VMware: Add second disk to a Windows virtual machine

If make use of virtual machines as much as I do, then you will be in need of more storage space and at the same time running out of space. One way to expand the storage capacity of a virtual machine is to add a second virtual disk.

For this tutorial I will be adding a 50GB virtual hard disk to a Windows Server 2003 virtual machine. The instructions should apply to all versions of VMware Workstations and VMware Player, the instructions will also work with all versions of Windows.


Start VMware Workstation and select the virtual machine you wish to add the second disk. Click on Edit virtual machine settings.

Click on image to enlarge

A new window will open. Click on Add button at the bottom.

Click on image to enlarge

Now the Add Hardware Wizard window will present you with several options. Click on Hard Disk and then click on Next.


Select Create a new virtual disk and then on Next.


Usually, VMware Workstation will suggest a type of virtual disk. In this case the suggested type is SCSI (Recommended) and click on Next.


Choose the size of the virtual disk you wish to create in GB. My preference is to choose to Store virtual disk as a single file and click on Next.


Now just tell it where to store the new disk file and click on Finish. I would recommend going with the default, keep all files in the same place.


Again you are presented with an overview of the system configuration. Notice how the new second disk, click on Save to preserve the changes.

Click on image to enlarge


If you boot the virtual machine the new virtual disk will not appear under windows. You have to make use of a Windows utility called compmgmt.msc which will allow us to manage(initialize, format) the new disk.

You will need administrative privileges

Click on Start > Run and type compmgmt.msc and then hit OK.

This will bring a new window, click on Next to continue.


Here you are being asked which disk you want to initialize. The C disk is know as disk 0, using logic we know that our new disk will be known as disk 1. Check Disk 1 and click on Next


Select the disk you want to convert. Of course, we want to convert Disk 1. Check on Disk 1 and click on Next.


Now the wizard is giving you an overview of whats about to be done to the disk. If you are OK with the changes click Finish.


We still have some work to do before we can use that new disk. Now right click on the unallocated volume(Disk 1) and select New volume….


Click Next on the New Volume Wizard.


Select the volume type. In this case Simple and click on Next.


In this screen you are being asked to select the disk and disk size. I want to use all of the available space, just click on Next to continue.


Just accept the default disk letter and click on Next.


Now this is important. You are being asked whether you want to format the disk with NTFS and the volume label. Don’t be lazy like me, give the Volume Label a proper name. Then just hit Next.


Again you are being presented with an overview of whats about to be done with the disk. If you agree, click on Finish.


The new disk will now be formatted, allow for some time.


After the formatting is done you can close the window and go to Start > My Computer and you should be able to see the new disk with the assigned letter E.


Thank you for reading my tutorial, feel free to comment.

Updated on 11/14/2010 by L.Ventura

  • sridhar

    This article was clear in telling how to add a new partition to my VM.

  • zig

    Thanks! This is very helpful.

  • Rahail

    Thanks a million. you know I deleted my windows server 2008 one million times to add a virtual disk to configure backup… I didn’t knew I had to add a hard disk using the windows quota management.. Thanks a lot for this guide. you rock

  • Nithya

    Good article!Thanks

  • Romita

    Thanks for the tutorial, works perfect dude 😀

  • Daniel Kim

    There is also a quick/dirty way to do this by editing the .vmx and .vmdk files of your virtual machine. The virtualmachine.vmx file is plain text, and can be edited using Notepad or Wordpad (It displays badly in Notepad, possibly because it uses linefeeds instead of CR/LF at the end of lines. Open once with Wordpad and save it, and it will display fine in Notepad).

    Your disk image files are referenced in the lines that refer to “IDE0:0” or “SCSI0:0”. Copy these lines and change 0:0 to 0:1 to refer to a second drive. Also change the name of the drivename.vmdk file that holds the disk image to refer to a different image file.

