Ping Fm Logo
Roman Kropachek Photo
Written by:

Last update on

How to Recover Deleted Files From a Virtual Machine

How to Recover Deleted Files From a Virtual Machine

In the realm of information technology, we often find ourselves tackling various forms of data loss; whether it’s unintentional deletion, corruption, or hardware malfunction. As IT professionals or technologically experienced individuals, one of the uniquely challenging scenarios is when data loss occurs within a virtual machine (VM). The question is: can data within a VM be recovered? Fortunately, the answer is yes, through the use of specialized data recovery software. This article dives into the possibility of virtual machine data recovery and displays how to recover data using two renowned recovery tools, R-Studio and Disk Drill. Through detailed explanations from my personal experiences with these applications, I aim to guide you on how to safely retrieve your valuable data.


Common Scenarios:

Accidental File Deletion Within a VM 🗑

  • Data loss within virtual machines can often result from accidental file deletion, just as it happens with physical hard drives.
  • While working within a VM, the distinct dynamics of virtualized storage can make the recovery process differ from traditional methods.
  • Virtual Disks usually stored as single files (.vmdk, .vhd) on the host system, can be scanned by data recovery software.

VM Corruption or Failures 🚨

  • Instances where a virtual machine fails to boot or corruption occurs can also necessitate data recovery efforts.
  • Corruption might affect the VM’s file system, making data inaccessible through normal means.
  • Implementing data recovery software can be extremely effective in such scenarios, providing advanced scanning options to traverse the corruption.

Physical Storage Damage Impacting VMs 💥

  • If the physical storage hosting the virtual disk files suffers damage, it raises the specter of significant data loss.
  • Good recovery software can handle such predicaments, often capable of reading damaged sectors to recover what data they can.
  • R-Studio and Disk Drill come into play here, providing advanced features to recover data from compromised storage devices housing VM data.

Step-by-Step Guide. Virtual Machine Data Recovery:

Method 1: Using R-Studio for VM Data Recovery 🔍

  • Install and launch R-Studio. This multi-faceted tool can analyze VM disks just as it would any physical drive.
  • Load the virtual disk file into R-Studio. Go to ‘Drive’ -> ‘Open Disk Image’ and select the .vmdk or .vhd file corresponding to your virtual machine.
  • Once loaded, you’ll see the disk’s partitions. Navigate to the one which housed the lost data.
  • Begin the scan for lost data. R-Studio offers a deep scan which is particularly useful for complex data loss scenarios.
  • Preview and select the recoverable files, then choose a safe location on your host system to save the recovered data.

Note: Ensure that you save the recovered files to a different location than the original to avoid overwriting potentially retrievable data.R-Studio.

Conclusion: R-Studio’s versatility makes it an ideal choice for recovering lost data from virtual machines, even in cases of severe corruption or damage.

Method 2: Utilizing Disk Drill for Virtual Machine Data Recovery 🌀

  • Download and install Disk Drill onto your host machine.
  • Open Disk Drill and attach the virtual disk file. Similar to R-Studio, you’ll attach the VM’s disk file by navigating to ‘Attach Disk Image’ and selecting the appropriate file.
  • Choose the ‘Recover’ option next to the loaded virtual disk. Disk Drill will initiate an all-encompassing scan to locate deleted or lost files.
  • After the scan completes, browse through the found files. Disk Drill provides a preview feature that can be invaluable in identifying the data you need to recover.
  • Mark the files you wish to retrieve, and then hit the ‘Recover’ button to save them to a new location on your host system.

Note: Disk Drill also allows for the creation of byte-to-byte backups which can be helpful in securing data before attempting any recovery instructions.Disk Drill.

Conclusion: Disk Drill offers a user-friendly interface and robust scanning algorithms, simplifying the process of virtual machine data recovery for users of any experience level.


Precautions and Tips:

Protect Your Virtual Data 💾

  • Regularly back up your virtual machine data. This proactive step is invaluable in minimizing data loss risks.
  • Avoid writing data to the source disk once you realize that you’ve lost files within a virtual machine, as it can overwrite lost data and make recovery more challenging.
  • Make use of snapshots or similar features provided by your VM platform to create restore points before making significant changes.
  • Invest in reliable data recovery software to be prepared for potential data loss scenarios.

Understanding Virtual Machines and Data Recovery

Virtual machines have revolutionized the way IT professionals and enthusiasts operate, providing environments for testing, development, and even hosting critical applications and services. Unlike physical hardware, a VM’s resources – including its storage – are files on the host system, typically in formats like VMDK for VMware or VHD for Hyper-V.

When it comes to data recovery within these environments, the right tools are essential. The mentioned R-Studio and Disk Drill have built a reputation for being able to intricately scan not only physical drives but also these virtual disk files, searching for both existing and previously deleted files that can be recovered.

The technology behind these data recovery tools often involves advanced scanning algorithms that can identify file signatures and piece together lost data chunk-by-chunk. They can work around corrupt files, damaged partitions, and even physical sector damage on the hosting hardware.

While this recovery process can seem complex, both R-Studio and Disk Drill have user interfaces and step-by-step wizards that can assist users through recovery tasks, ensuring that even those with limited technical knowledge can attempt to recover their crucial virtual machine data.

For data recovery professionals, R-Studio also offers network capabilities, allowing for data recovery over a network, which is particularly useful when working with virtualized environments that might be located on remote servers.


In essence, virtual machine data recovery is not only possible but can be successfully performed using tools like R-Studio and Disk Drill. Having delved into this field myself, I’ve learned that being equipped with the right software and following precise steps, we can often restore what was thought to be lost. Remember, the most effective recovery methods always start with preventing loss in the first place. Therefore, maintain regular backups and exercise caution when working with your virtual machine’s data to minimize the risk of requiring recovery in the first place. If you do find yourself needing to retrieve lost data, rest assured that you’re well-equipped with knowledge and tools to handle the situation.


Data loss in virtual machines often results from file system corruption, viruses, accidental deletion, or hardware failures affecting the underlying physical server.

Snapshot technology captures the state of a virtual machine at a specific point in time, facilitating the recovery of data by reverting to a previous, uncorrupted state.

It is possible to recover deleted files using specialised data recovery software designed for virtual environments, provided the space has not been overwritten.

Immediately shut down the virtual machine to prevent further data loss and refrain from writing new data to the drive to avoid overwriting recoverable files.

Yes, dynamic disks within virtual machines can have their data recovered, but the process may be more complex than with traditional fixed disks.

Risks include potential data corruption or further data loss if the recovery is not performed properly; always ensure you're using reliable recovery methods or professional services.

Choose software that supports your virtual environment, has a strong track record of successful recoveries, and includes robust features like snapshot compatibility.

Many data recovery service providers specialize in virtual environments; you should choose one with proven experience and expertise in virtual systems. For example, visit DriveSavers.

Regular backup regimens ensure that you have recent copies of your data, which can be restored promptly, minimizing downtime and data loss.

Always use RAID configurations for redundancy, schedule regular backups, enable snapshot features, and ensure that file systems are organized and well-documented.