There are two problems with VMware installing Windows in ~/Documents:

  1. Multiple OS X users cannot use the same Windows installation.
  2. Even one inadvertent omission to exclude ~/Documents from the Time Machine backup means that a heavy penalty will be paid on the TM disk.

How does one install Windows through VMware in a more neutral fashion, perhaps in a separate partition, to make windows accessible by all OS X accounts?

At the risk of getting the two-question police after me, I will venture with a sequel: can one move one's ~/Documents/Virtual Machine.localized/ to a new partition or is it necessary to restart the installation of windows?

2 Answers 2


You can choose a different location in the "New Virtual Machine Assistant" by clicking "Customize Settings" in the last step of the assistant. Definitely not an intuitive way to go about it.

Location of "Customize Settings" button in New VM Assistant

You can also move an existing VM. To do this, you move the VM to the new location, launch VMWare Fusion, drag the VM from its new location to the "Virtual Machine Library" window, and delete the old VM from the "Virtual Machine Library" (the old one will have a question mark as its preview because it's pointing to the old location).

As @binarybob pointed out in the comments, if the VM is moved to a shared location (e.g. an external HD or /Users/Shared/) then other users will have access to the VM.


The selected VM will be moved: VM Library - Existing VM to move is selected

After moving the VM in the Finder, VMWare will show the VM as missing: VM Library - Moved VM shows as missing ("File not found")

Drag the moved VM from its new location in the Finder to the "Virtual Machine Library" window: VM Library - Import moved VM, delete old VM

Delete the old VM (with the question mark as the preview) from the VM Library. This will only delete VMWare's reference to the old location, it won't do anything to the VM itself.

When you open the VM after being moved, VMWare will ask you if you moved or copied it. Because you moved it, choose "I moved it". Choose "I moved it" next time VM is started


It looks like you can safely move an existing vmware virtual machine - http://www.splashofstyle.com/archives/2009/01/31/moving-a-wmware-fusion-virtual-machine/

  • You can choose a different location in the "New Virtual Machine Assistant" by clicking "Customize Settings" in the last step of the assistant. Definitely not an intuitive way to go about it.
    – joelseph
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 4:21
  • I just tried "sudo mv ~/Documents/Virtual\ Machines.localized /". It doesn't work. VMware fusion 4 display a question mark on the Windows icon and refuses to start.
    – Calaf
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 4:45
  • @joelseph: I see it. Thanks! (Not part of the extensive System-Preferences-like setup; sigh!) But once this is done from user A, how do you point user B to run the same Windows without installing B's own virtual machine and Windows?
    – Calaf
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 5:09
  • 2
    @Calaf You should be able to move the Virtual Machines folder using Finder. Just open two Finder windows, the second one open at "Macintosh HD" (or whatever your root drive is called, or anywhere else outside your home folder, e.g. another drive) then drag the Virtual Machines folder from one to the other to do a move (as opposed to copy). You'll have to type in your admin password. Once thats done, you can use File > Open... within VMware Fusion to find and open the VM's in their new location - this should work for multiple users wanting to access the same VM
    – binarybob
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 6:41
  • @joelseph For the sake of those looking through the archives, would you move your comment to be an answer?
    – Calaf
    Commented Apr 6, 2012 at 20:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .