An orphaned VM file refers to any file that has been disassociated from the virtual machine that handles it and/or from the main software environment or "host." Such files are often considered clutter, and IT professionals work to delete them to free up space on a system.
Techopedia explains Orphaned VM File
Orphaned VM files are files that are not in use by a virtual machine (VM), but still reside in a storage area network or are otherwise at rest. However, in some cases, the term is used to describe files that are on an orphaned VM, files that often need to be deleted. The term may also be referred to as "orphaned VM disk files" because of the file type. In some cases, orphaned files are contained in folders within the VM system.
Dealing with orphaned VM files involve some challenges. IT workers may need to use particular search functions with specific syntax, depending on the host system. Oftentimes, those trying to clean up orphaned VM files report different file lock issues, where they cannot delete the files for some reason, for example, because the system recognizes them as in use. IT Experts offer guides on how to do this kind of "spring cleaning" to keep old data from cluttering up the system — specific tools for handling orphaned VM files include date/time searches that return older files that have not been in use recently.