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Is it possible to convert a VMWare vmdk image file to physical hardisk drive? I know VMWare 6.5 can use physical harddisk drive directly to get good performance, can I convert an existing vmdk file to physical harddisk drive go gain better performance?

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There is very little performance difference between using vmdks and physical drives. – JamesRyan Dec 18 '11 at 17:12

4 Answers 4

If you have qemu-img, you should be able to do all of this from a command line dealing just with image files.

qemu-img convert source.vmdk -O raw /target/drive/

That will write out whatever raw format the vmdk was out to a physical drive. I have not been able to test this on my own, but I think that will work :)

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A tip: qemu version 1.2.0 fixes a bug that occurs when converting VMDK images. See… – Erik Sjölund Sep 18 '12 at 13:49

A bit late, but for reference I have successfully:

  1. Attach clonezilla to the virtual machine
  2. Boot the virtual machine with clonezilla disk
  3. Save an image of the disk to an external USB drive (also attached to the virtual machine)
  4. Restore the image to a physical disk using clonezilla
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Have you tried booting into a BartPE cd (i.e. UltimateP2V ) and using Ghost? You'll probably run into driver problems once it gets on the hardware but, those are easy enough to deal with (in theory, lol).

If you want to create your own P2V (V2V, V2P, etc) disk check out Mike Laverick's write up (its the best):

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Mount the drive in a VM or however, and snapshot it ( Then mount the raw disk in a VM and restore the snapshot onto the disk. That will transfer the drive sector by sector. In Linux I think you can use dd to do the same thing.

Isn't use of physical disks for VM volumes deprecated in VMWare these days?


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The feature still exists in Workstation and the runs-on-bare-hardware-ish products. You can't use physical partitions/disks in this way with VMWare Server or VMWare Player though. – David Spillett Jun 30 '09 at 14:43
You can use physical disks fine in VMWare Server 1. I don't know about 2-- I can't stand it and won't use it. – Evan Anderson Jun 30 '09 at 14:50
You can use any disk imaging software you prefer. I will often use a "helper VM" that has it's own boot drive and then mount the source and target drives. The VM has all the disk tools I usually use and makes it easy if you have to do this from time to time. – Kevin Kuphal Jun 30 '09 at 14:54

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