I’m a big fan of VMWare Workstation, as it allows me to have virtual machines which represent all sorts of machine states. Of course, if you’re reading this blog, you probably know all about VMs and why they are useful.
I’ve noticed over time that my blazing fast SSDs seemed to just get more and more full, and way beyond the level I’d expect with that I’m doing. In many cases I’ve deleted old snapshots of VMs just to free up more space. It wasn’t what I wanted to do (I wanted to keep the snapshots so that I could choose to go back to them) but it was a fast way to get a large amount of space.
Sometimes I got a message that said something like “Not enough space available to clean up deleted files. Free up 6.2Gb more space.” I didn’t just ignore those messages, but I didn’t pay much attention, either. I assumed that the old files would get cleaned up at some point.
It turns out I was wrong. I had a whole bunch of old disk files I didn’t need from snapshots I’d already deleted in the Snapshot Manager.
After some poking around on the Interwebs, I found some ideas about how to clean up that space. First, I copied some very large files (not VMs) off onto one of my backup drives, which freed up about 20Gb on my C: drive. Then I opened one of my big VMs without starting it and went to the Snapshot Manager. I created a new snapshot and then immediately deleted it. During that cleanup, VMWare cleaned up all of the old, unneeded files as well.
Now I’m back to having 20 or 30Gb free on my C: drive all the time. Oh, I’ll fill it up soon enough, but at least it’ll be with something I actually want to have there.
Another useful tool you can use with VMWare is the vCenter Converter. Using this tool, you can “convert” a VM from one location on your hard drive to another. Any uneccessary files are left behind and you can safely delete them. (Do yourself a favor and keep a copy for a while until you are sure all is well.)