Scenario: Opening any virtual machine driver from HFS partition, you get error: VMware Workstation – “Cannot open one of the virtual disks needed by this VM because it is larger that the maximum size supported by the host file system”
Cause: Windows file limitation for HFS is 2 GB
Solution: The most common cause is that, as the error message outlines, the underlying file system on which the VM is being run from doesn’t support larger files than 2GB. Your VMs VMDK disk will, in the majority of cases be bigger than this. For example a hard disk formatted with FAT32 will throw up this error.
Though not to worry all is not lost as you can tell VMware Workstation to skip checking any underlying disk file size limitations (ie: 2GB) by adding the following line to your VMs VMX file. Note: The VMX file is generally found in the same directory as your VMs VMDK file.
If you are going to be moving VMs between PCs that have this 2GB file limitation then you should consider configuring any future virtual disks to use a set of files limited to 2GB per file. This setting is defined at the time of creating the virtual disk with VMware Workstation.
You can actually change the disk type after it has been created as well from the command line. In order to change your virtual disk to a growable virtual disk split in 2GB chunks, run the following command:
vmware-vdiskmanager -r sourceDisk.vmdk -t 1
As always, do make sure to have a working and recent backup before you run the above command. Just in case, so you don’t bump into problems if -for example- you run out of disk space.