Shrinking Vista Virtual Disks in VMWare

It is sometimes convenient when doing development or testing to copy your Virtual Machines to DVD. By doing this you can save an original untainted version of your VM in case you screw it up royally. VM’s take up a lot of disk space and it’s nice to free up the space. I was trying to do just this running a Vista as the guest. According to VMWare documentation you need to open VMWare tools and select “Prepare to Shrink” from the Shrink tab. However in Vista, you get a wipe message stating “Unable to create file in c:\ directory, Please check that the user who runs VMWare Tools for Windows has the right to write in that directory. Alternatively, you may want to run VMWare Tools as the Administrator”


Here is my workaround:

1. Open C:\program files\VMWare\VMWare Tools

2. Right click VMControlPanel.cpl

3. Select run as Administrator

This should give you full access to the tools. This is also useful for other applications that are giving you trouble. You may also get a prompt to allow the access as Administrator.

1 thought on “Shrinking Vista Virtual Disks in VMWare”

  1. Very nice, this hint was exactly what I was looking for, works for me too (Vista x64).

    On a side-note, it seems stupid that the vmware-tools do not run as Administrator out of the box, doesn’t it? I fully agree to the ‘need-to-have’ rights distribution, but how can disc-shrinking ever work without full access to all files? Well, anyways…

    Cheers, Mario

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