Windows Server Backup for Hyper-V Environments: Methods to Enhance Data Protection

Organizations using Hyper-V can improve data protection within their environment by implementing backup and recovery workflows. Microsoft provides a variety of methods to back up Hyper-V VMs and restore them. You can choose the method that best suits your organization after analyzing your needs, the complexity of your infrastructure and the desired recovery objectives.

In this post, we review four methods to back up and recover Hyper-V virtual machines, including Windows servers:

  • Using the Windows Server Backup feature
  • Via the System Center Data Protection Manager
  • With Hyper-V Manager to Export a VM
  • Using a third-party Microsoft Hyper-V backup solution

Method 1: Back Up Hyper-V VMs with Windows Server Backup

Windows Server Backup is a native feature enabling you to set up and perform basic backup workflows for your server. You can back up and recover the entire server, the volumes of your choice, the system state, the selected files or folders, and Hyper-V VMs with this built-in data protection tool.

You need to install the Windows Server Backup feature before you can use it to protect your Hyper-V data.

  1. Go to Server Manager. Find Dashboard. On the right, find and click Manage. Then, pick Add Roles and Features.
  2. You now see Add Roles and Features Wizard. If you need to find out more about the wizard and the features, check the Before You Begin section. Hit Next to proceed.
  3. Pick Role-based or feature-based installation. Then, hit Next.
  4. You need the Select a server from the server pool option. Click Next again to proceed.
  5. Server Roles – just hit Next.
  6. Features – mark the Windows Server Backup checkbox. When done, click Next to switch to the installation process.
  7. To start the feature installation, click Install.
  8. After the installation is complete, hit Close.

The Windows Server Backup feature is now installed and ready to use. You can back up Hyper-V VMs to improve the protection of your organization’s data. To set up a backup workflow, do the following:

  1. Go to the Server Manager dashboard. There, hit Tools and choose Windows Server Backup.
  2. A new window shows up. You can set the first backup workflow setting: Backup Once or Backup Schedule.
  3. Pick Backup Once in case you need to back up your VM once and then you don’t want to use the workflow. Backup Schedule enables you to set up a repetitive workflow for continuous data protection.

Method 2: Backup Hyper-V with System Center Data Protection Manager

You can perform backups at host and guest levels with System Center Data Protection Manager. Before you begin, find the installation file on the appropriate Microsoft page and complete the installation on the host machine. After that, you can back up your Hyper-V environments, including virtual server VMs.

To create a VM backup with this method, do the following:

  1. Go to Data Protection Manager. On the bottom part of the window, find and hit Protection. Then, click New at the top. This is how you start creating a new protection group.
  2. The New Protection Group Wizard window shows up. In case you want to know more about data protection and its functioning with System Data Protection Manager, read this information. Hit Next when you are ready to proceed.
  3. For the protection group type, pick Servers. Then, hit Next.
  4. Choose the host or virtual machines you need to back up. When done, hit Next.
  5. Name your backup workflow (job) and choose the storage type for backups. Hit Next to proceed.
  6. Pick your Hyper-V backup strategies. Click Next again.
  7. Define the VM backup storage destination. Hit Next to continue.
  8. Pick the method to create a replica. Then, click Next.
  9. Pick the consistency check options. Hit Next for the last time here.
  10.  Check the summary of the workflow that you just set up. If the settings correspond to your requirements, click Create Group.

Method 3: Export a VM with Hyper-V Manager

You can save the data of your virtual server or any other VM by exporting that VM to a different storage. Once you need to restore the data, you only need to import the virtual machine back to the environment. Hyper-V Manager is the default Microsoft tool to perform VM import and export.

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager, then find the VM you need to back up.
  2. Right-click that VM. Pick Export.
  3. Hit Browse. Then, specify the backup storage destination.
  4. To export the chosen VM to the specified destination, click Export.

Method 4: Third-Party Microsoft Hyper-V backup solution

The built-in Microsoft tools can suit the data protection needs of a small organization with a limited number of machines in its Hyper-V environment. More complex infrastructures can require additional functionality and control of their Hyper-V backup and replication workflows.

Robust third-party solutions provide a set of tools to effectively implement and manage backup, recovery and replication of virtual machines. Incremental, image-based and app-aware backups help you ensure data consistency, save storage space, shorten backup windows and optimize hardware utilization.

Workflow automation features, full and granular recovery of VMs along with multiple backup destinations ensure data reliability and timely recoverability for compliance and production continuity. Advanced protection capabilities, such as immutable backups, role-based access control, two-factor authentication, enable you to strengthen data resilience against cyberthreats such as ransomware.

NAKIVO backup for Hyper-V can streamline data protection management and save time, effort and resources with the centralized management dashboard. The solution allows you to create custom Hyper-V backup strategies to improve your organization’s data security, availability and recoverability.


When you want to back up Hyper-V VM data, you can choose from built-in Microsoft features such as Windows Server Backup, Hyper-V backup with System Center Data Protection Manager and VM export. These three methods can be efficient in case you are an individual or your organization is small.

However, when you have multiple Hyper-V VMs on various sites, the functionality of built-in features is insufficient. The modern data protection solution with an advanced Windows Server backup and restore feature set can enable you to implement and manage Hyper-V data protection workflows across the entire SMB or enterprise infrastructure. Consider using an all-in-one data protection solution, such as NAKIVO Backup & Replication, to simplify data protection management, as well as ensure backup data relevance and recoverability.

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A heavy gamer, there's nothing that Faith loves more than spending an evening playing gacha games. When not reviewing and testing new games, you can usually find her reading fantasy novels or watching dystopian thrillers on Netflix.

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