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Converting Image File Format From GHO to VMDK and From VMDK to GHO 

Jun 02, 2010 01:13 PM

In your environment you may have to use different image file format while performing imaging or cloning operations, Ghost and Vmware are widely used technologies for preparing machine either for development or for testing purpose.

Ghost treats virtual disks as images. You can image a machine to a virtual disk (create a vmdk file instead of a .gho file), and you can restore a machine from a vmdk file. While performing any imaging operation GHO is the default file format of ghost

VMDK files cannot be opened in Ghost explorer, You can mount a VMDK file by using ghost with switch –ad=<image file name>, once it is mounted can be used in all ghost operation.

You may want to use a Physical machine's Ghost image in vmdk or otherwise, you may want to use a vmdk to prepare a Physical machine .

By performing following simple commands you can convert the GHO files to VMDK and a VMDK file to GHO.

To convert from GHO to VMDK
ghost32 -clone,mode=restore,src=my.gho,dst=myimage.vmdk -batch -sure 
To convert from VMDK to GHO spliiting into 100MB chunks
ghost32 -clone,mode=create,src=my.vmdk,dst=myimage.gho -batch -sure -split=100 

There are some more switch available

  • vmdktype: Used for specifying the VMDK file type , which can be Sparse or Flat
  • vmdksplit: Used for splitting the VMDK image
  • vmdksize: Used in specifying the size of vmdk file
  • vmdkAdapter: Specifying the type of disk adapter for created vmdk
To create a VMDK file form machine directly
Ghost32 –clone,mode=create,src=1,dst=myimage.vmdk  -vmdk -sure 
To restore VMDK image on machine directly
Ghost32 –clone,mode=restore,src=myimage.vmdk,dst=1  -vmdk -sure

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May 31, 2017 12:08 AM

I'm following the steps to create a vmdk from a ghost image I have, I type in the command as written, with my ghost and vmdk file names placed where necessary.

ghost32 -clone,mode=restore,src=my.gho,dst=myimage.vmdk -batch -sure

Ghost boots up and it converts fine, but when it gets to 99% and essentially completes creation of the .vmdk, I get the following error:

ABORT: 40221, A virtual disk error occurred: Failed to write sectors to vmdk extent.

How do I fix this error? The ghost image can be applied to machines with no issues, ie the ghost image is not corrupted or unusable, so I'm not sure what the issue is here.


Oct 05, 2014 10:14 AM

Thanks for your help ! Don't hold your breath for the update though, the original poster is probably no longer a symantec employee.

Aug 23, 2014 12:05 PM


Just to warn there is an error on the command syntax on both the sections "To create a VMDK file form machine directly" and "To restore VMDK image on machine directly". I can see from the comments people experienced the same error that I did but thought problem was something else.

Basically there is no -vmdk switch, the error message even tells you that!!! the right switch is -batch. In fact if you compare the syntax above (the part about converting) then it is obvious.

After I got the error when I typed

Ghost32 –clone,mode=create,src=1,dst=myimage.vmdk  -vmdk -sure 

Just changed to 

Ghost32 –clone,mode=create,src=1,dst=myimage.vmdk  -batch -sure 

and it worked!

I haven't tried creating from vmdk to machine directly (yet) but seems pretty obvious you need to use -batch instead of -vmdk.

Can you please update the page so other users won't experience some of the issues anymore?





Jul 31, 2014 10:28 AM


I am pretty new to virtual machines but have been using ghost for some years. I followed the instructions to create a vmdk file from a gho file and it worked first time with no problems. My question now is how do I use the vmdk file to create a virtual machine that I can use on vmware player 6?


Apr 28, 2014 07:10 PM

Im getting "Operating system not found"

I created my vmdk file, from ghost files of a win 7 operating system, using the command line, without a hitch.

When i try to load it in VmWare, i get no operating system found.

What might the issue be??

I had previously created a vmdk file from a ghost files  of an XP operating system, using the same steps, and it loads and works fine in the same player.

Mar 09, 2014 11:34 AM

how to convert a gho file which protected by password?

Jan 03, 2014 03:16 AM


Good to see that your problem is resolved by yourself. For safer side, I would recommend you to take snapshot of this vm as well as gho image so that if anything goes wrong you should have backup images. It depends on how important is the image for you.  

Happy new year you too...

Jan 02, 2014 02:54 PM

Hi Nitin. Thanks for the response.

That's what I ended up doing. The image I had was spanned into 4 CD's, the first one was damaged.

To first, to recover the CD I used the software CD Recovery Toolbox Free (, to succesfully extract the .GHO. Once done that I copied all four .GHO on a single folder and opened the first file with the Ghost Explorer.

