By AOMEI / Last Updated March 21, 2018

Why should you backup VMware virtual machine?

A virtual machine is an emulation of a computer system and provides functionality of a physical computer. Nowadays, it is becoming more and more popular especially among enterprise users. It allows users to do many dangerous operations without worrying the safety of a physical computer.

People would like to backup VMware virtual machine for different reasons. Some people would like to covert virtual machine to the physical computer. Some people want to take a backup before making changes to it, or backup it for testing purposes or make a compressed data archive.

No matter for what purpose, creating a backup first is always a wise decision for data protection. Think about this: if you have hundreds of virtual machines, once the system crashes, or other accidents happen, and you didn’t backup virtual machine in time, then your losses would be incalculable.

how to backup VMware virtual machine?

To back up the virtual machine (which includes the operating system, application files, settings, and user data), you need to make a copy of the folder in which the virtual machine is stored to another location, like a flash drive or USB hard drive. Ensure that the virtual machine is not running or suspended while you are backing up the virtual machine.

If you have a large number of virtual machines to backup, single copy and paste would take much time, you need to take images of these virtual machines. Here will introduce 3 methods to backup VMware virtual machine while running.

Use Windows Backup and Restore

Windows Backup and Restore is a great built-in utility. You can use it to backup important data or certain files and folders to a certain location. Let’s see how to backup VMware virtual machine with Windows built-in tool.

Step 1: Click Start, go to Control Panel, find backup your computer in System and Security. Or click "start "and input "backup and restore " in the Search box. Here you come to the main interface of Backup and Restore. Click Set up backup.

Step 2: Select where do you want to save the backup.

Save Your Backup

Tips: if you want to backup to USB drive, the USB drive must be large enough, or you will receive an error message: The drive is not a valid backup location.

Step 3: At next Window, tick Let me choose.

Let me Choose

Step 4: Select what you want to backup and then click Next.

Vackup VMware Virtual Machine

Step 5: Review your backup settings, confirm it and click save settings and exit.

Create a snapshot for VM

There is a useful and fast way to backup VM. It is to create a snapshot. The snapshot can capture state, data, and configuration of hardware of the running virtual machine. By using the snapshot, you can quickly restore virtual machine to its previous state. Let's see how to create a snapshot.

Choose VM > Snapshot > Take Snapshot

Take a Snapshot

This method has a limitation: snapshots are not useful for restoring individual files because they only bring a whole VM image back to the previous state.

Use Reliable tool AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Backupper is a professional backup software which offers a powerful File Backup feature for users. With this feature, you can backup your important files and folders to external hard drive, Networks, DVD, CD and etc.

Moreover, Even if Microsoft VSS does not work, you can still use AOMEI’s built-in technique to backup VMware virtual machine while running without interrupting.

Here come the detailed steps.

Step 1: Download the freeware: AOMEI Backupper, install and launch it. Then, click "File Backup" under the "Backup" tab.

File Backup

Step 2: Click Add Folder. You will get the following screenshot as soon as you click Add Folder. Simply click the “Browse” to continue. Choose the folder which you want to backup. Click “Open” to go to next step. Click Filter settings, from which you can decide what type of file to include or exclude. Then click OK.

Select Folder

Step 3: You will turn to the main page of File Backup, select another location as the destination path. Then click Start Backup.

Tips: At the bottle of File Backup, there are Backup Options, Schedule and Scheme. You can click them to set up some advanced settings. For example, you can click Schedule to set incremental and differential backup.

For PC users, AOMEI Backupper provides a free edition Standard to help you convert virtual machine easily.

Other things you want to know

After creating a backup of the virtual machine, you can restore it with both Windows Backup and Restore and AOMEI Backupper. However, if you need to convert virtual machine to physical machine when the virtual machine isn’t on the physical computer, you have to restore to a dissimilar hardware with Universal Restore feature provided by AOMEI Backupper.

Universal Restore


To summarize, there are 3 easy ways to backup VMware virtual machine. AOMEI Backupper is highly recommended because it has some features that Windows Backup and Restore does not have, like restore the virtual machine to another computer, create incremental and differential backup.

AOMEI Backupper is not only a reliable backup and restore software, it is also a good disk clone software. You can use it to migrate OS to SSD. Dynamic disk clone is an easy operation with the help of AOMEI Backupper.