How to Add Physical Disk to Virtual Machine in VMware Workstation

In this article, we will examine the steps to add a physical disk to a VM using the VMware Workstation virtualization program.

How to Add Physical Disk to Virtual Machine in VMware Workstation

How to Install Physical Disk to Virtual Machine

When you create virtual machines using the VMware Workstation virtualization program, you typically create a new disk for the machine.

When configuring a new virtual machine, you can also use a physical hard disk. Using a portable disk on VMware software will give you more performance. If you have an external HDD, you can use this HDD for the VM.

For example, in this article we will add the 320 GB HDD mounted with the USB 3.0 HDD box to the VM. On VM Workstation, you can use the physical HDD in two ways. These;

  1. Using entire disk
  2. Using individual partitions

If you have more than one partition on the hard disk you want to add to the VM, continue with option 2. If you will use the drive completely for the VM, you can continue with option 1.

We recommend that you use the entire drive for machine performance. Using physical HDD on VMware may be necessary in some situations. For example, using a full HDD for VM ESXi 6.5 installation will save you time and performance.

In this article, we will create/prepare a virtual machine for VM ESXi 6.5 installation.

You can also check out our article called How to Install ESXi 6.7.

How to Create a Virtual Machine for ESXi 6.5/6.7  using a Physical Disk

Follow the instructions below to create a new VM for VMware ESXi 6.5 installation using physical HDD on VMware Workstation 14 Pro.

If you have not done VM Workstation setup before, check the VMware Workstation Setup on Windows 10.

   Step 1

While we create a new VM with VMware Workstation, you can see the external drive we will add it to the VM from the following image.

This PC

   Step 2

Open VM Workstation 14/15 and click Create a new machine. In the VM Wizard window, select Custom (Advanced) and click on the Next button.

Custom (Advanced)

   Step 3

In the VM hardware compatibility window, select Workstation 14.x and click Next.

VMware Hardware Compatibility

   Step 4

Select the I will install the operating system later option and click Next button.

I will install the operating system later

   Step 5

In the next article, we will prepare this VM for ESXi as we will install VM ESXi. Select VMware ESXi in the operating system window, select VMware ESXi 6.5 and later in the Version section, and then click Next.

VMware ESXi 6.5 and later

   Step 6

As an example, you can back up the VM location to your desktop. If you want to back up to a physical HDD, the software will give you the error “The physical disk is already in use“.

Therefore, you will need to back up the VM to a different location. Click Next to continue.

The physical disk is already in use

   Step 7

The minimum processor requirement for VMware ESXi is at least 2 Core. Keep these values high depending on your processor type. After setting the processor hardware for the VM, click on the Next button.

Processor Configuration

   Step 8

Set the 4096 (4 GB) RAM value and click on the Next button.

RAM Configuration

   Step 9

Select NAT as the Network Type and click on the Next button. If you do not know how NAT connectivity works on VM, check out the NAT Connection.

Use network address translation (NAT)

   Step 10

Select Paravirtualized SCSI and click Next.

Paravirtualized SCSI

   Step 11

Select the SCSI option and click on the Next button.

SCSI

   Step 12

We are the most important step to add the HDD to the VM. As you can see in the image below, select Use a physical disk (for advanced users) and click on the Next button.

Use a physical disk (for advanced users)

   Step 13

Open Disk Management on Windows 10 and find the number assigned to the physical disk.

Windows Disk Management

   Step 14

In the Select a Physical Disk window, select PhysicalDrive2 from Device and Use entire disk from Usage and click Next.

Use entire disk

   Step 15

In the Specify Disk File window, click the Next button.

Specify Disk File

   Step 16

Configure the processor configuration of the VM’s hardware options as follows. Ensure that the Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI option is selected.

Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI

   Step 17

Click on the Finish button to close the window.

Finish Virtual Machine Wizard

   Step 18

You can see from the screen below that the VM we have prepared for VM ESXi 6.5 uses a physical disk.

Hard Disk (SCSI)

   Step 19

Also, go to the location of the VM and check the disk configuration of the VM by opening the .vmdk file with Notepad.

Editing .vmdk

How to Add Hard Disk in VMware Workstation ⇒ Video

To add an external harddisk to the virtual machine, you can watch the following video and also subscribe to our YouTube channel to support us…

Add HDD to Virtual Machine Video

   Final Word


In this article, we have created a new virtual machine for vSphere ESXi 6.5 installation on VMware Workstation 14. Using physical harddisk on VM will give you the performance increase. Thanks for following us!

   Related Articles


♦ What is ESXi, vSphere, and vCenter?
♦ How to Install Debian on VMware
♦ How to Install VMware Tools in Debian
♦ How to Upgrade VMware Workstation
♦ What is VMware Fusion

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