68110: Acronis Cyber Protect, Acronis Cyber Backup: file backup on virtual machines

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Last update: 19-04-2021


In some cases, you may need to back up not the entire virtual machine, but only selected files and folders within the VM. This article describes the recommended ways to back up and recover files from a virtual machine.

Agent-based backup

The easiest and most convenient way to back up files and folders inside a VM is to install an Agent inside the guest OS. In this case, file/folder backup can be set up in the same way as for a physical machine: via direct selection, via policy rules or by using file filters (see User Guide for more details).

If you have Virtual Host or Universal license already assigned to either VMware ESXi or Microsoft Hyper-V or Scale Computing HC3 host (for agent-less backup), then VMs running on these hosts are automatically covered by this license, including VMs which have backup agents running inside them. So backing up files/folders by installing Agent inside a VM does not require an additional license.See the following articles for more information:

Similarly, Agent must be installed on the VM if you want to recover files directly to their original locations on a virtual machine.

Agentless backup

A disk-level backup created using Agentless method contains a copy of a disk or a volume in a packaged form. You can recover individual files from a disk-level backup if required. 

Please note that recovery of files from agentless VM backup cannot be made into original location inside the guest OS of the backed up VM, since the agent that performs the recovery by default (Agent for VMware/Agent for Hyper-V/Agent for Scale Computing HC3) cannot access the files inside the guest OS. 

In order to recover files to the original location, Agent must be installed inside the guest OS that you are trying to recover. As a workaround without installing the Agent, recover files to a custom location first, e.g. network share, and then move them to the VM manually.

In case installing Agent on the machine is not an option and an entire VM/disk backup is not convenient for whatever reason, it is possible to back up only selected files with a disk-level agentless backup. Note, that this method may be significantly slower than the agent-based approach since the agent needs to read through the entire disk and only after that apply the file filters, which means additional overhead and processing time.