How to restore Parallels from Time Machine or Mac Clone

Discussion in 'Windows Guest OS Discussion' started by jonathan_david, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. jonathan_david

    jonathan_david Kilo Poster

    Messages:
    181
    I'm wondering for future reference if I can simply copy the Parallels folder from my Time Machine backup (or one of my Clones) and simply paste it over the Parallels folder if I have a problem with my Parallels installation or with Windows 7.'

    Does anyone know if there are instructions for this or if this is OK?

    TIA.
     
  2. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

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    626
    I'd let Time machine do the job. Invoke TM and navigate to where your backup copy is - then right click on the VM and select the "Restore..." entry from the menu. Don't manually copy the backed-up copy from your .backup folder, that'll confuse Time machine.
     
  3. jonathan_david

    jonathan_david Kilo Poster

    Messages:
    181
    hi. thank you.

    yes, i see.

    when using Time Machine I need to do the Restore functionality. Do I do this by simply selecting the Parallels /folder/ and restoring it? I mean, will this completely and fully bring me back to a previous state is what I am wondering.

    or - for instance - if I don't have a windows "restore" state to go back to, is it possible to select something that would let me restore just /windows/ from time machine (say by selecting just a folder or a hard drive icon).

    I mean, i guess I can do /both/ of these and it will be as good as it was?

    thanks.
     
  4. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

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    626
    I'm not quite sure I follow you. The easiest method to go to a previously backed up state of your Virtual Machine, and you use Time Machine to back up your VM, is if you invoke time machine, navigate to wherever your VM file is located (usually in /Documents/Parallels), and restore that file. Example: My VM file is called "Windows7.pvm", and it lives in the folder "Parallels", and that lives in my "Documents" folder. If I wanted to restore an old state of the VM, I'd open Time machine, go back a few days, and restore "Windows7.pvm".
    However, I don't use TM to back up my VM. I have excluded my VM from being backed up by TM. I have set my VM's hard drive to be a single continuous file, and it is 40 Gigs in size. That's too large for daily back ups (at least for my hard drives). So I back it up manually about once a week by simply copying the VM file to a hard disk, overwriting the previous backup.
     
  5. jonathan_david

    jonathan_david Kilo Poster

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    181
    hi. thank you. great help.

    i got it. for some reason i was thinking that the parallels settings would be independent of the windows machine and that i could restore the virtual machine without changing anything in the parallels installation but i think i understand that the Windows7.pvm basically includes both.

    Thank you again for the help!
     
  6. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

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    626
    Hi,

    Well, the VM file contains the settings that are specific to that VM - e.g. number of processors, ram, 3d acceleration, etc., and - most importantly - the virtual hard drive (unless you're using a Boot Camp VM). The VM file contains your Virtual Machine. Parallels Desktop is the program that runs your virtual machine.

    Think of it like iTunes and your music library. iTunes plays your music files that are contained in your music library, much like Parallels runs your Windows OS (and your Windows programs) that is contained in your VM. Backing up iTunes but not the music library is like backing up Parallels Desktop but not the VM. It makes more sense to back up the music library (or the VM) than to back up iTunes (or Parallels Desktop): iTunes (or Parallels Desktop) is not changing much, except with an update, but your music library (or your VM) change very often as you add music files (or work with your VM and change e.g. Word documents).

    Hope this helps clarify things a bit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  7. jonathan_david

    jonathan_david Kilo Poster

    Messages:
    181
    hi shaddam.

    sorry. there is a step or two in here that i am misunderstanding.

    when you refer to the VM file you are referrring to the Windows7.pvm file in the Parallels folder in my Documents folder, yes? and if I want to start backing /this/ up from /within/ windows i need to look at the Control Panel > Backup and Restore section? and i need to start making some kind of backup points in here, is that right? this way i can restore from /within/ windows in the future and also back up the OS if I am doing something risky or new in the OS?

    also, when you talk about the Parallels desktop - i guess you are saying that this gets backed up with the rest of the information on my mac somewhere in the Parallels Applications folder? I mean, I am backing up everything but if I want to restore windows I restore the pvm file. if I needed to restore parallels but didn't want to restore my whole mac is there something that I would select to restore the parallels settings?

    and then if i want to take incremental restore points for these settings, I am taking "snapshots" is that right?

    all of this is very new to me so apologies for the elementary questions but also thank you for the education here.
     
