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VMware Tools Shrink Option Unavailable?

In my recent post on using svMotion to reclaim disk space, I talked about using SDelete to zero out blocks for free space reclamation.  Another way to do this is to use the Shrink option which is part of the VMware Tools.  Duncan’s post here gives details on using the VMware Tools Shrink option so I won’t go into much detail, but it essentially accomplishes the same goal as SDelete.

I saw a post earlier this week in the VMTN forums that mentioned the Shrink option wasn’t available and so I wanted to clear one thing up.  The Shrink option is only available in the VMware Tools if the guest is using thick provisioned disks.  If you’re trying to use the Shrink option on a thin provisioned VM (or if you have snapshots on a thick provisioned disk), you’ll see the following message in the VMware Tools Shrink tab:

Shrink is disabled for this virtual machine. Shrinking is disabled for virtual disks not used in persistent mode and other factors. For more information, see the documentation for your VMware product.

VMware Tools Shrink Disabled

On a VM that is thick provisioned, you’ll see a Shrink tab that looks like the following:

VMware Tools Shrink Enabled

Hope this helps someone who is confused about why they can’t use the Shrink option in VMware Tools.

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