What Is a VMware Snapshot and How Do You Make One?

VMware Workstation presents a snapshot characteristic that captures the present state of a VM at a selected time limit. This snapshot captures the digital machine’s configuration, along with a digital disk log that preserves the current state of the digital machine, so you’ll be able to resume duties as if the VM was by no means turned off.


As soon as a snapshot is taken, you should use it to revert the VM to the state it was in when the snapshot was taken. Taking a snapshot of your VM is a vital operate from which all customers will drastically profit—however how does it work?


Why Take a VMware Snapshot?

So how precisely can folks profit from taking snapshots of their VMs? Effectively, there are a number of explanation why:

  • Momentary Backups: Snapshots can be utilized as a type of backup to your digital machines (VMs). Taking a snapshot permits you to revert a VM to its earlier state. This, nonetheless, ought to solely be a short lived type of backup as snapshots are nonetheless depending on its host reminiscence drive.
  • Growth: A snapshot can be used for improvement functions. VMware snapshots can act like a digital sandbox, so your important physique of labor is protected when one thing goes unsuitable. And since you’ll be able to principally make a number of snapshots in a single VM, you’ll be able to maintain taking snapshots everytime you really feel obligatory.
  • Archiving: Taking a snapshot permits you to archive the state of your VM for future reference.
  • Testing: Snapshots can be utilized to check numerous software program in variations with out completely altering the digital machine. You possibly can take a snapshot earlier than making modifications, take a look at the modifications, after which revert to the snapshot if the modifications do not work out.
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Easy methods to Make Snapshot on VMware Workstation

Taking a snapshot in VMware Workstation may be very easy.

Current state of VM

Within the screenshot above, we used fundamental bash instructions to create a listing named “MUO.” Now, we need to take a snapshot of this state in order that we are able to revert to it later.

To take a snapshot utilizing VMware:

Navigate by way of your toolbars and click on on VM > Snapshot > Take Snapshot.

Navigating snapshot tool

Or you’ll be able to click on on the snapshot icon (clock with a plus image) to take the snapshot.

linux vmware snapshot button example

A immediate will pop up, and also you present the snapshot a reputation and optionally available description, then click on Take Snapshot.

linux mint vmware snapshot window settings example

You’ve now efficiently created a VMware snapshot!

Easy methods to Restore and Handle Snapshot

Reverting to a snapshot can be as straightforward as making them.

Desktop directory deleted

As you’ll be able to see within the screenshot above, after taking the snapshot, we deleted the “Desktop” listing. This was a mistake, and now we need to revert to our earlier snapshot.

To revive the snapshot, navigate to your toolbar and click on on the restore icon (clock with a purple backward arrow).

linux mint vmware restore snapshot

The machine has now efficiently reverted to its previous state, as proven within the screenshot under.

Initial VM state recovered

If you happen to’ve taken a number of snapshots and need to choose or delete a snapshot, click on on the snapshot supervisor icon (clock with instrument image, alongside the Take Snapshot and Revert Snapshot buttons). Observe that though taking a snapshot initially makes use of a number of megabytes of reminiscence, the file measurement will develop the longer you utilize it. Make certain to unlock some space for storing and allot sufficient reminiscence on the host system to your snapshots to develop.

To revert to a selected state, click on on the snapshot you need to revert to and click on Restore. You may as well delete, clone, and shield sure snapshots on this menu.

Snapshot management menu

Congratulations! Now you can take, restore, and handle VM snapshots in VMware Workstation.

Greatest Practices When Taking VMware Snapshots

Now that you understand how to make use of the snapshot characteristic in VMware Workstation, listed below are a number of finest practices you will need to observe in VMware to make sure the most effective efficiency.

  • Don’t depend on snapshots as backups: Snapshot recordsdata differ from backups. A snapshot is supposed to be a fast save characteristic that permits you to revert to an older state in case one thing goes unsuitable or when it’s essential to take longer breaks with out doubtlessly shedding all of your progress. Snapshots are totally different from backups since snapshots solely create placeholder disks through which your VM’s present state is saved. It doesn’t save all of the recordsdata and knowledge in your VM as a backup would. This implies modifications on the bottom disk might result in issues {that a} snapshot can not recuperate because it solely incorporates knowledge in regards to the state of the VM and never your complete recordsdata themselves.
  • Solely have 2-3 snapshots per chain: A VM in VMware Workstation can have as much as 32 snapshots per machine. Nevertheless, it is strongly recommended that you simply solely maintain two or three snapshots for higher efficiency.
  • Don’t maintain a snapshot for greater than 72 hours: Though snapshots initially begin out taking a number of megabytes (MB) of house, the snapshot file measurement will proceed rising the longer you retain them. Having such massive recordsdata might take up your whole space for storing and have an effect on efficiency. Forestall maxing out your space for storing by preserving a snapshot for not more than 72 hours.
  • Keep away from rising VM space for storing whereas preserving snapshots: Growing your VM’s space for storing whereas the snapshots have been taken when the space for storing was decrease can corrupt the snapshots and make them unusable.

Different Methods of Saving Your Digital Machine State

Though snapshots are the quickest method to save a VM’s state, there are different methods to avoid wasting a digital machine in its present state. The primary is thru cloning, through which you create an actual copy of the VM with all its configuration and knowledge recordsdata.

Cloning is finest used when making a number of copies of a VM for testing and improvement.

If it’s essential to share the VM with one other machine, making a VM template creates a “Grasp copy,” which may then be used for sharing.

You may as well make a full-blown backup file of a VM simply through the use of the backup characteristic in VMware Workstation. The recordsdata created by a backup are a way more sturdy and dependable type of a snapshot which retains all recordsdata, together with configuration recordsdata, knowledge constructions, and all knowledge recordsdata, in a single folder.

Lastly, you are able to do what is named a chilly migration which is a means of transferring the VM to a different machine with out shutting it down.

What About VMware Workstation Participant?

VMware supplies two flavors of its VMware Workstation: VMware Workstation Professional and VMware Workstation Participant. Workstation Professional is a paid enterprise version hypervisor, whereas Workstation Participant is a free hypervisor made for college students and tinkerers.

Sadly, VMware Workstation Participant doesn’t present the snapshot characteristic (with or and not using a product key). Nevertheless, there’s a method to manually create a snapshot in Workstation Participant. Sadly, this course of consists of backing up your VM, copying the backup recordsdata to a different folder, and opening them as a separate VM—which is considerably tedious for a snapshot.

Or you’ll be able to change to a different hypervisor equivalent to VirtualBox, which supplies the snapshot characteristic totally free.