  8. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

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    626
    It sounds as if you wanted to use Windows' built-in back up system to back up your VM. A question: Where do you want to back it up to? It would make sense to back it up to an external drive, so you'll either need a real external NTFS formatted drive (e.g. connected via USB) or you'll need to create a new virtual hard drive, preferably on an external disk. The real drive will have a slight advantage: You'll be able to access it from another real (physical) PC to e.g. migrate your user. In this case the Mac, and Time Machine, won't have anything to do with the back up process, as you'll be using the Windows built-in system.

    However, if you want to back up your Windows install solely for backup purposes, it's way easier to just copy the whole VM file to an external disk. The second best option is to back up your VM using time machine, but that eats up a lot of space on your back up disk. The by far worst way, from my point of view, it using the built-in Windows back up. I'm just backing up my wife's real Windows Vista machine, and the version built into Windows 7 is no better - it doesn't back up any of your programs, for instance, and it is *slow*.

    So really, the simplest method is to back up your VM manually. If you want to retain multiple copies, name them by date, e.g. the most recent one would be called "Windows-7-backup-20111127.pvm", the one a week older than that "Windows-7-backup-20111120.pvm", etc. When you make a new back up, throw away (delete) the very oldest one. As you're using the Mac to back up your VM file (which includes your virtual hard disk file), you don't need to worry about Windows' built-in back up.

    If you really want to use TM for backing up the VM, just let TM do its job. You'll need a real large hard drive for that (depending on how large your VM is). For example, my VM has a virtual hard drive of 40 GB. Every time I change *anything* on my Windows system, even if I just open a browser to look at today's news, the virtual hard drive is changed since the browser is caching new data. So the next time I'll connect my Mac back up drive and TM kicks in, it will store the entire VM hard drive file - all 40 Gigs of it - on my Mac back up drive. After a couple of backups, my Mac back up drive will be full. Again, as you're using the Mac to back up your VM file, you don't need to worry about Windows' built-in back up.

    You can of course also invoke Parallels' snapshot feature, but that's effectively quite similar to making manual copies - only the copies aren't stored on an external drive but within your VM file. (The key difference is that a snapshot also contains the VM's memory at the moment the snapshot is taken.) So they're not quite as useful for making backups; they're better suitable for playing with the VM (make a snapshot just before you change something fundamental; if the change breaks something vital, just restore the previous, working state from the snapshot).

    I suggest you decide which of the three options would work best for you:
    1) built-in Windows (in which case you don't need to think about how to use Time Machine),
    2) manual copies of your VM file (in which case you don't need to worry about Windows' built in backup, restore points, or snapshots), or
    3) Time Machine (in which case again you don't need to worry about restore points, snapshots, etc.)

    1) will be entirely Windows based and you won't have to deal with Time Machine,
    2) will be Mac-centric, you won't have to deal with Time Machine and can ignore all Windows built-in backups, but you'll need to manually maintain your backups of the VM, and
    3) will be Mac-centric, you won't have to worry about anything at all, but you'll need one giant back up drive.

    Restores:
    1) If you're using the built-in Windows back up functions, you'll need to use the Windows restore functions too.
    2) If you're using manual backups, just throw away (put into trash) your VM on your Mac's hard drive and copy one of your backups to where your VM file usually lives (e.g. the "Parallels" folder inside your "Documents" folder).
    3) If you're using the Time Machine method and you'd want to restore your VM file (e.g. 'Windows 7.pvm') from Time machine, then you'd invoke time machine, navigate to the folder where your VM file sits, use the "date" slider at the right to navigate to whatever date you want to restore your VM file from, right click on the file, and select "restore to Mac".

    I hope this helps a bit and that I got your questions right. If not, just drop a line!
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  9. jonathan_david

    jonathan_david Kilo Poster

    Messages:
    181
    Hi S.

    Thank you so much. I can't really explain how wonderful it is to get this kind of help. One follow up if you will permit me.

    I think I have my backup routine down but the VM is something I am not quite following. I started in with Mac and Parallels about a year and a half ago so being able to make sure I have the VM handled correctly would be great.

    Anyway, right now I back up my computer with Deja Vu to an external drive that I keep off site (1), with CCC Clone to an external that I keep on site (2) and with Time Machine. Right now, the Time Machine backup happens continuously, the CCC backup happens 1X/mth on the Mac Pro and whenever I plug in the MacBookPro - and the DejaVu backup happens whenever I bring the off-site drives in and run a backup. So far this seems OK. I run the MacPro CCC 1X per month on a schedule on the first just because I feel like this is in part a clone to restore to in case I run into a big problem and need to get back up and running. Presumably I could even restore from this clone and then manually restore the Documents folder which would have more current data(!)(?).

