Regardless of VMWare Version you’re using, you should have the command line tool
This useful command line tool can be used for many operations (
vmware-vdiskmanager --help) including expanding a Virtual Disk without losing data contained.
The syntax for expanding is:
vmware-vdiskmanager -x 36Gb virtual_disk_name.vmdk
If you have partitions within the disk, remember that the tool expands just the size of the disk, NOT the size of the partition; if you need to expand the partition size, please use some third party tools (more info here).
If you have ESX/ESXi…
The following vmkfstools
command can be used to extend a virtual disk file to the new specified length:
vmkfstools [-X | --extendfile] #[gGmMkK]
For ESX/ESXi 4.1 and 5.0 :
vmkfstools [-X | --extendvirtualdisk] # [gGmMkK]
Caution: This operation makes fundamental, irreversible changes to the virtual machine’s disk. VMware strongly recommends making a complete backup of this virtual machine before attempting this operation.
Warning: In current versions of ESX/ESXi 2.5, 3.x, 4.x, and ESXi 5.x, do not extend a disk that has snapshots. Commit or discard snapshots before increasing the size of the virtual disk. Extending the size of a virtual disk that has snapshots invalidates the snapshots.