    If you have a drivename.vmdk image file, you can copy it with a different filename, creating a new drive image (including all the data that was there) to match your new .vmx entry. Next, edit the .vmdk file with Wordpad. The file’s header contains plain text data about the disk image and its architecture. Just change the filename reference to match the new name of the .vmdk file.

    Now your virtual machine will think it has a new drive connected to it. You may still have to use Windows Disk Management to re-format the new drive.

    So, a bit roundabout and unnecessary, but it does teach alot about how VMware handles its configurations.

    • There is nothing unnecessary about your comment, as you pointed out it’s good to know what you are working with. Thank you for the detailed comment.

  • Tony Hadley

    Thanks for the post. Very clear and detailed instructions. You saved me a lot of time.

  • Jor-el Schellingerhoudt

    Finallly i understand how to add secondary disk to vmware Thank you!

  • Thiru

    Thank you very much. Its really very helpful topic.

  • kayode

    thank you very much. at last i understand how to add second disk to vmware.

  • rhyno

    Nice, very informative. Thank you

  • Username * Edited

    thank you!
    it’s help me!

  • EM

    The article was very clear and applying the steps was a piece of cake

  • I followed your instructions but I end up with a drive that is unavailable in WS2003. The drive letter shows up but it shows no size. When I try to open/explore I get “H: refers to a location that is unavailable. …” I have tried several other configurations and cannot get the disk to be usable. Any thoughts?

  • chandra

    thank you…save me ton of time…

  • ml

    Thank you

  • Claudia Milena

    Buenos Dias:
    Solicito le favor me indiques en que lugar pudiera descargar una maquina virtual de linux para ejecutarla en VMware.
    Mil gracias por la ayuda que me puedas brindar.
    Claudia Milena

  • twiTiger

    Thanks a lot! That was very helpful.

  • Eric

    Ahh the joy of finding a clear concise walkthrough with screenshots. A rare gem amonst so many partial and poorly explained forum comments. Thanks so much for posting for the good of al VMware humanity!

  • Sanjay

    Hi,i have installed windows server 2k3 in a disk space of 150GB,when the machine installed it makes a single drive itself,but i want a 100 GB drive on the same,so pls help me how to make a partation of 100 GB from the 150 GB drive.

    Many thanx in advance


  • Aneesh

    Thankyou very much for this information … it was very helpful and easy to follow.

  • Sunil

    It’s helpful info.

  • Nice tip and thanks for the screenshot. It helped me! Cheers.

  • Thangam

    Its really very helpful topic,Thanks

  • miniksharp

    Other than add more virtual disks, we can also increase existing VMware virtual disk size for capacity expansion.


  • LC

    Thanks a lot. It is very clear and helpful information.

  • Great tutorial. New to VMWare and this was just what I needed. Thanks!

  • shiva

    It’s very clear and worked for me

  • Thanks.
    That was an excellent and easy to follow explanation.
    I appreciate that.

  • Gregory Boon

    Thanks! After finding all the posts about altering the vmx file and that failing, you let me know to use the correct tool and let me get the job done.

    Diskmgtmt.msc is a shortcut to the option in compmgmt too.

  • Joe

    I found this helpful – years after you wrote it.

  • shilpa

    Thnaku so much..

  • aiman

    Great way it’s done the job i need
    thanks ^^

  • Ryde27


    I have successfully created a new Hard Disk in the Virtual machine settings. But under the Disk Managerment It didnt launch the ” Initialize and Convert Disk Wizard ” which the unallocated new disk is not seen in the disk management. does anyone has an idea how can I resolved this?


  • Raviraj

    Superb…it helps a lot

  • yogesh

    thanks .very helpful

  • sanjay mondal

    yaa this is to good thank you very much

  • Ancient Flavor

    Great…. Thanks.

  • GiGi

    Thanks! It worked.

  • Sammy

    Thanks big !

  • haythem


  • Chandramani

    thanks it worked

  • Lins

    thanks, it worked. keep it up