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Virtual Machine Files in VMware

Hello and welcome back. Virtual machines (VMs) have become the backbone of modern computing, offering a flexible and efficient way to run multiple operating systems on a single physical machine. But have you ever wondered what makes up a virtual machine? In this blog, we'll look into the world of virtual machine files in VMware, exploring their importance and functions.


At the heart of every virtual machine are several crucial files that are stored on your storage device. The key files are the configuration file, virtual disk file, NVRAM setting file, and log file. These files work together to define and maintain the VM's configuration, storage, and operational settings. Let's break down these key files and their roles:


  • .vmx - This file, often named as "vmname.vmx," holds the virtual machine's configuration settings. It's like the blueprint that tells VMware how to run your VM, including details like hardware specifications, virtual network configurations, and more.

  • .vmxf - Sometimes, you'll come across additional configuration files like "vmname.vmxf." These files supplement the main configuration file with extra settings or customizations.

  • .vmdk - The virtual disk file, named "vmname.vmdk," contains the characteristics and properties of your VM's virtual disks. It's where your data is stored and managed within the virtual environment.

  • -flat.vmdk - This file, with a naming convention like "vmname-flat.vmdk," represents the actual data disk of your virtual machine. It's where the data resides and gets accessed during VM operations.

  • .nvram - The .nvram file, named "vmname.nvram" or simply "nvram," holds the BIOS or EFI configuration of your virtual machine. It's responsible for boot settings and system initialization.

  • .vmem - This file, named "vmname.vmem," serves as a backup for virtual machine paging. It helps in managing memory usage efficiently, especially during resource-intensive tasks.

  • .vmsd - vmname.vmsd.Virtual machine snapshots information (metadata) file

  • .vmsn - vmname.vmsn.Virtual machine memory snapshot file

  • .vswp - The .vswp file, named "vmname.vswp," acts as a temporary storage space when your VM needs more memory than physically available. It helps in avoiding memory constraints and ensures smooth VM performance.

  • .vmss - vmname.vmss. Virtual Machine Suspend State File. When you suspend your VM, VMware generates a .vmss file (e.g., "vmname.vmss"). This file preserves the VM's state, allowing you to resume operations from where you left off without a full shutdown.

  • .log - vmware.log. Current virtual machine log file.

  • -#.log - vmware-#.log (where # is a number starting with 1). Old VM log files. Keep track of VM activities, errors, and performance metrics.

It's important to note that these files are essential for the proper functioning of your virtual machine. VMware advises against changing, moving, or deleting these files without guidance from their technical support team. Mishandling VM files can lead to data loss or operational issues.


Additional files are created when you perform certain tasks with the virtual machine. These files serve specific purposes within the VMware ecosystem.


  • A .hlog file is a log file that is used by vCenter Server to keep track of virtual machine files that must be removed after a certain operation completes.

  • A .vmtx file is created when you convert a virtual machine to a template. The .vmtx file replaces the virtual machine configuration file (.vmx file).

In conclusion, understanding virtual machine files is crucial for VMware administrators and users. These files form the backbone of VM operations, ensuring reliability, flexibility, and performance. By appreciating the roles of each file, you can better manage and optimize your virtual machine environments for maximum efficiency and uptime.


I hope you will find this blog post useful.


Thank you for reading!


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