Is it possible to repair a corrupt VDI file? The OS on the VDI (XP) doesn't boot at all, it just hangs at a black screen. I was getting file errors before on its last boot, but now its not working at all.

Sector viewer shows 'Invalid partition table Error loading operating system Missing operating system'. I tried mounting the file from the host OS, but it just says that the drive isn't formatted. I don't need to be able to run the VDI, but I do need some files that are on it.

Is there any way to recover files from the corrupt VDI file?

  • last time you ran the VM was it shut down correctly?
    – madmaze
    Jan 21, 2011 at 20:09
  • prolly not, I think it had a power out shutdown Jan 21, 2011 at 20:31
  • 2
    Can you boot it with an ISO then either repair the OS installation or retrieve your files?
    – Cheeto
    Jan 21, 2011 at 21:44

3 Answers 3


Most of the time a crash while running a VM with VirtualBox will corrupt the profile, not the VDI.

Try making a fresh profile and add the existing VDI as the disk. You could also try a scandisk on the host system if you haven't.

  • 1
    Can confirm this worked for me. Created a new VM using the same VDI. Up and running again.
    – user727382
    Feb 4, 2012 at 5:23
  • Well I'll be damned this actually worked.
    – Tek
    Aug 6, 2014 at 19:52
  • This worked for my. I kept getting "read only" errors when trying to boot my VM. After several attempts, I switched it off and created a new VM with the troublesome VDI image. I was able to boot up! Then I shut down cleanly, and rebooted the broken VM - everything worked again!!!
    – Eamorr
    Feb 20, 2015 at 19:23
  • In my case, I just removed the problematic VHD disk and then added it again. Worked. Runned scandisk and other tools just for sure.
    – EMBarbosa
    Oct 26, 2015 at 13:39

In my case the VDI crashed within a new profile too.

Do the following steps to rescue data:

  1. create a new profile with your .vdi to rescue as a harddisk
  2. download a linux live CD (like puppy, xubunu...) and add it as a live-cd image to the new profile
  3. start the VM
  4. mount the .vdi file (in my case it was sda2) and rescue your files as you like (send them as email to yourself)

have fun

  • 1
    Could you explain this in more detail please? I would really appreciate it.
    – picxelplay
    Apr 5, 2012 at 10:04
  • He "plugged" the VDI hard drive into a Linux OS and copied all the files he would still need. Then he setup a fresh new Windows XP installation and copied the files he had just rescued before. Feb 2, 2016 at 8:16

mounting the drive somehow to retrieve your files would be your best option. I don't know of any repair solutions for a VDI file, but I did stumble across this:


  • I have also seen this to be a "false alarm!" Quite recently, VirtualBox ominously told me that the main-hard-drive VDI file of a Linux VM was "unavailable," and yet the VM subsequently booted just fine. There was, in fact, nothing wrong with the disk at all. Mar 14, 2016 at 14:47

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