Windows VMWare run from external hardrive ?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 31, 2014
Hello, I'm in a bit of a pickle

So, not to long ago, i had a problem with my hard drive and i made a post here, you guys were very helpful and i appreciate it :)

But, now i have another problem :
I wanted to use Windows on my Mac for quite some time, because i wanted to get other keygens and applications to work like Acid Pro and Photoshop, and so i purchased VmWare Fusion 7. The application works great, i have Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit and i want to run it. However ( this is my concern ) I only have 128BG of Memory for my mac. So, I went ans got my 1Tb HDD external hardrive and i formatted it to MS-DOS FAT ( So i can work on windows too).

Question : How can i run windows with VMware using my external hardrive ?

I want everything to be saved in my external than my macbook itself to save space but, i do not know know. My use for it is music, design and a little bit a gaming. please help .-.


MacBook (13-inch, Late 2009)
-Running Yosemite 10.10.2
-Memory: 6 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
-Processor : 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
-128Gb Kingston SSD Hardrive

-Disk Description: Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Media
-Total Capacity : 1.5 TB (1,500,301,909,504 Bytes)
-Connection Bus : USB
-Write Status : Read/Write
-Connection Type : External
-S.M.A.R.T. Status : Not Supported
-USB Serial Number : NA0B44Y3
-Partition Map Scheme : Master Boot Record

VMware Fusion
-Professional Version 7.1.0 (2314774)

- Windows 8.1 Pro



macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2005
North Carolina
Look in your MacBook's drive for your Virtual Machines folder. IIRC it'll be under Documents. Copy that to the external. Delete the folder on the MacBook drive.

In VMWare, delete the existing VM. Then double-click the VM file you copied to the external. Select "I Moved It" when it asks. That should do it.


macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2008
Hawaii, USA
To expand a bit on what DJLC wrote, VMWare Fusion creates the virtual machine in a file (or series of files). You're free to move these files anywhere you please; VMWare Fusion will ask you to locate the files when you start it again, but that will be the end of it. The virtual Windows system won't know that anything has changed.

If you don't already have the virtual machine created, VMWare should ask you where you want the virtual machine to be located during the installation process. If it doesn't, or if you've already created the virtual machine, then the process is very simple: just shut down the virtual machine, quit VMWare, move the files, and when VMWare asks, point it to where the files were moved to. Just be aware that virtual machines run from external hard drives will be a bit slower than those run from your internal disk(s). How much slower depends on how the drive is connected to your computer, and what sort of drive it is.

There's also no need for you to format your hard drive to EX-FAT. This is because the Windows machine is virtualized. It would be different if you were installing Windows directly to the hard drive. VMWare Fusion allows you to share folders and drives from the Mac side with the Windows side; it is unlikely that you would ever mount a hard drive directly into Windows. If you're sharing a drive/directory, Windows can read (and write, if you allow it) to that drive/directory without any issue, even if it's formatted in HFS (OS X's preferred file system). This is because it's all working through VMWare Fusion. That's the beauty of virtualization. The story changes if you're trying to use a non-virtualized form of Windows.