Backing up Hyper-V with Windows Server Backup

Backing up Hyper-V with Windows Server Backup

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People are always asking me for simple (and cheap) ways to backup Hyper-V virtual machines.  Hyper-V provides VSS support that allows you to take a “zero downtime” backup of a virtual machine running Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008, however you need a backup program to take advantage of this.

Well, late last year we published a KB article that explained how to enable Windows Server Backup to use the VSS capabilities of Hyper-V.  You can read about how to do it here:

Two key things to call out here:

  • If a virtual machine is not running Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 it will be put into a saved state to be backed up, so there will be down time for these virtual machines.
  • The steps outlined in the KB article enable Windows Server Backup to call into our VSS provider when backing up a volume.  It does not allow you to specifically select virtual machines to backup (you would need to purchase enterprise backup software for that kind of functionality).  What this allows you to do is to backup your entire system and ensure that virtual machines are backed up correctly as part of that.


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  • I actually have a Windows Server 2003 SP2 Enterprise Edition running Exchange Server only and it's always saved during backup...

  • One thing I found about this is that backing up to disk over the network was extremely slow.

  • What you can do is:

    *get a start/stop script for the VM's;

    *stop all servers

    *make shadowcopy + mount it

    *start all servers

    *copy .vhd's from mounted shadowcopy

    *delete shadowcopy

    This works for us as a regular backup.


  • Just a quick pointer to our software which helps automate the entire Hyper-V backup process with support for encryption, notifications and Cluster Shared Volumes. More info available from:

  • M Freitas -

    Make sure you have the latest integration services installed in the virtual machine.



  • Does anyone know of plans for Microsoft to support Hyper-V backup to the extent that VMware has with their vStorage VADP offering?

  • We have found that DPM is convenient, but lack of real-time data movememnt was necessary for our Hyper-V backups.  We recently replaced it with AIMstor from Cofio Software

    AIMstor does backups in real-time based on changed bytes and supports all Microsoft OS's plus any Linux.

    AIMstor also does real-time replication for mirroring Microsoft servers (like SQL or Exchange) with zero latency and standby server failover.  So we are now replicating our hyper-v SQL servers across a LAN and a WAN to AIMstor replicated hyper-v VMs, and it the same stream of data that comes to our backup.  This is with the same application, so you can Backup + Replicate in the same policy without a double hit to yoru I/O.

    AIMstor also backs up HyperV VM's much more easily than DPM.  It does it on changed block basis so you never get I/O hit on your VM.


  • Funny R.R. should mention Cofio's AIMstor.  We found that Backup Exec didn't do block level incremental backup of our vhd files, everything was a full backup, daily. :(  AIMstor fixed that problem and their integrated BMR was so easy to use.  I brought back a machine in < 15 minutes for a full BMR process.


  • How much is it?  How come they don't say how much is it?  for the Cofio aimStOre?  How much is it?

  • Thank you for pointing me to Hyperoo Martin!  Great solution.  And so much simpler than editing the registry & dedicating a drive to Windows Backup!

  • Rickkee - Hyperoo costs $79.  And you can trial it for free.  Worked for me  ;)

  • I have found that the best backup software for hyper-v to be Acronis.  It has helped us alot with migrations as well.  Also it is 100x faster at backing up over network.

    A excellent video on it at

  • An open source Hyper-V backup software has been released:

    It's very easy to use and supports CSV volumes!

    Alessandro Pilotti

    MVP ASP.Net / IIS

  • If you are tired of using scripts and also need dedupe, have a look at

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