VMware is a very popular software whose function is to emulate multiple operating systems on a single computer, in this way you can check the compatibility of all kinds of programs with different versions or configurations of an operating system. VMware is a great ally of software development companies, however, testing all kinds of configurations and versions of operating systems usually presents constant problems and incompatibilities, and therefore, it is necessary to make backups that allow the user to have control over the information with which works. In this post I will show you how to make backups of a virtual machine for free.
Q: I use VMware Workstation to emulate a virtual machine to use Windows on my work laptop and I would like to back up the information to export it to another computer. Is there an efficient and fast method to create a backup of all the information of my virtual machine?
Virtualization allows to segment the physical resources of a computer or server to attribute certain characteristics to one or more emulated operating systems. This process allows a single server or computer to create several virtual functional computers with the hardware of the computer or server, thus allowing to install several versions of the same operating system or different operating systems. For this reason, virtualization is very popular in business environments, as it allows you to keep highly versatile control over the availability of versions and operating systems. There are several methods that you can use to back up the information of your virtual machine. VMware has a native tool that allows you to create comprehensive operating system backups. Companies often use specialized software to manage differential backup and incremental backup processes.
There are multiple reasons why you may need to back up your Virtual Machine information. Next, I will talk to you in detail about some of them.
It is common for companies to test the functionality and compatibility of an operating system before implementing it on the rest of the corporation's computers. For this reason, exhaustive tests are carried out on a virtual machine with the new version of an operating system with each and every one of the tools that they usually use to find the appropriate configuration of the operating system. If everything works correctly in the virtual machine, the system change is made in the rest of the computers and to preserve the appropriate configuration of the operating system, a backup copy of the version that was approved in the virtual machine is used, thus saving many hours of effort and ensuring the correct operation of all the corporation's computers.
Both for business and personal use of a computer with operating systems emulated in a virtual machine, making backup copies before making any significant change in the system configuration could save you many hours or even days of effort, since in the event that any problem occurs, it will be enough to revert the installed version using the previously generated backup.
Software developers are aware of the importance of testing. In many cases, for testing to be reliable, it needs to be carried out on different operating systems and versions of them, for this reason, a backup copy of the latest functional version of the software as well as the operating system are necessary to compare results and keep your information safe.
Backing up the information you work with is extremely important. In the past it was an extremely costly and inefficient practice. For this reason, many companies faced all kinds of adversities due to the loss of information. Fortunately, currently backing up information is much easier and has a much lower cost than it was in the past. Nowadays all companies and even personal computers have a backup system, however native Windows backup systems may not be sufficient to solve your problems. This is why it is always recommended to have an alternative.
As I mentioned earlier, there are totally free methods that will allow you to make backup copies of your Virtual Machine. It is important to remember that a backup can be done manually, copying and pasting the files in another location, however, this may not be an efficient solution since that the files on your computer or Virtual Machine constantly change, you would have to back up your information every few hours or minutes manually.
Below I will talk to you about a couple of free methods that will allow you to back up your information in a much more efficient way.
In Windows 7, a tool that allows to easily back up your operating system was implemented. You can back up and restore the settings and folders by creating a system recovery image. To use this tool from Windows 7 in Windows 10, follow the next steps.
A. How to Create a Backup
Step 1: Go to Backup section
You can find this section in the Settings left panel.
Step 2: Click on “Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7)”
To access the Backup and Restore tool (Windows 7), you must click on its label that is in the lower part of the screen.
Step 3: Go to “Set up backup”
Into the “Back up and restore” section, click on “Set up backup” option.
Step 4: Choose a storage device
Here you can choose the storage device where you want to save the restore image. Once you’ve selected a device, click on “Next.”
Step 5: Select the data you want to back up
In this step, you have to select the drives and folders you want to back up, once you’ve done, click on “Next.”
Step 6: Begin the backup process
A brief summary will be displayed, if everything is ok, click on “Start backup”
B. How to Restore to backup
Step 1: Click on “Restore my files”
Go back to “Backup and Restore” (Windows 7) section. Here you can choose between restoring your files or Recover system settings. Click on the option you deem necessary.
Using VMware you can create a backup of the information that is in your virtual machine. This tool allows you to create snapshots that serve as backup copies and are mainly used as a prophylactic method before making any changes to the system, in this way, if any problem arises, it would be enough to choose a Snapshot prior to the moment in which the error occurred.
Next, I will show you how to use this tool.
A. How to Create a Snapshot
Step 1: Go to the VMware vSphere snapshot manager
You can find this option by right-clicking on a VM, then click on Create Snapshot.
Step 2: Assign a Name to the Snapshot
In the pop-up window, you can enter a name and description to the Snapshot. Make sure you can recognize what has been done to the VM or how the VM is configured at the moment you create the Snapshot. Once everything is Ok, click on “Ok.”
B. How do I revert to a snapshot?
The restoration process is very simple, next I will show you how to use a Snapshot to restore your virtual machine with it
Step 1: Choose a Snapshot
To revert to a snapshot, from the snapshot manager, choose one of the snapshots and click on the “Revert To” button.
Step 2: Confirm the process
Now, a message like this will be displayed. If you don’t need to back up the current state of the virtual machine, just click on “Ok”
If you find that the backup methods I mentioned before are not reliable enough, you can try AOMEI Backupper. AOMEI Backupper is a professional backup software that allows you to perform your backups automatically and you can choose between different types of backup, whether you prefer to back up your operating system or just a few folders. The biggest advantage of this software is that it has an extremely easy to use interface and at the same time allows you to customize the backup process as much as you want.
You must download and install the AOMEI Backupper program to your computer.
Step 1: Go to System Backup
Once the tool is open, go to the “Backup” section (located on the left panel of the window). Now click on the “File Backup” option.
Step 2: Select a location to store the backup
Before going further. It’s advisable to name each backup task in order to help you to distinguish each backup process from other ones. You can do this by clicking on the “Task name” edit icon, then click on the folder icon to select a storage device to save the backup.
Step 3: Click on “Start backup”
Once you’ve chosen a location to store the backup, you can click on Schedule to make sure you will always have an updated backup version. You can schedule the backup process to make automatic backups per day or even set up event triggers. To finish just click on the “Start Backup” button.
Creating backup copies is a very important task and as you may have noticed, there are several methods that will allow you to easily back up the information or settings of your Virtual Machine. Both Windows and VMware have tools that streamline this process, however, with AOMEI Backupper you can guarantee that your backup copies are made automatically, whether you prefer to back up the system or simply the folders that are in it with just a couple clicks.