which are causing my Host to run out of disk space -

I am not sure of what purpose these .vmem files serve, however I can delete them and the XP Guest will still load, however shortly after loading the .vmem files return, and once again my Host is out of available disk space.

If anybody knows how to permanently stop the .vmem files, or otherwise shrink a VMware Virtual Disk your input will be highly appreciated.

Kind Regards,


My System SpecsSystem Spec

24 Feb 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

If the vDisk is full, then it's full. You have to delete something. 48GBs for XP is a lot. You must have a lot of stuff on there. Make a shared partition and offload some stuff into that.

I don't have Workstation 8 - I have VMware Player and there you can setup a shared partition like this. Maybe it is similar in Workstation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2013   #3

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers

Hi there
A simple method to reduce space on a VM without re-installing the virtual OS is as follows

1) Power on your Virtual Machine with an external USB attached.
2) Create a backup on the external USB with a program like Acronis or Macrium. (You might have to use a stand alone bootable version --if this is the case then just boot the VM from the .ISO file). If the VM includes the small system partition back this up as well.

3) Now DELETE the original VM.
4) Create a new VM with the VM wizard - defining the new disk space you wish to use.
5) attach the external USB image you created in step 2).
6) boot the restore program and restore the backed up image to your VM disk.
7) now boot the VM -- you should find it all works.

Note to use this method the new disk space must still of course be sufficient for restoring the disk image.

Also on restore -- note that your image might include the system partition as well as the OS partition -- just like a REAL Host OS. this needs to be restored as well.

(48 GB seems a large amount for an XP VM -- ensure that USER DATA is split off from the OS partition -- and only install the OS and Programs on the OS partition -- around 12 - 15 GB should be plenty for the OS and loads of programs. Standard data can be moved / copied with Windows Explorer to alternative locations).

I'm running a load of programs on a HOST Windows 8 Machine and my Host OS is only 35 GB -- although I have a load of other disks for data / music / photos etc.

My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Host disk is running out of room, can't shrink virtual hard disk?

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