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Sunday, November 29, 2009

vCenter file copy with virtual floppy disk

n an ESXi or vCenter environment, without network connectivity to a virtual machine from your administrative workstation it's quite hard to bi-directionally transfer files.

This post discusses a simple method I use for small quick file transfer from a secure virtual machine to my administrative workstation, using virtual floppy drives managed from the command-line.

This process uses vfd.exe, but presumably any virtual floppy software on your workstation could be used. The virtual machine also needs to have a floppy drive...

To bi-directionally transfer files from a non-network connected VM to my administrative workstation:

  1. Create a virtual floppy disk on my workstation

  2. Mount that floppy disk file as a virtual floppy drive on my workstation as A:

  3. Through VI client, connect the VM to the A: drive

  4. On the VM, copy files to/from A: drive and disconnect from the floppy

  5. On my workstation, copy files to/from the virtual A:

  6. Close the virtual floppy


Using vfd.exe:
  1. vfd install

  2. vfd open c:\temp\new.flp

  3. Use VI Client to connect to A:

  4. Copy files, then disconnect the VM virtual device

  5. copy a:\*.*

  6. vfd close


The obvious limitation of this is that the size is limited to 1.44MB. I tried with a 2.44MB floppy and the virtual machine didn't recognise this disk.

This doesn’t work with a virtual CD-ROM, as it’s mounted as read-only in the VM, so bi-directional copies aren’t available. You can still use a similar process for creating an ISO to copy files into a VM though. For this I use oscdimg.exe (Microsoft utility) to create my ISO from the command-line.


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About Me

I’ve worked in IT for over 13 years, and I know just about enough to realise that I don’t know very much.