Time Machine and SmartGuard

Discussion in 'Installation and Configuration' started by tomfri, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. tomfri

    tomfri Bit Poster

    Yesterday Time Machine saved my life once again even though i strongly suspect it also was the culprit of the crash. I mean, what happens when Time Machine backs up my pvm file while working in Windows...? The last six months i've had the "APFS fsroot tree is invalid" problem twice and the pvm file is to blame. I believe this has to do with Time Machine backing up the pvm file while working in Windows. The first time i formatted my hard drive and started all over again but this time i restored the pvm file after hours of research. Voila, everything works great again. Because of this i added "~/Parallels" to the list of folders Time Machine should exclude. Still i want my virtual machine backed up so my question is about SmartGuard... I have now set the SmartGuard on and ticked the "Optimize for Time Machine" box but the Parallels folder is still excluded from Time Machine. Do i have to include the Parallels folder in Time Machine or are snapshots stored elsewhere? Also i would like to know if someone else have come to the same conclusion as i have?
  2. Maria@Parallels

    Maria@Parallels Parallels Team

    Hi, @tomfri you can just enable SmartGuard as you did. For more info please check https://kb.parallels.com/8827
    Also if you decide to backup your VM please shut it down and plz check this KB for more info about VM's backup.
  3. dvonroeder

    dvonroeder Bit Poster

    tomfri raises some good points and, having had Windows destroy my user account two days ago, this topic has a lot of meaning for me.
    The links provide some cursory information but I haven't found a resource that provides detail.
    It appears that the purpose of SmartGuard is to create snapshots. Per the UI, the number of snapshots and the frequency with which a snapshot can be created is controlled or the user can check the "Optimize for Time Machine". If I understand correctly, the SmartGuard feature deals only with creating snapshots. Is that correct?
    If the PVM is backed up by TimeMachine, TM will create a backup of the entire PVM and will then, assuming that SmartGuard is enabled, will then backup just the snapshots. Is that correct?
    The docs clearly state the PVM should be shut down when doing a backup. That's understandable and, with backup software that could be set to run at "off hours", easily accomplished. An issue arises, perhaps, when using Time Machine because it does an hourly backup. The technical solution is to shutdown my VM's every hour to wait for TM to run but no one could argue that to be a practical solution and keep a straight face. Given that, I have to think that the "shut it down" advice does not apply when using Time Machine or, perhaps, if you're using Smart Guard. Is that correct?
    Maria, could you be so good as to comment on the questions that I've raised?
    Perhaps I'm trying to make too fine a point here but I think everyone would be better served if more information on SmartGuard and backups/Time Machine was available.
    tomfri likes this.
  4. elasticmedia

    elasticmedia Bit Poster

    Forgive me for still being confused. It would be helpful for Parallels to make a youtube video explaining the process of setup and basic explanation of how it works and integrates with Time Machine, both for backup and for restore. It seems that recommended article 8827 is out of date - only mentions v. 13. I see contradictory points in these forums and want to spell it out once again to make sure I have it right and maybe even understand the process. I think I am to include my windows .pvm in the Time Machine backup and I am to check the SmartGuard option in the settings. I gather that Time Machine backups up Parallels but only backs up the small part of it that is the snapshots.
    If I were to restore my .pvm from Time Machine, how would that work? Normally you navigate to where the file/application is stored on the Mac, but if that .pvm file is not backed up, then how would I proceed? What if reinstalled a hard drive and reinstalled Windows: would my backup work there?
    I use Parallels v. 14 with Windows 10.
  5. elasticmedia

    elasticmedia Bit Poster

    The other thing is that if dvonroeder is correct and parallels warns against making a backup while the virtual machine is running, then that essentially means that you can't do automatic Time Machine backups. If Parallels Team could confirm about this point in regards to the danger of the hourly TM backups.
  6. dvonroeder

    dvonroeder Bit Poster

    I heartily concur with the recommendation about creating a video. I wouldn't go so far to say that the hourly Time Machine backup can't be used (I suspect that Parallels is being very conservative) but I certainly don't want to find out the hard way. My approach was to enable SmartGuard and to ensure that Time Machine captured the initial file when Parallels was not running. Smart Guard blocks activity while it's working so it's able to create a valid delta file in the Parallels folder. Time Machine picks up that file when it does a backup.
    This topic is not complex but it's not well documented and, second, the idea that you can exclude your pvm from Time Machine and still be able to recover your pvm file just using the SmartGuard files doesn't make sense to me.
    Parallels users would be well served by up-to-date information on this topic.
    elasticmedia likes this.

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