How to add a physical hard disk in VMWare Fusion?
August 20, 2008 3:44 PM   Subscribe

How can I make VMWare Fusion recognize my additional (physical) hard disks?

I have an Intel-based Mac Pro running OS X Tiger (10.4.11) and Windows XP SP2 (under boot camp).

I'm tired of rebooting multiple times a day to access the various programs I need to, so I decided to try VMWare Fusion, but I'm having some trouble configuring it.

I was able to run my Boot Camp installation via vmware, and it seems to be working fine (other than trying to reactive all of the software!).

My main problem now is getting all of my additional hard drives to appear in VMware. That is to say, I have several additional 500 GB storage drives that I want to be able to access when I'm working through VMware. As far as I can tell, I can create new "virtual disks", but that is not what I want to do.

If this makes sense at all - please offer your advice. Likewise, if this is confusing, please let me know and I'll try to clarify further.

I also have a copy of Leopard, but I'm hesitant to install it because I'm afraid of messing up my current Tiger and Boot Camp (XP) installations. Anyone have experience successfully upgrading to Leopard with a setup similar to mine?
posted by charlesroper to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Ok, so you don't want to create new virtual disks. What is it that you do want to do? Do you want to treat those drives like raw disks available to the windows virtual machine that could be transferred directly to another windows machine? Do you just want to access the Mac filesystem from the Windows VM?

If it is the latter, that's what the sharing setting is for.

If it is the former: VMWare Fusion supports direct access to USB devices from virtual machines. I can't find evidence that they support any other type of raw hard disk access in Fusion (not even the beta of 2.0), other than a bootcamp partition. One possibility though, look inside the bundle for your Bootcamp virtual machine. Open up the .vmx file. There will be various device definitions there. The syntax probably mirrors that for other VMWare products which do support raw disk access, and there should already be an entry for the bootcamp partition. Maybe you can set up another device there. Obviously proceed with caution. Don't experiment with a disk with anything important on it.
posted by Good Brain at 3:58 PM on August 20, 2008

As far as I can tell, I can create new "virtual disks", but that is not what I want to do.

Yes it is.
posted by kindall at 3:59 PM on August 20, 2008

Response by poster: Here's an example:

When I boot into Windows XP (via Boot Camp), I have my windows "C" partition, and a storage "S" partition. Each of these partitions are separate hard disks.

When I access my Windows XP installation through vmware fusion, all I can access is my "C" drive.

This is a problem because I have several programs that are actually installed on my "S" drive (Adobe CS3, etc.) and without access to my "S" drive, I cannot run those programs.

It's frustrating because it obviously has this capability (it can access the raw boot camp partition).

Any ideas?
posted by charlesroper at 4:07 PM on August 20, 2008

Best answer: Read this thread at the VMWare communities. That should be enough to walk you through adding your external drives directly to VMWare.

As far as upgrading to Leopard, it should be a non-issue. Other than the Leopard-y goodness, the upgrade also gets you Bootcamp 2.1 and newer drivers for XP.
posted by nathan_teske at 4:46 PM on August 20, 2008

Response by poster: @nathan

Thanks for the advice. Did you recently upgrade to Leopard while keeping your boot camp partition in-tact?
posted by charlesroper at 4:53 PM on August 20, 2008

Well not recently (10 months or so) but yes, I went through a successful Leopard upgrade without damaging my Bootcamp partition.

Just backup your Mac partition using SuperDuper! and backup the Windows side using Winclone in the unlikely event of unpleasantness.
posted by nathan_teske at 5:03 PM on August 20, 2008

Response by poster: @nathan

You're a genius. It worked like a charm. I was searching google all day and scouring through the vmware manual - can always count on a mefite to save the day!

I think I'll try upgrading to Leopard later tonight (after backing up). I read a good tip on using Fusion in Leopard - assign it to one of your "spaces" so you can easily switch to XP when needed.

Thanks again!
posted by charlesroper at 6:02 PM on August 20, 2008

Response by poster: @ nathan

It looks like the current version of Winclone only works within Leopard - which means that I can't use it within Tiger to backup BEFORE I upgrade to Leopard.

Any other suggestions?
posted by charlesroper at 6:09 PM on August 20, 2008

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