Regularly backing up virtual machines is essential for maintaining work efficiency and VM data security. The ideal backup should be comprehensive, including the entire virtual machine and its deployed environment. Fortunately, there are four backup solutions available.

Three Built-in Backup Solutions for VMware Workstation

For users of VMware Workstation with a small number of virtual machines, there are three built-in backup methods:

  • Manual Download of VM Files: This method involves creating a copy of the VM by downloading the virtual disk files and configuration files, allowing for instant usability.
  • Export VM to OVF Template: OVF templates facilitate the exchange of virtual appliances across different products and platforms. Since OVF files are compressed, downloads are faster.
  • Clone VM: VMware ESXi Clone VM allows for the creation of multiple identical VMs. Clones are divided into two categories. Linked clones and full clones.

Although these methods are suitable for backing up a small number of virtual machines, they are not efficient for larger deployments on VMware ESXi. For such scenarios, an efficient and auto VMware backup software is essential.

Efficient Free Backup Solution for VMware ESXi

VMware ESXi is a Type 1 hypervisor, allowing for more efficient resource use and support for large numbers of virtual machines. The VM-on-a-time backup methods mentioned earlier can be time-consuming and ineffective. Centralized management and automation are important for improving production efficiency.

AOMEI Cyber Backup is a free VMware backup solution that provides centralized management for large numbers of VMs on VMware ESXi or Hyper-V hosts. With its intuitive GUI interface, AOMEI Cyber Backup simplifies the process of creating comprehensive and automated backup tasks for multiple VMs.

Features Provided by AOMEI Cyber Backup

  • Agentless VM Backup: Create complete, independent image-level backups for VMware ESXi and Hyper-V VMs from a central console.
  • Support for Free ESXi: Works with both paid and free versions of VMware ESXi.
  • Multiple Storage Destinations: Backup to local drives, NAS, or network shares.
  • Automated Execution: Set up schedules to automate backups daily, weekly, or monthly.
  • Restore Entire VM: Quickly restore VMs from any selected restore points.
  • Role Assignment: Allow an administrator to create sub-accounts with limited privileges.
  • Email Notification: Receive email notifications upon task completion or errors.
  • Perpetual Free: AOMEI Cyber Backup Free Edition has no time limit.

Step-by-Step Backup Process for VMware ESXi Virtual Machines

Here’s how you can back up VMware ESXi virtual machines using this software:

1. Create a backup task: Navigate to the Backup Task section and click on the “+ Create New Task” button to access the intuitive setup wizard.

2. Set the task name and type: Provide a unique name or use the default numbered name for the backup task. Make sure to select the VMware ESXi Backup option.

3. Select VMs to backup: Choose the VMware ESXi host and the VMs you want to back up. You can even include running VMs in the backup task for hot backup.

4. Specify the storage path: Select a local folder or a network path where the VMware ESXi VM backups will be stored.

5. Archive: Enable to archive VMware Backups to Amazon S3 easily.

6. Set up backup schedule (optional): If desired, click on the “Schedule” option to define a full, differential, or incremental backup schedule on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

7. Finally, click “Start Backup.”

You can monitor the progress of created backup tasks separately, make schedule changes, or restore from any listed restore points in the History Versions section.

In addition to reliable VMware ESXi backups, it’s easy to restore VMs by clicking “Restore to original/new location” when a virtual machine fails.


VMware snapshots are preferred by many users. However, it is not advised.

Since VM snapshots are dependent on the parent disk, they are insufficient to recover a virtual machine in the event that the infrastructure is damaged or the parent disk is erased. Snapshots also consume a lot of disk space, and keeping them around for a lengthy period might slow down virtual machine performance.

In summary, a reliable VMware backup program is therefore ideal. To efficiently manage multiple VMs on VMware ESXi, consider using AOMEI Cyber Backup, a free backup software solution.

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