Virtualization Articles and Resources

VMware Single File Recovery with NetApp NFS datastores


This paper documents the configuration and tools that can be used to perform recovery of single files from NetApp SnapShots of VMware virtual machines within NFS datastores. A variety of configurations, tools, and techniques can be used to accomplish these tasks for both Microsoft Windows and Linux Guest Operating Systems. This paper will focus on tools that are freely available, and can be enhanced with custom scripting, to help automate the processes around single file recovery in a VMware environment that uses NFS datastores.


The full documentation (VMware_Single_File_Recovery_1.3.pdf) around configuring your system for and performing single file recovery with VMware virtual machines on NFS datastores is attached to this post.  The VMDKMounter for Windows (VMDKmounter2.1zip) and Linux ( scripts that are discussed in this document are also attached to this post.



NOTE: Starting with vmdkmounter_linux version 2.3, you must pass in the path to the folder/directory of the virtual machine that you are restoring from. Previous versions required the full path to the actual “-flat.vmdk” file, but that is not allowed starting with version 2.3. This was done to support Linux logical volumes that span multiple VMDK files.  See the documentation for example usage.
NOTE: Starting with vmdkmounter_linux version 3.0, support for clustered Data ONTAP (cDOT) 8.2 and higher is included.



VMDKmounter2.1_msi - VMDKMounter for Windows install file. (Rename to .msi after download)

VMware_Single_File_Recovery_1.3.pdf - Documentation.

README.txt - Information about VMDKMounter for Linux.

vmdkmounter - The linux executable.

vmdkmounter_pl - The linux Perl source code. (Rename to .pl)


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Thanks Mike. The documentation for this is great. In our environment we only have iSCSI and NFS licensed for protocols and do not have FlexClone. If I understood the doc correctly, am I out of luck to utilize this without CIFS for Windows or FlexClone for Linux?


Hi Leif, you might be interested in these two blog posts I made about doing single-file recoveries from VMDKs without using Flexclone, or any vmware utilities -

Hope it helps.. it's a bit complex, but quite safe.


Works great on x86 machines (VMDKMounter 2.1) but can't get it to work on x64 Windows 7. Is there a x64 version planned in the future?



Curious if there are specific settings for IE9 for this to work.  The browser opens but is blank and nothing happens.


I’m not aware of any special requirements for IE9, but I recently found that it does not work correctly on newer 64bit machines due to some hardcoded paths. If you have a “Program Files (86)” folder, you can just copy the “C:\Program Files (x86)\NetApp\VMDKMounter” and the “C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Virtual Disk Development Kit” folders to “C:\Program Files\NetApp\VMDKMounter” and the “C:\Program Files\VMware\Virtual Disk Development Kit” respectively. Hope that helps,


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Subject: Re: - VMware Single File Recovery with NetApp NFS datastores


VMware Single File Recovery with NetApp NFS datastores

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I tried doing this with a GPT disk and Windows just prompts me to format the disk before it can be used instead of opening the disk and its contents.  Is there a way, or another tool, that will mount a VMDK with a GPT disk?


I'll take a look at this issue with GPT disks and get back to you.


Apparently the VMware VDDK does not support GPT disks.  I'll see if there are any other ways to do this, but the current tool relies on the VMware VDDK and therefore won't work with GPT disks.


How about Netapp and VMware get together and solve this issue?  A lot of companies use the mounter to restore files and GPT is more and more used these days.


I didn't see in the documentation however Virtual Disk Development Kit (VDDK) 5.1 is required as VDDK 5.5 no longer has vmware-mount.exe included.

VDDK 5.1 Download:


For Windows x64, install VDDK 5.1 then copy “C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Virtual Disk Development Kit” to “C:\Program Files\VMware\Virtual Disk Development Kit”

Install VMDKMounter and copy “C:\Program Files (x86)\NetApp\VMDKMounter” to “C:\Program Files\NetApp\VMDKMounter”


With System Manager, create a CIFS Share from an NFS Vol and browse to it or it's /~snapinfo folders.  Go into a VM directory, find a VMDK, right click and select VMDK Mount.