    I should also mention that I have 10 - 15 years of office work in here so I want to be very deliberate about all of this moving forward.

    Anyway, it seems to me like I am missing a couple of things in your great explanation. Also, I am asking this in part because I ran a Registry operation recently that borked my system on the MBP and I realized I don't know what I am doing here. For instance, I didn't run any RESTORE POINTS so there was nothing to RESTORE to when I booted to the CD Rom and I /also/ EXCLUDED the PARALLELS FOLDER from my Time Machine backup (!).

    1. Should I expect to be able to manually restore the Parallels folder and simply end up with a version of my Windows 7 VM at that point? I mean, I should expect to literally be able to copy and paste this over the existing folder with no problems, yes?

    2. Can you clarify this issue about the VM backup with Time Machine? I am backing up a 250 GB MBP to a 2 TB Time Capsule (sort of a long story) but you are indicating that there is no way for Time Machine to run an incremental on the 40 or 50 GB .pvm file and that any time it changes it runs a new backup of the new pvm - which basically means that after 4 or 5 backups (?) there is 160 - 250 GB of data on the TC in .pvm files alone? I mean, I would like very much to run multiple backups of the VM on multiple hard drives so I would like to include this on the TC...

    3. I think I should start running Snapshots (especially before changing anything in the Registry). Does this drastically increase the size of the pvm file?

    4. I won't use the Windows backup routines but do you think I should start running Restore Points and if so where do I do this and how is this different from Snapshots??

    5. I would like to start running ARCHIVAL backups once every six months or so and storing these off-site. I just mention this but I expect to just run these to an internal drive and keep one on the shelf over here and ship one to my brother once in a blue moon.

    THANK YOU!

    - Jon
     
  10. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

    Messages:
    626
    Hi Jon,

    thank you for your kind words.

    As regards your questions:

    1. Should I expect to be able to manually restore the Parallels folder and simply end up with a version of my Windows 7 VM at that point? I mean, I should expect to literally be able to copy and paste this over the existing folder with no problems, yes?

    -> Yes.

    2. Can you clarify this issue about the VM backup with Time Machine? I am backing up a 250 GB MBP to a 2 TB Time Capsule (sort of a long story) but you are indicating that there is no way for Time Machine to run an incremental on the 40 or 50 GB .pvm file and that any time it changes it runs a new backup of the new pvm - which basically means that after 4 or 5 backups (?) there is 160 - 250 GB of data on the TC in .pvm files alone? I mean, I would like very much to run multiple backups of the VM on multiple hard drives so I would like to include this on the TC...

    -> It depends on how you've set up your VM's virtual hard drive. A little bit of background: When it's finding out what to back up, TM is looking at whether a file has changed between now and the last back up. Many files won't have changed, e.g. a Word document that you haven't looked at in 2 years. That won't get backed up. But a file that *has* changed will be backed up. Now the VM's virtual hard drive is changing all the time when you use the VM; even just firing up the VM will change that drive as the Windows' virtual memory is usually stored on that drive. Virtual Memory is a file on the drive that changes all the time. That in turn means the virtual hard drive is changing all the time, and so the virtual hard drive file is changing all the time. The virtual hard drive file lives inside your VM file (e.g. "Windows 7.pvm"). So, unless you don't use your VM between one TM backup and the next, TM will definitely back up your VM file.
    One way to alleviate the situation somewhat is to split the virtual hard drive into 2 GB portions (this can be set in Parallels, in the VM control panel). If you do that, the virtual hard drive is split into a number of smaller individual files. These look like a contiguous hard drive to the VM, but to the Mac, they look like a bunch of individual files. A 40 GB virtual hard drive would be split into 20 individual "fragment" (for lack of a better word) files, each 2 GB in size. Not all of these will change when the VM is running: For example, only that "fragment file" on which Windows' virtual memory is stored will have changed when you start and then stop the VM. This means that when TM wants to back up your Mac's files, only that one single "fragment file" will get backed up, while the backups of the others won't be updated. (There will be one initial back up when all "fragment files" are backed up.)
    So that might be a compromise strategy for using TM to back up your VM. It shouldn't eat the space on your back up disk that quickly. But I haven't ever tried it. As far as I know there's a tiny bit of overhead penalty involved with splitting the VM's virtual hard drive into 2 GB "fragments". It's probably not much but me personally, I want to avoid as much overhead as possible.

