Fooby
Contributor
Contributor

How do I get similar functionality to Acronis True Image?

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Hello,


I have been using VMware WS 6.5 with a Windows XP Pro VM for a while. Every so often I will add a new tool I need to the VM. I have an independent drive that I temporarily make persistent whenever I add a new tool and then make it non-persistent after I shut it down. This way I can install trial programs and then revert to the previous state upon quitting the VM. Recently I installed a trial program in the VM that required a reboot to function so I made the drive persistent for the install and reboot and then made it non-persistent. I made a snapshot of the VM before installing the program and I thought I could just revert to that snapshot. I found out that this does not revert the independent drive, by design, so I am stuck having to uninstall the program to sort of get back to where I was before the install. This is definitely less than optimal since uninstalling programs typically leaves garbage behind that could cause conflicts, etc. It's also a hassle. This kind of defeats the purpose of taking a snapshot. I was expecting the snapshot to be like incremental backups in Acronis True Image which is very convenient. You can get back to a state prior to the installation as if you never did the installation.

My question is, what is the best way to get this kind of incremental backup functionality that allows me to get back to any previously saved state, including the drive's state? The options are many but there must be an efficient optimal way to do this. Cloning VMs at various states would work but is not efficient.

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1 Solution

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vladanseget
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

For your case you should include back your virtual disk to the snapshot process so you should change mode of your disk. If you have only one disk (you case I guess):

Before you begin, power off the virtual machine and delete any existing snapshots.


To include a virtual disk back to snapshot process:
1  Select the virtual machine.

2  Choose VM > Settings.

3  On the Hardware tab, select the drive and click Advanced.

4  While there uncheck the box to de-select Independent.

You'll be able to use the snapshot feature manually.

So before installing a new program, you should take snapshot by going to File menu and choosing VM > Snapshot > Take snapshot (or clicking on the icon in the Shapshot toolbar).

When you finish testing your new program and you want to go back, choose VM > Snapshot > Revert to snapshot.

Hope it's now more clear for you...

Vladan SEGET - vExpert 2009-2022, VCAP-DCA/DCD,
ESX Virtualization Blog - www.vladan.fr

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9 Replies
idle-jam
Immortal
Immortal

Have a look at the autoprotect features of vmware workstation 7 and above. it would serve your needs and you do not need additional software like acronis.

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vladanseget
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Yes, you could definetely use the new feature in Wkst 7, called Autoprotect. I wrote an article on my blog on that: http://www.vladan.fr/new-feature-in-vmware-workstation-7-auto-protect/

Cheers

Vladan

Vladan SEGET - vExpert 2009-2022, VCAP-DCA/DCD,
ESX Virtualization Blog - www.vladan.fr
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continuum
Immortal
Immortal

autoprotect as advertised before is a very stupid feature - it creates snapshots using a timer and does not care if you fill up your disks with numerous snapshots - be very very careful if you use it

don't call me for help if your vdks get corrupted - (not really serious)


________________________________________________
Do you need support with a VMFS recovery problem ? - send a message via skype "sanbarrow"
I do not support Workstation 16 at this time ...

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Fooby
Contributor
Contributor

Well, first of all, I'm not looking to upgrade to 7 yet. I want to know how to do this with the version I've got. In any case, how would autoprotect do what I want to do? All it does is automatically create snapshots while a VM is running. The same restrictions of not saving the state of the independent drive still apply--I think. Also, I don't think you understand my comparison to Acronis True Image. I'm not using it to back up VMs. I use it to do incremental backups of my entire OS. My point was that there must be some way to do something similar within VM WS.

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Fooby
Contributor
Contributor

Yeah well see my reply to idle-jam. Also, aside from the fact that your machine-translated site is hard-to-read, isn't it against this forum's policy for you to blatantly funnel people to your site to try and sell them an upgrade?

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vladanseget
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

No this was not the case. I was just pointing to the new fonctionnality introduced in Wkst 7 which does not exist in Wkst 6.5. BTW I got my license of Wkst 7 by passing my VCP 4 exam. Thanks VMware.

Concerning using Independant disks. Independant disks are not affected by snapshots.

To best suits your needs you should just use normal disk for your OS (not independant) and Independant disk for DATA.

Vladan SEGET - vExpert 2009-2022, VCAP-DCA/DCD,
ESX Virtualization Blog - www.vladan.fr
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Fooby
Contributor
Contributor

To best suits your needs you should just use normal disk for your OS (not independant)

Hmmm . . . maybe this is what I'm missing. Does the state of the normal disk get saved with each snapshot so you can go back to the way the disk was before you added something? Is there any way to convert an independent disk to a normal one?

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vladanseget
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

For your case you should include back your virtual disk to the snapshot process so you should change mode of your disk. If you have only one disk (you case I guess):

Before you begin, power off the virtual machine and delete any existing snapshots.


To include a virtual disk back to snapshot process:
1  Select the virtual machine.

2  Choose VM > Settings.

3  On the Hardware tab, select the drive and click Advanced.

4  While there uncheck the box to de-select Independent.

You'll be able to use the snapshot feature manually.

So before installing a new program, you should take snapshot by going to File menu and choosing VM > Snapshot > Take snapshot (or clicking on the icon in the Shapshot toolbar).

When you finish testing your new program and you want to go back, choose VM > Snapshot > Revert to snapshot.

Hope it's now more clear for you...

Vladan SEGET - vExpert 2009-2022, VCAP-DCA/DCD,
ESX Virtualization Blog - www.vladan.fr
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Fooby
Contributor
Contributor

Vladan SEGET wrote:

Before you begin, power off the virtual machine and delete any existing snapshots.


To include a virtual disk back to snapshot process:
1  Select the virtual machine.

2  Choose VM > Settings.

3  On the Hardware tab, select the drive and click Advanced.

4  While there uncheck the box to de-select Independent.


You'll be able to use the snapshot feature manually.

So before installing a new program, you should take snapshot by going to File menu and choosing VM > Snapshot > Take snapshot (or clicking on the icon in the Shapshot toolbar).

When you finish testing your new program and you want to go back, choose VM > Snapshot > Revert to snapshot.

OK Vladan. This worked! Thanks for the correct answer! I don't remember why I made the drive independent. I couldn't deselct 'independent' until I deleted all snapshots. That was the key. This is the behavior I wanted and it is the default. Go figure. And you are right on about taking a snapshot BEFORE installing a new program--especially if that installer has to reboot the VM. Even though I set up the VM so it asks me if I want to take a snapshot when I quit, it doesn't give me a chance to do that if I allow the reboot. It would be too late any way at that point. Another thing I noticed is if I delete a snapshot without first going to a previous one, the current snapshot gets merged with the previous one(s) so there is then no apparent way to get back to a previous snapshot. This to me is nasty, illogical, unexpected, and dangerous. There is no warning when you delete the snapshot and no mention of this behavior in the manual.

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