Opening DSK files

Have a problem opening a .DSK file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what DSK files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .DSK file type?

A short for 'Disk,' the .dsk extension stands for the Generic Disk Image (DSK) file type. A disk image is a verbatim copy of a block device such as a hard disk, floppy disk, or a flash drive. Historically, the .dsk extension was assigned to floppy-disk images made on early Apple Macintosh and Yamaha (MSX-DOS) computers.

Although the DSK file type is used by many partitioning, recovery, and other disk tools to write disk images, the actual file formats may be quite different, including private and/or encrypted ones. Besides other standard disk image formats (like ISO), DSK disk images can generally be mounted as disk devices, or used as a data source to re-create logical disk structures on a new physical device. Partition tools also use .dsk partition images as backup copies.

There are multiple utilities that can either directly mount DSK images, write them to disk devices, or convert to other disk-image formats.

Embarcadero (formerly, Borland) Delphi, a popular programming environment and IDE for Microsoft Windows based on a highly modified version of the Object Pascal programming language, uses the .dsk extension with its Delphi Desktop (.dsk) file type. In Delphi, a .dsk file is a text file, in which the IDE's workspace settings are stored (layout and position of windows, open files, etc.). DSK files are created in a project's directory and follow the name of the project.

Several emulators of Sinclair ZX Spectrum, a cult 8-bit Z-80 based microcomputer very popular in 1980's and early 1990's, use the .dsk extension to distinguish files with images of 5.25" floppy disks that were mainly used with ZX Spectrum. With an emulator, a .dsk image can be virtually 'inserted' and accessed as a disk.

With reference to SAP ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), encompassing a series of enterprise-management systems like SAP R/3 and others, the .dsk extension is used within the AutoCAD-SAP Interface subsystem to denote Drawing Template (.dsk) files. In this narrow context, a .dsk file is an ASCII list of commands and values, a template for BOM (Bill of Materials) generation and evaluation.

The Microsoft (MS) Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 operating systems used the .dsk extension in relation to their System Restore feature, denoting data backup files (.dsk). Such .dsk files are normally not accessible to the user and handled automatically by the System Restore engine.

Earlier versions (<3) of VMware, a commercial virtualization software for different platforms, used the .dsk extension to denote VMware virtual disk image files (.dsk). A .dsk file would represent a virtual disk drive used by a VMware virtual machine. Since VMware 3, a different extension (.vmdk) is used to label such files.

Software to open or convert DSK files

You can open DSK files with the following programs: 

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