    3. I think I should start running Snapshots (especially before changing anything in the Registry). Does this drastically increase the size of the pvm file?

    -> Yes, it will. A snapshot is essentially the same as a manual back-up. However, the snapshot sits in the VM file and will bloat it, while a manual back up can be copied anywhere, including an external disk. Restoring the VM from a snapshot is pretty much the same as restoring it from a back up - the (broken) VM is overwritten with the snapshot or back up. From my point of view there is no need to do a snapshot unless you need the precise contents of the VM, including its memory, at the time of the snapshot. if you don't (and I can only think of developers who need that), a manual backup will achieve the same thing.

    4. I won't use the Windows backup routines but do you think I should start running Restore Points and if so where do I do this and how is this different from Snapshots??

    -> Restore points are Windows specific, and you'd be using Windows' own internal backup functions for this. Doing restore points within Windows *and* backups of the VM on the Mac is overkill: You'd be backing up something within Windows that you're backing up on the Mac anyway. There is a back up and restore function in Windows, just type "backup" into Windows' start menu's text entry field, it should show up in the results list of that menu. My wife is using that as she's on a physical Windows machine, and she has no choice. I'm not since I'm using a virtual Windows machine, and I chose to do manual backups on the Mac (way less hassle).

    5. I would like to start running ARCHIVAL backups once every six months or so and storing these off-site. I just mention this but I expect to just run these to an internal drive and keep one on the shelf over here and ship one to my brother once in a blue moon.

    -> Sounds like a good idea.

    Part of the beauty of using a VM is that it is, essentially, just a collection of files that govern how Parallels will show Windows to you (this includes the virtual hard drive). All of these files live within the VM file (e.g. "Windows 7.pvm") - that file is actually a package that stores all the required files. To check what's in the VM file, right-click on it and select "Show package contents": You'll see all the files of which the VM consists. (Don't throw anything away from there, though!)
    Since the VM is just a bunch of files - and on the Mac, they're all packaged into the VM file - it is really easy to move VMs from one host to the next: Just copy the VM file to an external disk or USB drive and plug it into another Mac. Also, if you back up the VM file, it's really easy to restore it at a later date: Just replace the current VM file with your back up. It is ever so much easier than using Windows' own back up functions (which include the restore point stuff).

    Whether the back up is manual or is done via any of the methods you mentioned (CCC, TM, and manual) doesn't matter.

    Overall I think you're overdoing backing up a bit. Once method should be sufficient. CCC is great but TM is easier to use. If you do regular TM back ups, then even if your hard drive goes completely dead and has to be replaced, a restore is easy: Get a new drive, install your OS (currently Lion), and chose to import your user data from the TM backup. It will really restore all your files, including all settings, software, hacks, serial numbers, etc. I've had to recently do that as my Mac got stolen. I bought a new one, restored my data from the TM backup, restored the VM from the manual back up, and was back in action within 2 hours (including the VM).

    Hope this helps!
     
  11. jonathan_david

    jonathan_david Kilo Poster

    Messages:
    181
    Hi Shaddam.

    Thank you again for a great explanation, on a not so easy topic for me to understand.

    Can you please tell me where to set the backup for the VM as 2 GB pieces? I am in Virtual Machine > Configure and I see a checkbox that says "Do not back up virtual machine". Then below it is "SmartGuard" which is currently diabled but has a "Optimize for time machine" and a "Custom" setting? Also I am not seeing anything in Preferences.

    I understand I have to remove the Win 7 exclusion from Time Machine backup and I have to uncheck this Do not backup setting but can you help me with the setting for the 2GB?

    Then it sounds like I am good to go.

    I would simply back up the machine to my "static" (i.e. non-time machine external disks) and I would just - run a backup of everything before running any kind of registry setting change is that right? I mean, it sounds like you are saying in this case that Restore Points and Snapshots would be redundant as long as I run a backup of my mac (assuming I am backing up the VM from now on).

    Yes?

    Thanks!
     
  12. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

    Messages:
    626
    Hi Jonathan,

    How to apply the 2 GB fragments: go to your VM's settings, "hardware" tab, "hard disk" section. (Do this while the VM is OFF.) There, you'll see a button "edit" (or similar); click on it. A pop-up will appear in which you'll see a checkbox "segment hard disk image into 2 GB fragments" (or similar). That's the checkbox you want to set. Click the Apply button; Parallels will then work for a while to fragment your hard disk file into a number of 2 GB segments.

