Live Browse for VMware

A live browse operation gets information about files and folders during browse and restore operations.

The File Recovery Enabler for Linux (FREL) provides UNIX file system support for ext2, ext3, ext4, XFS, JFS, Btrfs, HFS, and HFS Plus. To enable extended file system recovery for UNIX-based virtual machines, deploy a File Recovery Enabler for Linux or convert a Linux MediaAgent to a File Recovery Enabler.

Use a Windows MediaAgent to perform a live browse operation for Windows guest VMs. When you use a Windows MediaAgent for a live browse operation, information for FAT, FAT32, NTFS, and ReFS file systems is available.


Live file recovery is only supported for recovery from backups using magnetic disk/cloud libraries, and is not supported from backups to tape libraries or virtual tape libraries.

For all VSA hypervisors that support live browse, you can perform live browse operations with the following cloud libraries:

  • Amazon S3: S3 Standard storage class

  • Google Cloud Storage: Region or multi-region storage class

  • Microsoft Azure Storage: Default container storage using hot or cold access tiers with General Purpose v1 (GPv1) or General Purpose v2 (GPv2) storage account

Changes for Service Pack 11 and Later

The Enable Granular Recovery option has been removed from the Advanced Backup Options dialog box for all hypervisors.

For hypervisors that support metadata collection, the following option is now available in the Subclient Properties dialog box:

  • Collect File Details: On the Backup Options tab, for streaming backups and backup copies.

  • Collect File Details for Snapshot Copy: On the IntelliSnap Operations tab, for IntelliSnap backups. Use this option when creating a copy for tape storage, because file and folder information is required when recovering files from tape.


The options to collect file details are available only for virtualization clients that use Indexing Version 1.

By default, these options are not enabled for any subclients. This reduces the time required to perform backups.

You can use live browse to view and recover guest files without collecting file information during backups.

For upgraded clients, the settings for these options reflect the configuration of existing backup schedules for each subclient. If an existing backup schedule explicitly selected the Enable Granular Recovery option, the Collect File Details option is enabled for the corresponding subclient.

For more information, see Live Browse, Block-Level Browse, and Metadata Collection.

Additional Options When File Information Is Collected During Backups

  • If file details are collected but some file information could not be read (for example, ext4 data for a Linux VM), partial metadata is collected during the backup, and you can only browse files and folders for which metadata was successfully captured. To enable live file recovery to be used in such situations, you can add the bAllowPartialVMMetadata additional setting to the Virtual Server Agent proxy and set the value to false. With that setting, partial metadata for a virtual machine is discarded, enabling live file recovery to be used for browse and restore operations. For steps, see Adding or Modifying Additional Settings from the CommCell Console.

  • To enable live file recovery even when the Collect File Details option is selected, you can configure the nEnforceLivebrowse additional setting on the Virtual Server Agent (VSA) proxy.

  • Logical volume manager (LVM) metadata processing for volumes using encryption software (for example, Bitlocker) is not supported. Decrypting contents of such volumes may not be feasible during backup because decryption requires a recovery password or a decryption key. Because metadata collection for the volume fails, a file-level browse operation for the encrypted volume cannot display file information.

  • For backups that use a Unix MediaAgent, the index for the Unix MediaAgent is copied to the Windows MediaAgent selected for the browse and restore. This enables all volumes, files, and folders to be displayed when browsing a virtual machine.

  • To support file and folder restores, the Index Cache must be on an NTFS disk.

  • Metadata collection using the Collect File Details option is not supported for IntelliSnap backups of Linux virtual machines. To recover files and folders from IntelliSnap backups of Linux virtual machines, use live file recovery.

Windows Storage Spaces

For files stored on Windows Storage Spaces, you can perform a live browse to view and restore guest files and folders, with the following considerations:

  • The VSA proxy and MediaAgent that are used for the live browse must be running on Windows Server 2012 or later.

  • For a Windows 2016 guest VM, you must use a VSA proxy and MediaAgent that run on Windows 2016 or later.

  • The MediaAgent that is used for the live browse cannot be part of a clustered environment.

  • Dynamic disk configuration on the virtual disk for a storage pool is not supported.

  • You cannot simultaneously browse two cloned VMs that use the same storage space information.

  • Live browse of Windows storage spaces is only supported for streaming backups, auxiliary copies, and backup copies, and not directly from IntelliSnap backups.