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CrashPlan Pro - Backup Virtual Machines 
Audience: Faculty;Staff;PhD

Operating System: Windows 8/8.1;Windows 7;Windows Vista;Windows XP;Mac OS X;Linux
Article Number: 735 .2.0

Updated: 1/4/2013 12:17 PM
This article explains how to backup your Virtual Machine using CrashPlan Pro.


CrashPlan Pro is configured to exclude virtual machine hard disks from backup by default.

Virtual Machine Backup

Virtual machines are used for many purposes and may contain data that requires backup. CrashPlan can be used to capture virtual machine data using one of the methods below.

Configure Shared Folders

Shared folders or mirrored folders1 can be configured within virtual machine settings to enable folders to be shared between your OS and the virtual disk.

This is the recommended and preferred method to back up virtual machine data as your data is stored within OS X and thus backed up via the CrashPlan default backup set. This way, only data is backed up and not the virtual machine OS and system files.

Using mirrored folders will also make your data accessible when the virtual machine is powered off.

To enable shared or mirrored folders, refer to our Configuring Shared Folder Access article for additional information and detailed set up instructions.

Note: VMware Tools must be installed for shared folders to work.

Install CrashPlan Pro within the Virtual Machine

CrashPlan can be installed within the virtual machine. This will allow your virtual machine to back up as a separate computer within your CrashPlan Pro account. 

  • All files and folders will be accessible for restore from within your account.
  • The CrashPlan Pro client runs within the virtual machine and will only back up data when the virtual machine is powered on.

Remove Virtual Hard Disk Exclusion

Removing the file type exclusion will allow for your virtual hard disk to be captured during backup as long as the file is located within your backup set.2

Doing this will backup the virtual machine hard disk (.vmdk). This method will not provide immediate access to files and folders, but will backup the entire contents of the virtual machine.

To remove the exclusion:

  1. Launch the CrashPlan Pro client.
  2. Select the Settings module.
  3. Select the Backup tab.
  4. Click the Configure button located next to Filename patterns to exclude.
  5. The Backup Exclusions window opens. Locate the expression that contains the file type (.vmdk) that should be included within your backup.
  6. Select the minus (-) sign to the left of the expression.
  7. Select OK to save the change.


Contact KIS FaStCATS if you have questions or need assistance. 

1 The Shared Folders feature enables you to access your Mac's folders (mirrorred folders) from your virtual machine and the option to add additional shared folders.

Mirrored folders allows your Windows virtual machine to save files to the corresponding folders on the Mac OS. These folders consist of Desktop / Documents / Music / Pictures/ Movies/ Downloads folders. Mirrored content resides on the Mac.

2 See the related article CrashPlan Pro - Managing your Backup Set for information on the defaullt backup set and on how to make changes.