I am runing 4 virtual machines on my macbook pro, But i realized recently that virtual disk vmdk files are taking way too much space, I will very much like to delete these .vmdk files but i am not sure if deleting them will affect my existing virtual machines. everywhere I have looked so far provides mixed information that doest not help my current situation. Attached is a screenshot of my system information.

System information

  • You have to look at the settings of all your virtual machines to see where these disks are used. If these are system disks, their size is entirely normal. Is it possible that you have created the disks with "Allocate all disk space now"?
    – harrymc
    Oct 15, 2018 at 19:12
  • The settings under Virtual Disk.vmdk is set to: split into multiple files. I am not sure that is an issue or not Oct 15, 2018 at 19:22
  • Does this mean that they all belong to the same VM (are all in the same folder)? Have you created the disk with "Allocate all disk space now"?
    – harrymc
    Oct 15, 2018 at 19:24
  • no they don't all be all belong to the same vm but different VMs, when clicking they description point to the VM the files belong to. my worry is that what will happen if I deleted these file Oct 15, 2018 at 19:28
  • 1
    I think so, unless you can locate which disk belongs to which VM. In any case, you must remove the disk from the VMware settings of the machine before deleting the file. Blindly deleting files leads to damaged VM.
    – harrymc
    Oct 15, 2018 at 19:36

2 Answers 2


You cannot physically delete files as long as they are included in the definition of a VM or you risk damaging it.

You must remove the disk from the VMware settings of the VM before deleting the file.

If the file is the system disk of the VM, you might as well delete the VM itself.

I find it strange that all the files have the same size, so I ask myself if you have pre-allocated them all. Files should be defined as growable to use minimal space. It is still possible to convert a static file to growable if that's the case, but reducing it is a longer story.


The hard disk file for the Virtual Machine is split into multiple files by default.

Reason stated as:

Splitting a disk makes it easier to move your virtual machine to an external drive or iPod.

This can be changed in the "Hard Disk (SCSI) settings for those who prefer a single vmdk file instead.

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