Restores for VMware

You can restore full virtual machines or VM disks, attach VM disks to another virtual machine, or recover files from a virtual machine backup. You can also restore settings for Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS).

Restores You Can Perform

  • Full virtual machines

  • Guest files and folders

  • Disk files

  • Attaching disks to an existing virtual machine

  • Virtual machine files

Backups You Can Use for Restores

  • The most recent backup: For example, restore the most recent backup to its original location

  • A backup from a specific date: For example, restore data to a point in time before it became unusable

  • Backups from a date range: For example, restore data that was accidentally deleted

Destinations You Can Restore To

  • The current location (in place)

  • A different VM (out of place)

  • A guest agent

  • A different hypervisor (cross-hypervisor restore)

Restores for VM Archiving

When restoring a full VM, you can also recover archived VMs.

You can verify the status of VMs in the vSphere client. For archived VMs the Summary tab in the Annotations area displays Archived: Yes; when you select a virtual machine that has been restored the Archived field is blank.


  • User defined snapshots are not retained when an archived virtual machine is recovered.

  • When restoring a archived virtual machine, a request to change the file location to a different datastore is ignored.

  • A virtual machine that has been archived in one subclient cannot be backed up or archived in another subclient until that virtual machine is recovered. To restore an archived virtual machine when the original subclient that was used to archive the virtual machine has been deleted, perform a Browse at the backup set level.

Use Cases for Restoring Full VMs or Guest Files

Using standard Commvault components and configurations with the Virtual Server Agent (VSA), you can restore full VMs, VMDK files, and guest files and folders, or attach a restored virtual machine disk to an existing VM.

Depending on your requirements for restoring VM data, you can deploy different components and use different configurations or backup strategies.


Ensure that Commvault users have ownership and permissions sufficient to perform restore operations.

The following table provides an overview of additional use cases for restoring VM data, including any required components, configuration options, or backup requirements. Unless otherwise noted, these features are available for restores of data for VMs running any guest operating system supported by VMware (for example, Windows and Linux VMs).

Live Features

Use Case

Required Components



More Information

Live VM Recovery – Recover and power on a VM directly from backup without waiting for a complete restore.

MediaAgent (includes 3dfs support)

ESX server to mount NFS datastore for browse and restore

Standard (client, proxies, and subclient)

Streaming backups, IntelliSnap backup copies, or IntelliSnap backups using NetApp snapshot engines.

Using Live Recovery for Virtual Machines

Live Mount – Run a temporary VM directly from stored backup.

MediaAgent (includes 3dfs support)

Refresh Datacenters

Live Mount provisioning policy

Streaming backups, IntelliSnap backup copies, or IntelliSnap backups using NetApp snapshot engines.

Live Mount

Live Browse or Live File Recovery – Browse and restore files without requiring metadata collection during backup (granular recovery option).

VSA installed on MediaAgent

For Windows VMs, NTFS file system

File Recovery Enabler for Linux required for expanded UNIX file system support: ext4, XFS, JFS, HFS, HFS Plus, or Btrfs file systems

Proxy ESX Server

Default File Recovery Enabler for instance (if deployed)

Backups residing on magnetic disk libraries

Only used when there is no metadata available for a backup job (fails if partial metadata was collected for any VMs in a subclient)

Live File Recovery

Additional File Recovery Options

The following options can be used with granular recovery or Live File Recovery.

Use Case

Required Components



More Information

Guest agent restores of files and folders– Supports recovery of larger amounts of data and provides best performance.

File system agent installed on destination client (in full or restore-only mode)

Standard (client, proxies, and subclient)

Any backup type

Guest Agent Restores

Agentless restores – Restore small files and folders into a virtual machine.

VMware tools or open-vm-tools on destination VM

Standard (client, proxies, and subclient)

Any backup type

Agentless Restores