VMWare – WorkStation (v8) – Expanding Disk – Error – The called function cannot be performed on partial chains. Open the parent virtual disk (0x500003e83)


I am just getting over a mishap I had with VMWare WorkStation Version 8.
On the VM Guest, the original provisioned disk was 40 GB on drive C: and 60 GB on drive D:

Not enough to do much with these days, and so I set out to increase it.


Attempt Disk Increase Using GUI

I took the VM Guest offline and tried increasing its disk layout.  But, each time on both disks (Disk C: and Disk D:)  got the same error message:

The called function cannot be performed on partial chains. Open the parent virtual disk (0x500003e83)




Attempt Disk Increase Using Command Line (vmware-vdiskmanager.exe)

Using VMWare’s vmware-vdiskmanager.exe:


cd C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation
vmware-vdiskmanager.exe" -x [new-size] [file-name-vmdk]


cd C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation
vmware-vdiskmanager.exe" -x 75GB Data-000003.vmdk

But, getting the same error…


Review VMWare WorkStation Version#

Reached for VMWare WorkStation Version# :

– Version 8.0


Upgraded VMWare WorkStation

Access  https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/info?slug=desktop_end_user_computing/vmware_workstation/8_0
 and reviewed available patches for VMware version 8.

Downloaded latest patch for 8.0; happens to be 8.06


Please keep in mind that you need a VMWare Account.  If you do not have one, you can create one on the fly.

Installed VMWare Patch

Installed patch

Again, Try To Increase Disk

Again, tried to increase disk, but same error.

Goggled for Help

I have one thing going, and that is an Internet connection — “Country Boy will survive

Here are the steps prescribed.

Clone VMWare Disk

Let us clone the disk; that is create a copy of the disk.

Again, keep in mind that you need sufficient disk to make a copy of the existing one. So you need about 1.5 * allocated VM disk space.


"C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware-vdiskmanager.exe" -r virtual-machine-disk-source -t 0 virtual-machine-disk-destination



"C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware-vdiskmanager.exe" -r Data-000003.vmdk -t 0 Data-000003-Clone-20131105.vmdk





Creating disk 'Data-000003-Clone-20131105.vmdk'
Convert: 100% done.
Virtual disk conversion successful.


Expand Resultant VMWare Disk

Let us expand the disk image that resulted from our cloning exercise.


C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware-vdiskmanager.exe" -x [new-size] [cloned-disk-file-name]



C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmware-vdiskmanager.exe" -x 75GB Data-000003-Clone-20131105.vmdk

Through VMWare WorkStation, Add new VMWare Disk

Through VMWare WorkStation, add new VMWare disk.

Here are the steps:

Add New VMWare Disk

  • Power off the specific Virtual Machine
  • Open the virtual machine settings editor (VM > Settings) and click Add. The Add Hardware Wizard guides you through the steps to create your virtual disk.
  • Click Hard Disk, then click Next.
  • Select Use an existing virtual disk, then click Next.
  • Enter the path and file-name for the existing disk file, or click Browse to navigate to the file.
  • Click OK.


Through VMWare WorkStation, disconnect old disk

Through VMWare WorkStation, disconnect old VMWare disk.

Please keep in mind:

  • Use the virtual machine settings editor to disconnect a virtual disk from a virtual machine.
  • The Remove command does not delete files from the host file system. You can delete virtual disk files manually

Steps to disconnect old disk:

Removing a Virtual Disk from a Virtual Machine


  • Select a virtual machine and choose VM > Settings.
  • Select the virtual disk you want to remove.
  • Click Remove.
  • The virtual disk is disconnected from virtual machine.


Power VMWare Guest On

Power VMWare Guest back on

Using VMWare Guest OS Native Tools, Expand Guest Disk

Use your Guest OS Native Tools to expand the Guest Disk unto the expanded space.

Thank Internet!

Thank Internet.

14 thoughts on “VMWare – WorkStation (v8) – Expanding Disk – Error – The called function cannot be performed on partial chains. Open the parent virtual disk (0x500003e83)

    • Steve:

      Saved me too. As I said, I finally confronted it after my machine crashed and I had to re-install Windows. It was a short-lived contracting GIG.

      And, this is one of the moments that I was able to redeem from it.

      In his grace,

  1. Lovely article, I am pretty new to VMware, but this just let me get on with the work I needed to do! Many thanks.

    • Penny:

      Got me out of a pretty significant jam last year. It happens when least opportune. Machine crashed, lost a couple of days, client “let me go” a couple of weeks thereafter. But, thanks goodness I was able to get a good blog post of it all.

      Happy Friday,


  2. Got this same problem, though found a quicker solution…for my case at least…

    While deleting a snapshot to expand my vm disk, Inadvertently hit cancel while the dialog said “Cleaning up deleted files…”, that clean up operation was indeed canceled but afterwards I found myself stucked with the error above when tried to expand my disk.

    Before going through the process explained above (clone disk, etc…) I created a new snapshot and then deleted it, this time I let the “Cleaning up delete files…” process to finish, and voila ! I could afterwards expand my disk.

    Thought this might help someone.


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