    Before you start playing with the registry or do similar potentially hazardous stuff with your VM, copy the VM file ("Windows 7.pvm") *manually* to a location of your choice while the VM is *off*. It should be off before you manually back it up. Not sleeping, but really off (invoked via Windows "Shut down"). Just to make sure, quit Parallels Desktop as well. I suggest you save it to an external disk and disconnect that after the copy is complete.

    If you want to back it up to TM, connect your TM drive now (if it's not already connected) and start a TM back up. Wait till the back up is complete.

    (Doing a manual *and* a TM back up is really somewhat redundant, but you seem to be the careful type :)

    Once you've done this, fire up your original VM and play with it to your heart's content. When it breaks - i.e. when Windows start doing things you don't want it to do, or actually breaks - you can then throw away your original VM file (move it to Trash) and copy your back up from wherever you'd copied it to back to your original VM's location.

    So:
    - Shut down the VM
    - Quit Parallels
    - Locate your internal VM file (e.g. Documents/Parallels/Windows 7.pvm)
    - Copy it to an external drive (e.g. myExternalDrive/Backups/VMs/Windows7.pvm)
    - Disconnect the external drive
    - Start Parallels
    - Start the VM (if it's not auto starting)
    - Do whatever you want to do in it.

    In case it breaks and you want to restore your previously saved copy:
    - Shut down the VM (if possible)
    - Quit Parallels
    - Connect your external drive
    - Locate the internal VM file (e.g. Documents/Parallels/Windows 7.pvm)
    - Move that file to the trash
    - Locate your back up VM file on the external drive (e.g. myExternalDrive/Backups/VMs/Windows7.pvm)
    - Copy this back up VM file from the external drive to the internal location (in the example, it would go into Documents/Parallels)
    - Close all open finder windows
    - Start Parallels
    - Start the VM (if it's not set to auto start)
    - Parallels may ask you whether you've moved, or copied, this VM file. Select "Moved" (otherwise it will change the VM's MAC address)
    - The VM should start. It will be in the state it had when you had backed it up
    - Once you're happy that everything is running as it should, you can empty the trash to remove the original (now broken) VM from your system

    If you want to restore from a TM backup, the procedure is a little easier:
    - Shut down the VM (if possible)
    - Quit Parallels
    - Connect your TM drive (it not already connected)
    - Invoke TM
    - While in TM, navigate to your internal VM file (e.g. Documents/Parallels/Windows 7.pvm)
    - Use the time slider at the right to navigate to a date when your VM was still working
    - Right-click on the VM file (e.g. "Windows 7.pvm")
    - Select "restore to hard drive"
    - Wait till TM has completed the restore. As the VM file is usually huge, this may take a while.
    - Quit TM
    - Start Parallels
    - Start the VM (if it's not auto starting)
    - Enjoy.

    Regarding your question:
    I mean, it sounds like you are saying in this case that Restore Points and Snapshots would be redundant as long as I run a backup of my mac (assuming I am backing up the VM from now on).

    - Yes, exactly.

    Good luck, and enjoy fiddling with the Windows Registry!
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
  13. jonathan_david

    jonathan_david Kilo Poster

    Messages:
    181
    hi. thank you /so-o/ much. fantastic and /so/ clear.

    so great to get this straightened out and moving forward.

    THANK YOU!!

    maybe i should start another thread on this one but i was reading up on "SmartGuard" in Configure > Options > Backup. Under the Help this is "Save Snapshots of a Virtual Machine". On the second page they seem to speak about the "Optimize for Time Machine" with the text below. Is this somehow unrelated to the 2GB issue and is it really true that turning on Snapshots will somehow bloat my pvm file? I mean, Snapshots /sound/ like they would just backup the most recent tweaks (a lot like Time Machine) and the explanation below /sounds/ like it is somehow a substitute or even complementary to the 2 GB chunk setting.

    am I correct in thinking that this is a redundant or somehow different functionality from the setting I just fixed? I mean, I don't completely have to understand this one but somehow it feels better to make sure I followed it out completely to the end on these...plus if i have some extremely intelligent and able to explain it I hate to waste the opportunity...