With Ghost Explorer, what I did was re compile the image into one file. This file, I was unable to do the conversion process covered in this thread, it just continued saying that the image was corrupt. Then, with the Ghost Boot Wizard I generated a new bootable media to install the image over Linux environment. This worked fine, the bootable recovery was done complete.

Just to add more to the case, this was done on a previously created virtual machine and there was an issue at OS boot, I believe because of hardware differences. So, then, with the image loaded in the virtual machine, I booted with a VM compatible recovery image generator and obtained a new image file. This then was converted with VMware vCenter Converter Standalone software to a completely new virtual machine. And that was it, I got a fully working virtual machin of the original image.

Hope this helps somebody. Have a happy new year everyone.



Jan 01, 2014 06:42 AM

Hi Jorge,

You can try to open the image using Ghost Explorer. If it gives same error message of image corrupt then it is very difficult to retrieve the data.

Dec 29, 2013 03:23 PM

Hello. I have an old backup image created in .gho format that appears to be damaged. I intend to convert it to use it as a virtual machine, but the conversion process covered here throws me an error saying that my image is corrupt and then abort the operation.

Is there a tool or something that could help me recover this old image???


Thanks in advance.


Oct 31, 2013 09:58 AM

Hi! Is it posible to convert a .gho to .vmdk with a trial version of Symantec Ghost? When I try to do it using the commmand lines mentioned before, after some time it aborts saying that Ghost32 can be used only from Symantec Ghost Console. The menus and options to create the .vmdk from the .gho are not clear to me



Jul 09, 2013 04:46 AM

It is not possible to covert an encrypted ghost image to vmdk

Apr 18, 2013 01:57 PM

I'm trying to convert a encrypted .gho file to a .vmdk.  Is this possible?

Apr 25, 2012 10:51 PM

I use Ghost32.exe 11.5 version.


CMD==> ghost32 -clone,mode=restore,src=my.gho,dst=myimage.vmdk -batch -sure 

1.How to deceide my restore disk space? => I check VM always get C disk has 120GB

2.How to split the VMDK file? Like from one to two or three file.

VMDK (5GB) => split => VMDK1(2GB) +VMDK2(2GB)+VMDK3(1GB)

Feb 01, 2012 05:41 PM

commands are OK, but you version of ghost32.exe is not.

when I use ghost32.exe with version I get the same error

when I use ghost32.exe with version everything works fine and I can use the vmdk with vmware

May 06, 2011 12:57 PM

Need help troubleshooting the conversion of gho to vmdk format?

Not sure why it is complaining invalid destination drive.

Is it a 8.3 DOS thing?

My goal to clone gho image to vmdk so I can test the image.

Suggestion what are solution to convert gho to vmdk within ghost.exe command line.

I know that Vmware local converter has an option to restore from synmetic sv2i  format.

error mesage I'm getting.

O:\>ghost32.exe -clone,mode=restore,src="P:\1.0.2\x64\X64Cgm102.GHO",dst="F:\win
7\x64\vmdk\win7x64.vmdk" -batch -sure

ABORT: 11030, Invalid destination drive

Apr 14, 2011 05:42 AM

Hi, I have an image file created with Ghost2003. I would like to create from this image a virtual disk for VMware. I have downloaded VMware vCenter Converter SA, but it does not support .gho files. How can I do it?

Details: The original machine has dead and I changed the motherboard in it and done I full reinstall. Before I reinstalled the OS (XP Prof) I have made a Ghost2003 image of the system. So I have a .gho image and I want to create a virtual machine in VMware.


Sep 09, 2010 05:25 AM

Hi , please reference the page

you should be use Ghost versions 11.5.

Good luck

Sep 09, 2010 05:24 AM

Hi , please reference the page

you should be use Ghost versions 11.5.

Good luck

Sep 08, 2010 10:07 AM

I'm also getting the 11030 error.

I also tried creating a VMDK file using the command line:
   ghost32 –clone,mode=create,src=2,dst=myimage.vmdk -vmdk -sure
where my 2nd disk is connected via USB external adapter.  The error I got was:  Invalid switch: vmdk

I'm using Ghost32.exe version 11.0.2 from our GSS suite.  Does it require a newer version of Ghost?


Sep 07, 2010 08:58 AM

Can you provide the exact command you have used ; Error indicates destination is not accesible , so are providing complete path to dst=<> and it has enough space?

Aug 10, 2010 01:37 PM

I gave this a try, but am getting an ABORT: 11030, Invalid Destination Drive. I've tried moving ghost32.exe to the same location as my GHO file and vice versa. Moved everything to the TEMP directory. Keep getting the same error. Almost like it doesn't have permission to create the file. I am an admin on my workstation, so I am thinking that should not be a problem. (GSS 2.5 v11.0.1.1533)

Jul 07, 2010 12:46 AM

cool tip yogesh..
Thanks a lot

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