This article will show you how to enlarge hard disk virtual machine if you set the disk to be so small at the beginning of creating virtual machine and will also introduce you a simple way to manage virtual hard drive.

A Brief Introduction to Virtual Machine of VMware Workstation

VMware Workstation is a program which makes it possible for users to set up one or more virtual machines on a single physical machine or run multiple operating systems simultaneously.

A virtual machine is an emulation of a particular computer system and operates based on the computer architecture and functions of a real or hypothetical computer. Each virtual machine works separately and functions like a real machine.

If you want to run virtual machine successfully, specialized hardware, software, and system should be involved. Well then, how to set up a virtual machine? 

How to Create Virtual Machine on VMware Workstation

After the ISO file of operating system has been downloaded and VMware Workstation has been installed, you can follow the steps as below to create a virtual machine: 

Step 1. Launch VMware Workstation. Then you need to choose Create a New Virtual Machine.

create a new virtual machine

Step 2. Then, choose a type of configuration and click Next to continue. It is recommended to choose Typical.

click Next

Step 3. Then you will get the interface below. Now you can install guest operating system either from installer disc, or from installer disc image file (ISO).

Of course, you can also choose to install it latter. And here we select the second one since there is no drive available: click Browse… to select the downloaded ISO file from physical machine, and then click Next.

choose Install from installer disk image file

Step 4. Select a guest operating system (the system you want to install for virtual machine), and click Next.

select a guest operating system

Step 5. Next, name the virtual machine and appoint it with a location on physical machine. Then click Next.

rename the virtual machine and click Next

Step 6. After these steps, we need to set virtual hard drive capacity (a virtual hard disk can function like a physical hard disk, so it can be used to save different kinds of files, too). Then click Next.

set virtual hard drive capacity

The maximum disk size will be set to be smaller by default (may be 60GB), but we can change it by typing the exact value.

However, some users may click Next directly to continue rather than reset a new hard disk capacity. As a result, they get a very small hard disk which may be out of space after a period of time.

Under this situation, users badly need to increase virtual machine disk size. Well then, how to add disk VMware workstation or increase virtual machine disk size? We will introduce detailed steps after the problem how to create virtual machine is solved. 

Step 7. Once the hard disk capacity is set, we need to configure hardware for this virtual machine. We can either click Finish to employ default hardware configuration or customize it, which depends on our own demands.


Step 8. After that, the virtual machine we are creating appears in VMware Workstation. You can power on this virtual machine, and the system installation interface will appear in a short time. At this time, install Windows 10 on virtual machine like install system on physical disk.

install Windows 10 on virtual machine

Tip: If the installation interface does not emerge, we need to power off the virtual machine, then choose CD/DVD under Devices menu, and next select the ISO file under the Use ISO image file option from physical machine. 

Once the installation is completed, we can use the virtual machine normally. But what if the hard disk was set too small when we were creating virtual machine? Next, let’s see the specific solution, and here we just take Windows 10 operating system for example. 

How to Increase Virtual Machine Disk Size or Add New Virtual Hard Disk

It’s amazing that users can add disk VMware workstation and increase virtual machine disk size without replacing physical hard disks, and it can be completed from the GUI (Graphical User Interface) of VMware Workstation.

Next let’s see how to increase hard disk space in VMware virtual machine and how to add disk VMware workstation and with detailed steps.

1. Expand Virtual Hard Drive in VMware Workstation

This part will show you how to enlarge hard disk virtual machine with detailed steps and screenshots. 

Tip: Before you expand virtual hard drive in VMware Workstation, you need to power off the virtual machine.

Step 1. Choose Hard Disk under Devices

click Hard Disk

Step 2. Click Hard Disk. And on the right side, you can Expand button, click it to go on.

click Expand to expand disk capacity

Note: The Expand…button may be gray out sometimes. That is because there is a snapshot which contains the hard disk you want to expand. To fix this error, you can either remove the snapshot or use VMware vCenter Converter as the error message suggests. You can just delete snapshot since this requires relatively simple operations.

Step 3. Specify the maximum size for the virtual disk and click Expand.

VMware expand disk

Step 4. Click OK.

click OK after expansion

Step 5. After we expanded the VMware disk, we can see the hard disk size has been changed in VMware Workstation.

the disk size has been changed in VMware Workstation

Tip: To expand hard disk from GUI is feasible for VMware Workstation 7 and later versions. To do the expanding in older versions of Workstation, you may need to make use of command prompt.

Actually, apart from enlarging the existing disk to increase storage space, we can add new hard disk as well. Let’s see the specific operations. 

2. Add New Virtual Hard Disk for Virtual Machine

On one virtual machine, we can configure it with multiple hard disks to increase storage capacity, and detailed steps are as follows.