    "Optimize for Time Machine: If you select this option, as snapshot will be taken every 24 hours. Time Machine when backing up your Mac will not back up the entire virtual machine, but only its latest snapshot. This allows you to reduce the amount of data that Time Machine backups up, to reduce the time Time Machine spends backing up the virtual hard disk(s). and to minimize the risk of data loss or corruption when restoring the virtual machine hard disk(s) from the Time Machine backup." ...

    "Custom: ..." ...

    "Note: If you use Time machine to back up your Mac you can configure the virtual machine sot hat Time Machine would back up not its whole hard disk but only changes made since the latest snapshot. Choose Optimize for Time Machine and Click OK."

    THANK YOU!!
     
  14. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

    Messages:
    626
    Hi Jon,

    thank you.

    I haven't played with Parallels' snapshot feature, and in particular haven't seen the bit "optimize for time machine". The system sounds good to me. Why not just give it a try? Do a manual backup initially, just in case, and then turn on the feature and see how quickly the free space on your TM drive shrinks.
    However, I don't know how a restore from the "optimized for Time Machine" snapshot/SmartGuard/TM back up would work. Maybe someone else here has tried it? I'll play with it and see how it goes :-D

    Have a great day!
     
  15. NancyP

    NancyP

    Messages:
    2
    Hi Shaddam,

    I have two external hard drives, running Parallels 6, one for each mac (work and home)

    One of the hd died.
    I want to use the other one to retrieve dead HD's datas from Time Machine.
    Before doing it, I want to know if TM will erase my good HD's datas before restoring?
    Because I really don't want that.

    Thanks a lot !
     
  16. jonathan_david

    jonathan_david Kilo Poster

    Messages:
    181
    hi. thank you so much for just some really fantastic advice and help.

    so great to be moving finally in the right direction and i really hope to catch you on some other threads.

    major good karma coming your way IMHO.

    all the best.

    Jonathan
     
  17. NancyP

    NancyP

    Messages:
    2
    Ok, I've answered myself to my question :) I risked a test directly on my mac.
    If it can do it on a mac without erasing it first, it works the same way on external hard disk.
    I've followed what has been said on this thread. It's the first time I have to use Time Machine.
    Wow, it's so simple !! Thanks a lot guys for the teaching above.
    So now, I'm restoring on my other external hd.
    I will sleep well tonight :)
     
  18. Shaddam IV

    Shaddam IV

    Messages:
    626
    Yeah, Time Machine can be a real life saver :-D
     
  19. Harry Binswanger

    Harry Binswanger

    Messages:
    37
    2GB fragments

    You discussed making 2GB fragments of the .pvm. Two questions:

    1. What happens if one fragment gets corrupted, but the others are okay?

    2. If I want to restore, via Time Machine, to an earlier state, how do I handle the 25 fragments? Can I select them all? What will their filenames be when I'm looking in TM? In other words, what does the fragmenting idea imply for safety and ease of restoring?

    Thanks very much.
     
  20. RaphaelF

    RaphaelF Bit Poster

    Messages:
    12
    I know this thread is "ancient", but I thought I'd contribute anyways in case someone comes across it and needs these answers: Yep! I have extensively tested the snapshots and the "optimize for time machine" option. And I am happy to say that is works like a peach...! Basically here's how it works:
    1. You create/install a VM that measures, say, 100GB.
    2. You enable the optimize for time machine snapshots.
    3. A TimeMachine backup runs right after that. Then it detects the new PVM file and the snapshot... At this point, it analyzes the original PVM file and the snapshot and realizes that it does not have both the original state of the VM before the snapshot and the changes in the snapshot. SO, it backs up both, seamlessly, so that you have everything you need for a restore. Then, every 24 hours, Parallels creates another snapshot of your VM (provided you have Parallels and the VM running...), containing only the changes since the last snapshot was created. Then, when Time Machine does the next backup it detects that it already has the original state of the VM, plus the first snapshot, and it is only missing whatever changed on the occasion of this backup, which may very well be 1GB or so only. Then it backs up just that 1GB, saving you time and storage!!
    I have VMs measuring up to 400GB and all I need to back up (automatically) every hour is the latest changes to the VMs in snapshots, thankfully, because Parallels and TimeMachine work in tandem to make it all happen. Mind you: This is completely transparent to the final users (you). In other words: You do not see two files, one of the original .PVM and another of the snapshot(s). All looks like a single file to you when (if) you enter TimeMachine restore mode, should you decide to restore the VM from backup, no matter how many snapshots you have.

    I hope this helps someone. Best, Raphael.
     
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