Where is VM folder?

Finding the location of the VM folder on your computer is important for efficiently managing your virtual machines. This guide will walk you through locating the VM folder on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

Where is VM folder?

Why Do You Need to Find the VM Folder?

Knowing the location of the VM folder allows you to:

  • Easily access your virtual machine files for troubleshooting or modifications
  • Back up or move your virtual machines
  • Allocate more storage space if your VM disk images are stored there
  • Ensure proper permissions are set on the folder
  • Identify issues if your virtualization software cannot find or interact properly with the folder

Where is the Default VM Folder Location?

The default location of the VM folder varies by operating system and virtualization software.

Windows VM Folder Locations

  • VMware – C:\Documents and Settings{user-name}\My Documents\My Virtual Machines\
  • VirtualBox – C:\Users{user-name}\VirtualBox VMs\
  • Hyper-V – C:\Users\Public\Documents\Hyper-V\Virtual Hard Disks

Mac VM Folder Locations

  • VMware Fusion – ~/Documents/Virtual Machines/
  • VirtualBox – ~/VirtualBox VMs
  • Parallels – ~/Documents/Parallels

Linux VM Folder Locations

  • KVM – /var/lib/libvirt/images
  • VirtualBox – ~/VirtualBox VMs
  • VMware – /var/lib/VMware/{product}/{version}/Virtual Machines/

How to Find the VM Folder on Windows

If you are unsure of the exact location of your VM folder on Windows, use these steps to find it:

  1. Open File Explorer
  2. In the left pane, click “This PC”
  3. In the top menu, click “Computer” and select “Map network drive”
  4. Click the link that says “Connect to another computer”
  5. Enter the path \\localhost\c$
  6. Click “Finish” then enter admin credentials if prompted
  7. Navigate to Users\{username} to see VM folders for various programs

You can also search your entire C: drive for folders called “Virtual Machines” or “VMs”.

How to Find the VM Folder on Mac

To locate the VM folder on Mac:

  1. Open Finder
  2. Press Command + Shift + G to open the “Go to Folder” dialog box
  3. Enter the default path for your virtualization software (see locations above)
  4. Click “Go” and Finder will open that directory

Alternatively, you can search Finder for “Virtual Machine” or “VM” to see if any matching folders appear. Check under your user account’s Documents folder.

How to Find the VM Folder on Linux

On Linux distributions, open a terminal and use the find and locate commands.

To search from the root directory:

sudo find / -name “VirtualBox VMs”

Or to search just your home folder:

find ~ -name “VMware”

You can also identify the folder by checking typical VM paths like /var/lib/VMware or /var/lib/libvirt.

Update the database of located files if needed:

sudo updated

Then search for VM related paths:

locate -b “\VirtualBox\ settings.xml”

This will print files containing the matching name.

What To Do If You Cannot Find the VM Folder

If you cannot find the VM folder using the steps above, try these troubleshooting tips:

  • Restart virtualization services – Sometimes services like VBoxSVC or VMware Workstation server need to be restarted before paths are reachable.
  • Check permissions – Enable full control permissions for your user account on potential VM folders.
  • Change folder location – In your virtualization software’s settings, specify a new, accessible location for VM storage folders. Then migrate any existing VMs.
  • Uninstall/reinstall software – Corrupted installations can prevent proper folder creation or access. Fully removing and reinstalling the software can help.
  • Run security scans – An antivirus or malware scan can check for anything blocking folder access.

Still having issues? You may need to contact customer support for the virtualization software for further troubleshooting.

Key Takeaways

  • The default VM folder location varies by operating system and virtualization program used
  • On Windows, check under Users{username} or search drives for “Virtual Machine” folders
  • On Mac, use Finder’s Go to Folder option and search for “VM” or “Virtual Machine”
  • On Linux, use the terminal find and locate commands to identify VM directories
  • Restarting services, checking permissions, changing paths, and reinstalling software can help fix VM folder access issues
  • Knowing exactly where your VM folder resides allows for easier management and troubleshooting


Locating the VM folder is the first step towards efficiently organizing and managing virtual machines on your system. Now that you know where to look for the VM folder across Windows, Mac and Linux, you can optimize storage allocation, set appropriate permissions, cleanly back up your VMs, and troubleshoot issues more easily. Keeping track of your VM folder location saves time and avoids headaches down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. What permission should be set on the VM folder?
    The VM folder should generally have full control permissions assigned to the users that need to access and manage VMs. Avoid global read/write access.

  2. Can I relocate my VM folder to a different drive or path?
    Yes, most virtualization software allows you to customize the location to store VM files. You can move the folder to add capacity or organize better.

  3. Does VM folder location affect performance?
    Storing VM files on a high speed SSD or separate drive than the OS can improve performance. Folder location mainly impacts disk I/O.

  4. Where does Hyper-V store VM files?
    Hyper-V defaults to C:\Users\Public\Documents\Hyper-V\Virtual Hard Disks but this can be changed in Settings.

  5. Why can’t I delete a VM folder?
    If the files are locked open or you lack permissions, it may prevent folder deletion. Close VM apps and check rights on the folder first.

  6. Does each virtual machine have its own subfolder?
    Yes, under the main VM folder each VM will have a dedicated subfolder containing its disk images, configuration and other support files.

  7. Do suspended or powered off VMs still use disk space in the VM folder?
    Yes, the VM’s files remain allocated even when powered off, only deleting them frees capacity.

  8. Is it better to store VMs on an HDD or SSD?
    SSD is much faster for the frequent I/O needs of virtual machines. Use SSD if available for best VM performance.

  9. What is the typical size for a VM folder?
    Folder size depends entirely on the number and capacity of VMs stored. Planning ahead, a few VMs can require 100GB+ easily.

  10. How can I maximize disk space for my VM library?
    Use thin provisioning, compact formats like VMDK over RAW images, dynamically expanding drives and remove unneeded snapshots/checkpoints.

  11. Will migrating my VM folder impact networking or device access?
    Potentially yes, you may need to remap networks, remote device connections and shared folders to the new location.

  12. Is there a size limit for VirtualBox VM folders?
    No, but very large folders can slow down file searches. Split across drives if you experience performance issues.

  13. Can I store Hyper-V VMs on a network share or NAS?
    Yes, Hyper-V supports SMB 3.0 file shares for centralized VM storage if access speeds meet recommendations.

  14. What is the best file system for VM partitions?
    XFS and EXT4 have good performance for the mixed I/O load VMs generate. NTFS works but has some latency overhead.

  15. Where does VMware Player store VM files?
    Under Documents in Windows, Documents/Virtual Machines on Mac, and your home directory in Linux environments.

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