Recover missing .vmx .vmdk descriptor files – esxi 5.5 6.0 6.5

To recreate .vmx file, bios etc, the easiest way is to create a new VM with the same hardware settings as the original one (of course, if you remember it…). So just "New Virtual Machine –> Typical" and so on.

To recover a .vmdk descriptor file you should follow below steps:

  1. Identify the size of the flat file in bytes. Create a new blank virtual disk that is the same size as the original. This serves as a baseline example that is modified in later steps.
  2. vmdk_missing
    As on above screenshot, use the vmkfstools command to create a new virtual disk: vmkfstool -c size -a lsilogic -d thin name where:
  • -c size – This is the size of virtual disk
  • -a virtual_controller (BusLogic, LSILogic,Paravirtual, or IDE)
  • -d thin  – This creates the disk in thin-provisioned format (also zeroedthick , eagerzeroedthick options available)
  1. Rename the descriptor file (also referred to as a header file) of the newly-created disk to match the name of the original virtual disk.


  1. Modify (using vi) the contents of the renamed descriptor file to reference the flat file.
  • run vi name_of_vmdk. In my case vi recreated_vmdk.vmdk . You will see similar file with name of -flat.vmdk file:


  • change the colored name to a new one. (on vi editor, please type "i" to edit file). In my case:


  • save file by typing :wq!
  1. Now you can add a disk to VM:

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