Backing up virtual machines

Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Advanced Server Virtual Edition allows for backing up virtual machines from the host.


On Windows 2008 Server x64 (any edition) or Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008:

  • Install the Agent for Hyper-V on the Hyper-V host.
  • Integration services have to be installed on the guest systems.

On VMware ESX/ESXi:

  • Install the Agent for ESX/ESXi on the ESX or ESXi host. The agent is delivered as a virtual appliance.
  • VMware Tools have to be installed on the guest systems.
  Virtual machines backup  

Once the agent is installed on the host and the required services are installed on the guests, you can:

  • back up a virtual machine or multiple virtual machines residing on the server without having to install the agent on each virtual machine
  • recover a virtual machine to the same, another, or new virtual machine residing on the same server or on another virtualization server where the agent for virtual machines is installed. The virtual machine configuration, stored in a virtual machine backup, will be suggested by default at recovering the backup content to a new virtual machine
  • back up and recover individual disks and volumes of a virtual machine.

A virtual machine can be online (running), offline (stopped), suspended, or switch between the three states during backup.

A virtual machine has to be offline (stopped) during the recovery to this machine. The machine will be automatically stopped before recovery. You can opt for manual stopping of machines.

  Virtual machine backup vs. the machine's volumes backup  

Backing up a virtual machine means backing up all the machine’s disks plus the machine configuration. With this source type, you can back up multiple machines. This comes in handy when having small (in terms of virtual disk size) but numerous legacy servers such as those resulting from workload consolidation. A separate archive will be created for each machine.

Backing up volumes within a virtual machine is similar to backing up a physical machine’s volumes. With this source type, you select the machine and then select the disks/volumes to back up. This comes in handy when the operating system and applications, such as a database server, run on a virtual disk, but the data, such as a database, is stored on a large capacity physical disk added to the same machine. You will be able to use different backup strategies for the virtual disk and the physical storage. The virtual machine configuration will be also backed up.


A Hyper-V virtual machine that uses at least one pass-through disk (a physical disk, either local or SAN-LUN, attached to the virtual machine) cannot be backed up from the host. To back up such machine or its disks, install Agent for Windows or Agent for Linux on the machine.

An online (running) ESX/ESXi virtual machine that has an independent disk or an RDM disk attached in the physical compatibility mode cannot be backed up from the host. To back up such machine or its disks, either stop the machine or install Agent for Windows or Agent for Linux on the machine.

  Virtual machine backup vs. physical machine backup  

Backing up an entire virtual machine or its volumes yields a standard disk backup. With Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Agent for Windows or Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Agent for Linux, you can mount its volumes, recover individual files from this backup, and recover disks and volumes from the backup to a physical machine.

Similarly, you can recover disks or volumes from a physical machine backup created with the Agent for Windows or the Agent for Linux, to a new or existing virtual machine using either of the agents for virtual machines. Hence, physical to virtual and virtual to physical machine migration becomes available.

  Guest operating systems  

The following guest operating systems are supported.

Microsoft Windows platform:

  • Microsoft Windows 2000
  • Microsoft Windows XP
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2
  • Microsoft Vista
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Microsoft Windows 7

Linux platform.

  Guest HDD  

The following virtual disk configurations are supported.

Partitioning style: MBR

Volume types: basic and dynamic volumes.

Dynamic volumes (LDM in Windows and LVM in Linux) are supported to the same extent as on physical machines. The LDM/LVM structure needs to be created prior to the recovery if you want to retain the LDM/LVM. To do so, you will have to boot the target virtual machine using bootable media or its ISO image and use Acronis Disk Director Lite for LDM reconstruction or Linux command line tools for LVM reconstruction. Another option is to recover dynamic volumes as basic.


Agent: Agent for Hyper-V

Issue: Backup of an online virtual machine fails because of a Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) error. The error can be seen in the Application Event Log (Event ID = 8193).

Cause: This happens because there is no registry key:


Solution: Add this key to the registry. To do so, create and run the following script (xxx.reg):








Backing up virtual machines