By Alison / Last Updated September 5, 2022

Case: The specified virtual disk needs repair

As virtual machines are convenient when testing or deploying applications affected by virus, they can easily get damaged. Have you ever encountered an error like this:

Cannot open the disk or one of the snapshot disks it depends on.

The specified virtual disk needs repair.


It means that the VMDK file of your VM is corrupted. There are 2 reasons that could lead to this error, for example:

  • Virus or malware: Virus or malware present in your system or enter through external sources can severely damage your VM.
  • Unexpected file termination: Immediate termination of VMDK files without saving it properly may result in failure to open VMDK in VMware again.
  • Forced system shutdown: Immediate system shutdown during saving process often damages opened files.

In this article, I will introduce 2 efficient ways of how to repair damaged VMware virtual machines from this situation.

How to repair VMware VMDK file via VMware vdiskmanager

1. Open Command Prompt by pressing Win + R and type cmd.

2. Navigate to the folder path where you installed VMware Workstation.

By default, the directory is located at:
Windows XP – C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation
Windows Vista/Windows 7/8 32bit – C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Workstation
Windows Vista/Windows 7/8/10 64bit – C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation
Windows Server 2008 R2 – C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation

Note: VMware Player do not come with VMware vdiskmanager, you need to download it additionally from VMware’s official page.

3. Run the following command:

vmware-vdiskmanager -R "complete path of the corrupted vmdk file"

Example: vmware-vdiskmanager -R "E:\Virtual Machines\Windows 10\virtualdisk.vmdk"

VMware vdiskmanager

This is how you can repair VMDK file VMware using vdiskmanager.

Repair damaged VMware virtual machine by restoring from backup

Except for VMware vdiskmanager, the other way to repair damaged VMware virtual machine is to restore from backups. This is also the most common and efficient way to deal with VM problems, whether it is VMware ESXi or Hyper-V.

Here I recommend you a professional and free VMware backup software - AOMEI Cyber Backup. It has the following benefits.

Schedule backup: with 2 easy steps you can create a complete automatic backup task of multiple VMs on the host. With multiple restore points you can roll back your VM to any past time you like.
 Role assignment: allows one administrator to create sub-accounts with limited privileges, effectively avoid errors caused by others’ mis-operations.
Perpetual free edition: you can use this freeware to backup and restore your VMs with no time limit.
Supported versions: VMware ESXi 6.0 and all later versions, Windows Server 2012 and all later versions.

By restoring VM from backups you will gain independent and instant usable VMs. The more often you back up, the more recent data you can restore.

Next, I will demonstrate how to create a complete backup task of multiple ESXi VMs. You can click the following button to download the free edition:

Download FreewareVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

How to backup and restore VMware virtual machine using AOMEI Cyber Backup

1. Bind device: Access AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, and navigate to Source Device > VMware ESXi > + Add VMware ESXi, provide authentication credentials and then click > Bind Device.

Add VMware ESXi host

Note: You only need to do this step the first time you bind this device, don’t need to repeat it later.

2. Create backup task: Navigate to Backup Task and click + Create New Task, set up Task Name, Device Type, Device Name, Target, Schedule according to your need.

Create a VMware ESXi backup task

  • Device: using AOMEI Cyber Backup you can backup multiple, or even all VMs on the host at once.
  • Target: select to back up to a local path, or to a network path.
  • Schedule: choose to perform full, differential or incremental backup, and automate execution daily, weekly or monthly according to the frequency you specified. More restore points can better protect your VM data from being lost.

Schedule type

Then you can click Start Backup. The completed backup tasks will be listed separately.

3. Restore from backup: Navigate to Backup Management > History Versions, select the VM and the restore point you want to restore, click Operation > > Restore. Select to Restore to original location, and click Start Restore.

Restore to original location

Tips: You can also upgrade to Premium Edition to enjoy the Restore to new location option, which can help you restore the VM to another datastore or host by creating an identical new VM with customizable RAM and Vital Processor.


If your VMware virtual machine cannot be open properly, it is likely that its VMDK file is corrupted. In this article, I introduced 2 effective ways to repair damaged VMware virtual machines.

Among them, regular virtual machine backup is the most common way to protect VM data. If you want an easy tool to manage the backup tasks centrally, I recommend you AOMEI Cyber Backup. In addition, it also allows you to bind multiple hosts and clone VMs remotely. Definitely worth a try.