Host-level Hyper-V backups - x360Recover

Written By Tami Sutcliffe (Super Administrator)

Updated at January 7th, 2022

We do NOT recommend Hyper-V host-level backups (even though they are possible) 

Background: Why Hyper-V host-level backups are (technically) possible

  • The x360Recover backup agent uses Microsoft VSS, which typically can take successful snapshots of the entire host hypervisor system, including the VHD(X) files associated with running VMs. 
  • Hyper-V has a VSS writer that allows it to coordinate with the VSS snapshot process. This means it can safely take snapshots of VMs that x360Recover can backup.
  • Our FastDelta change detection mechanism is optimized for capturing change in large files, like virtual disk images. This makes it possible (and relatively straight forward) to deploy a single agent on the Hyper-V host to capture ‘backups’ of multiple running guest virtual machine systems.

Why don't we recommend Hyper-V host-level backups?

Recovery is much more challenging when accessing VMs from a host-level backup:

1. Our backup appliances and Virtual Office cloud virtualization don’t support nested virtualization. This means that although you can quickly virtualize the Hyper-V host on one of our backup appliances or in our cloud, you'll be unable to do the nested virtualization needed to immediately turn on and recover the child VMs. You’d have the VHD(X) files with the data for those VMs -  but you would have no way to run them locally (or in the cloud) in a disaster recovery scenario.  

2. The only ‘backup’ of your virtual machine guests would be the raw virtual disk file, VHD or VHDX. This makes it difficult to do simple file and folder recovery. You would have to download the entire virtual disk image and mount it somewhere else before performing file and folder recovery.  

3. If you backup your protected systems at the hypervisor host level, you lose the most important part of your backup integrity checking:  AutoVerify. The nightly boot check would only be able to check the hypervisor host itself; It would not check any of the guest virtual machines that represent the primary data set you are backing up.

What we DO recommend

  • Instead of installing the agent on the Hyper-V host,  install a backup agent directly onto each Hyper-V guest virtual machine

In this way, all systems will be backed up directly and each system can be virtualized in our cloud (or on the local appliance) - instantly, and without any issues. 

Additionally, nightly boot checks will be performed individually for each protected system, and all normal recovery options will be available. When failing back to the Hyper-V host, files can easily be restored as VHD(X) disk images again and configured as guest virtual machines. 


  • We don’t officially support backing up Hyper-V hosts natively (in order to back up the guest virtual machines all at once.)
  • Instead, we strongly encourage installation of the backup agent inside of each individual virtual machine. This ensures the best possible backup results, including accurate data integrity validation and a efficient recovery experience for you and your clients.

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