Step 1. Open the VMware Workstation and open a virtual machine from the physical hard disk to get the following window. Then choose Hard Disk under the Devices item since we need to add hard disk rather than any other hardware component.

choose Hard Disk under Devices

Step 2. In this interface, select Hard Disk and click Add button. 

select hard disk and click add

Step 3. In the list of Hardware types, select Hard Disk and click Next.

click Next

Step 4. Follow the step-by-step instruction to add hard disk to VMware virtual machine and set capacity for the new virtual hard disk according to our demands. At last, click OK to apply all previous changes.

click OK

Tip: Some versions of VMware Workstation rule that the disk capacity cannot be larger than 2048GB (2TB).

Now the new disk has been added. At this time, as long as we open the virtual machine and initialize the new disk to either MBR or GPT in Disk Management utility, we can use it to save data.

This is how VMware increase disk size. Actually, there is still another way to increase hard disk capacity, and it is to make use of the command prompt tool, but this way requires complex operations and professional knowledge so that we are easy to make mistakes.

Therefore, VMware highly suggests making a backup for the virtual machine before increasing the size of hard disk with this way, and we do not recommend using it. For more information about this solution, you can check this post: Increasing the size of a virtual disk of VMware.

However, though the entire hard disk has been enlarged or a new disk has been added, the added space is the form of unallocated space.

So how can we make use of the expanded hard disk space in virtual machine? There are 2 choices: one is to create a new partition, and the pother is to extend an existing partition to it. 

How to Make Use of the Increased Hard Disk Space in Virtual Machine

Create New Simple Volume in Virtual Hard Disk

To use this space, we can open the corresponding virtual machine, and then enter Windows snap-in Disk Management utility.

Step 1. Right-click Windows Start menu and If you do not know how to enter this program, please see how do I open partition manager.

Step 2. Right-click the unallocated space and choose the first option New Simple Volume.

choose New Simple Volume

Step 3. Follow the New Simple Volume Wizard to create a new partition and set properties like partition size, file system and allocation unit size (also called cluster size) for this partition.

Nevertheless, most of the time we are more inclined to extend an existing partition to the increased space rather than create new partitions since existing partitions (especially the partition C) are easy to run out of disk space. Next, let’s see how to extend a partition. 

Enlarge Hard Disk Partition of Virtual Machine with MiniTool Partition Wizard

If your virtual machine is running Windows Vista or more recent Windows operating systems like Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012, try extending partition in Disk Management, because these operating systems provide the function Extend Volume.

Nevertheless, there are 2 big limitations in this function: it cannot extend a primary partition to non-adjacent unallocated space; the partition we want to extend should be formatted with NTFS or RAW. In other words, the increased space can only be added to the last primary partition.

Therefore, we had better look for other ways to extend partitions of virtual hard disk, for example, using a third-party software.

Actually, there is a free partitioning tool that can help enlarge hard disk partition in virtual machine wherever the unallocated space is located and using such this kind of software can simplify operations and enhance data security – that is MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition.

Now, let’s see detailed steps to increase partition size in VMware Workstation.

Step 1. Download and install the freeware to virtual machine. Of course, you can download it in physical machine and then transfer it to virtual machine if VMware Tools has been installed.

MiniTool Partition Wizard FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

Step 2. Launch the program. In this interface MiniTool Partition Wizard will list all recognized hard disks and partitions, and users need to select a partition and choose Extend Partition feature from the left pane.

extend partition

Step 3. Then, select the unallocated space under the drop-down menu of Take Free Space from. And drag the sliding handle to decide how much space to take from the unallocated space. Next, click OK to go back to the main interface below: 

choose the unallocated space to take some free space

Step 4. Now we can see the partition has been extended. At this time, we only need to click Apply button on the top to make this change applied. 

click Apply to extend partition

Actually, apart from enlarging hard disk partition in virtual machine, MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition is capable of doing lots of other partitioning operations, like create partition, delete partition, format partition, move/resize partition, wipe disk/partition, copy disk, convert FAT to NTFS, merge partition, convert MBR to GPT, etc.

It can be your all-in-one partition manager in virtual machine. Try using it to manage your disks and partitions in virtual machine of VMware Workstation.

MiniTool Partition Wizard FreeClick to Download100%Clean & Safe

By following the steps in this post, I successfully enlarged hard disk partition in Virtual Machine with the help of MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition.Click to Tweet

Bottom Line

After reading this post, you must have learned how to create virtual machine, add new virtual hard disk, increase virtual machine disk size, and enlarge hard disk partition of virtual machine by following the steps above.

If you have any question about how to manage virtual hard drive with MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition, you can leave a message in the following comment zone and we will reply as soon as possible. If you need any help when using MiniTool software, you can contact us via [email protected].

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