A. I use VMware Workstation for all kinds of software evaluation. I also use it while I'm on the road, teaching at conferences or consulting for my company, Concentrated Technology. Workstation is great when you plan to use it for a while, but the overhead of getting it started and powering on virtual machines (VMs) can be painful for simple file work.

For those situations where you just want to add, remove, or modify files in a .VMDK file, download a copy of the VMware Disk Development Kit. Among other tools, the kit includes a handy command line utility called vmware-mount, also known as VMware Disk Mount. You'll find the utility in C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit\bin.

Once it's mounted, you can work with that disk in Explorer, just like any other disk. To mount a local .VMDK to the M: drive, use the command

vmware-mount M: \\{pathToVMDKFile\\}

You can even use this tool to mount remote .VMDKs, either on other Windows hosts or ESX/ESXi hosts. Here's some quick syntax to connect to a disk on a remote ESX/ESXi host:

vmware-mount K: "\\[storage1\\] WinXP/WinXP.vmdk" /i:ha-datacenter/vm/WinXP /h:esx3 /u:root /s:secret

You can get all the command line hints from the tool's documentation.

Note that vmware-mount in the kit's 1.2 version doesn't work on x64 computers. That's a big omission that will hopefully be resolved in its next version. Also, this command won't work with disks when their VMs are running.

Catch up with @ConcentratdGreg on Twitter!