Over a period of time your virtual disk will begin to degrade. In this post, you will learn how to shrink and defragment a virtual disk in VMware Workstation.


Over a period of time, your virtual disk will grow and performance will degrade. To prevent this, you can defragment the virtual disk. Prior to performing this task, the virtual machine in question must be powered off. Next, highlight the virtual machine you want to defragment and select Edit Virtual Machine Settings (see Figure A).

Figure A

Select Edit Virtual Machine Settings.

On the Hardware tab, highlight the virtual Hard Disk | Utilities and click the Defragment button (see Figure B).

Figure B

Defragment a virtual machine.

Figure C displays a progress bar as the virtual hard drive is defragmented. A disk defragmentation complete message will appear when the process is complete. Now we’ll move on to shrinking a virtual disk drive.

Figure C

Check the status on the Defrag Progress Bar.

Note: Defragmenting a disk is a time-consuming process, depending on the size of your virtual disk. It is best to do it when you are not working with other virtual machines.

Shrinking a virtual disk requires all snapshots for that disk to be removed. Prior to shrinking the disk, make a backup copy of the virtual drive and archive for safekeeping. You can delete your snapshots by highlighting the applicable virtual machine and selecting VM | Snapshot | Snapshot Manager and deleting all snapshots.

Next, double-click the VMware Tools icon in the system tray, as shown in Figure D. On the VMware Tools Properties window, select the Shrink tab and choose which partition you want to shrink, as shown in Figure E.

Figure D

Open VMware Tools.

Figure E

Choose the partition you want to shrink.

Click the Prepare to Shrink button, and a progress bar will show the preparation of the disk (see Figure F). At the end of this process, you are asked whether to shrink (see Figure G) the disk now. Click Yes to shrink the disk. A progress bar will show you when the process is complete. Click OK.

Figure F

Prepare to shrink your disk.

Figure G

Choose to shrink your disk.