By Alison / Last Updated April 7, 2022

Available ways to restore entire VM

Virtual machine backup is the most basic measure of VM data protection. Periodic backups can keep the backup data is up to date, thus minimizing data loss.

If a VM fails, you can restore it from the backup file. In addition, you can also clone VMs by restoring backups to a new location.

How to restore entire VM

How to restore VMs depends on how you backed them up. If you want to restore a whole VM that is instantly usable, you need to perform an image-level backup that contains the operating system, configuration files, and all data on disk, including applications, empty disk blocks, system state, etc.

Basically, there are 3 ways to perform full VM recovery.

Accordingly, I will take VMware ESXi as an example, to introduce how to perform a full VM recovery.

How to restore entire VM in 2 ESXi built-in ways

If you have only a few VMs to backup and restore, it may be more convenient and affordable to use the built-in ways.

In this section, I will introduce how to restore virtual machine in VMware ESXi built-in ways.

How to restore a whole VM from downloaded VM files

1. Access the VMware ESXi web client, navigate to Storage page and click Datastore browser.

Open Datastore browser

2. In the pop-up window, click Create directory to create a folder for the new VM.

Create directory

3. Click Upload and specify the VM files to this folder.

Upload files to datastore

4. Click Close the Datastore browser window, and then click Register a VM to open the wizard.

Register a VM

5. In the pop-up window, navigate to the newly created folder, select the VMX file and click Register.

Register VM

6. Navigate to Virtual Machines, and Refresh the VM list.

Now you can see the new VM with the same name as the VMX file. You can right-click on its name and Rename it.

Rename VM

7. Power on the restored VM. There will be pop-up window, select I Moved It and click Answer.

I Moved It

How to import OVF template as a new VM

1. Access VMware ESXi web client, and navigate to Virtual Machines page. Click Create/ Register VM to open the wizard.

Create/Register VM

2. On Select creation type tab, select Deploy a virtual machine from an OVF or OVA file, then click Next.

Deploy a virtual machine from an OVF or OVA file

3. On Select OVF and VMDK files tab, provide a name (up to 80 characters) for the new VM, and then click the blank to specify the OVF/OVA file you exported. Click Next to continue.

Select OVF and VMDK files

4. On Select storage tab, specify a datastore to store the VM files, then click Next.

Select storage

5. On Deployment options page, select the Network mappings, Disk provisioning, and Power on automatically or not. Click Next to continue.

Deploy options

6. On Ready to complete page, review the settings and click Finish to start. You can see the progress in Recent tasks.

Ready to complete

Effectively restoring an entire VM via third-party software

Actually, for many enterprises using VMware ESXi, the built-in backup ways cannot meet the needs, such as backing up multiple VMs, automating perform backup tasks periodically, or auto deleting old backups to save disk space.

Therefore, many IT staffs turn to dedicated backup tools. Here I recommend you AOMEI Cyber Backup, a professional VMware ESXi backup solution for the following benefits.

3-Step Quick Backup: with 3 easy steps you can quickly create a complete automatic backup task of multiple, or even all VMs on the host.
Offsite Restore: capable of restoring backups to new VMs on original or another datastore, host.
Restore Points List: all created restore points will be clearly listed for quick reference.
Auto Cleanup: capable of automatically cleaning old backup files that exceed the specified retention period.
Affordable Pricing: reasonable charges only base on the number of bound devices, regardless of how many VMs are on the host.

Next, I will demonstrate how to restore VM from backup via AOMEI Cyber Backup. The steps are even simpler than VM backup. You can click the following button to start a free trial.

Download Free TrialVMware 6.0 & later versions
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How to perform full VM recovery via AOMEI Cyber Backup

1. Access AOMEI Cyber Backup web client, and Navigate to the backup task you want to restore, click ... > Restore to open the wizard.

Backup Management > History Versions. Specify a VM and select a restore point from the left list.

Restire from backup task

2. Click Operation > > Restore, choose to Restore to original location, or Restore to new location.

Select restore target

3. If you select Restore to new location, specify the target host, datastore, and provide a name for the VM. Then you can click Start Restore.

Note: You can also reset the RAM and Vital Processor for the new VM.

Restore to new location


Regular backup and restore are essential to protect the VM data. In this article, I introduced 2 available ways to restore entire VM on VMware ESXi.

If you have multiple VMs that need to be backed up and restored, using native ways may be laborious. Therefore, in most cases IT staff will choose a suitable VMware backup software.