VMware workstation file types -vmdk, vmx, vmsn etc.

2 min readJan 30, 2021


Whenever we download a virtual machine to install in VMware workstation, it consists of more than one file. But we only care about .vmdk file for the most part because our work is done with just that.Other files are there for a reason, but what do other files mean?

All the info about a VM (Virtual Machine) is not stored in a single file. Different info like about hard drive, VM’s configuration, BIOS state, etc are stored in separate files.

Different file types as shown.


This stores the contents of the VM’s hard disk drive. In other words, it is file to which the guest operating system (OS) can write. Earlier VMware products used the extension .dsk for virtual disk files.


This is the primary configuration file. It stores settings set by user in the virtual machine settings (hypervisor) editor. Earlier this file had .cfg extension.


This is a config file for VMs that are in a team. Note that the .vmxf file remains if a virtual machine is removed from the team. In short, it is a supplemental config file.


This is the file that stores the state of the VM’s BIOS. Read more, about what is BIOS, here.


This stores info and metadata about snapshots. Snapshots are used to store a VM’s state at that particular time. Read more, about snapshots, here.


As obvious the name tells, this is the file that keeps a log of key VM’s activity. This file can be useful in troubleshooting if problems are encountered.


This is a database file that contains VM’s snapshot info and metadata about relation between snapshots and disks for each snapshot.


This is the snapshot state file, which stores the running state of a virtual machine at the time you take that snapshot. This is an optional file.


This is the suspended state file, which stores the state of a suspended virtual machine.

Hope you learnt something new. Reach out to me at https://harjasnagi.ml :)

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