How to Connect VMware to a Physical Drive

Written by chris hoffman Google
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How to Connect VMware to a Physical Drive
VMware virtual machines can use physical drives as well as virtual ones. (hard disk drive image by BlueMiniu from

VMware is a virtual machine program that runs operating systems inside other operating systems. By default, VMware installs guest operating systems on virtual hard drives, which are actually files on the host operating system's hard drive. VMware virtualizes physical hardware, allowing the guest operating systems to run just like they would on a physical computer. You can also connect physical drives to a VMware guest operating system, and it can use them just like it uses virtual hard disks. VMware refers to these as "raw disks," since they're exposed as hardware to the virtual machine.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Turn off the VMware virtual machine if it's currently running. For example, if you're running a Windows XP virtual machine, click "Start" in the virtual machine, click "Turn Off Computer" and click "Turn Off."

  2. 2

    Click the "Power Off" button on the VMware virtual machine's toolbar.

  3. 3

    Click the "VM" menu at the top of the virtual machine window and click "Settings."

  4. 4

    Click "Add."

  5. 5

    Click "Hard Disk" in the "Hardware Type" window and click "Next."

  6. 6

    Click "Use a Physical Disk (For Advanced Users)" and click "Next."

  7. 7

    Click the "Device" box and click the physical drive's name in the list.

  8. 8

    Click "Use Entire Drive" and click "Next."

  9. 9

    Click "Finish."

  10. 10

    Start the VMware virtual machine by double-clicking it in the VMware window.

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