Issue: Windows Server 2012 Virtual Machines can only be backed up using saved state

I recently came across an issue in an environment where we used DPM 2012 SP1 to backup Windows Server 2012 Virtual Machines running on Server 2008R2 Hyper-V cluster. The only option available in DPM for the VM’s was “Backup Using Saved State”.

Of course this is not the preferred method for backing up a VM because it will be put in a saved state during backup causing the VM to be offline for that period of time. I’d like to use the online backup option: “Backup Using Child Partition Snapshot”.

After some digging I found a forum post which had a reply from a Microsoft employee that suggested to create the following registry key:
HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\SystemRestore
REG_DWORD ScopeSnapshots 0x0

After implementing the registry key on all of the Windows Server 2012 VM’s I could backup using a child partition snapshot without any problems.

It seems that the Hyper-V integration components need a new feature in Windows Server 2012 (and Windows 8) called scoped VSS snapshots to be turned off in order to support online backups. This feature is enabled by default.

I also found some reports about Windows Server 2012 guests transferring the whole VM during backups instead on block level changes. Implement the registry key on every VM that is Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 to resolve both of these issue.

14 thoughts on “Issue: Windows Server 2012 Virtual Machines can only be backed up using saved state

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  1. Do you know if this same problem affects Windows Server 2008 R2 Guest VM’s running on a Windows Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 host with the latest version of integration components installed?

    I seem to have had some success getting some 2008 R2 VM’s to switch to online backup after putting this registry key in however I have also done other little things which could have had an impact.

    1. I’m sorry I did not have the chance to test if it’s the same case with 208R2 guests on 2012R2 hosts. Let me know if you’ve got confirmation yourself. I will change the post accordingly.

  2. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been having this issue in exactly the same environment for months now.

  3. Hi Michel

    Thanks very much – this article helped me solve an issue about 9 months ago where our Lync VM kicked everyone off at 12:04 every day – took me a while to track it back to DPM!

    I’m seeing another issue with another 2012 VM which also only allows Saved State backup. I have added the reg entry, checked integration tools (same version as other VMs which are working fine), rebooted and everything else I can think of but I still cannot use Child Partition Snapshot. It’s 64-bit 2012 Standard running on a 2008 Host. There are other VMS on that host which are backing up fine using Child Partition Snapshot, I’ve compared config, services etc. with those and can’t see any difference. It’s a single VHD with an NTFS partition and it’s a basic disk.

    Any ideas? I’m at a loss!


    1. Just a quick follow up – I was looking for an article I found which listed the requirements fro Child Partition Snapshots – I can’t find the original article but here are the requirements taken from another blog post:

      – VSS Integration component needs to be running in the VM
      – The OS needs to support VSS
      – all the disks configured inside the VM’s OS needs to be configured as a basic disk and not a dynamic disk
      – the volume shadow copy area of each volume in the VM needs to be set to be in the same volume
      – all the volumes in the VM need to support VSS. In other words, if one of the volumes is formatted to be FAT32, we will not take an online backup of the VM.

      My situation matches all these criteria, so I’m very confused!

    2. I think an additional criteria which needs to be added to that list is the need to have a SCSI adapter, I don’t think online backups work unless you have a SCSI adapter configured for the VM.

  4. Apologies, it’s a Server 2008 R2 Datacenter SP1 – I’ve also checked and this hotfix is installed:

    @Adam thanks – I’ve looked up the issue with SCSI adaptors not being attached, but this doesn’t apply to us – the machine has the default SCSI adaptor attached.

  5. Hi Michel. Thanks for your responses so far.

    Further to the above, we had a few checkpoints to remove from the VM, so to rule that out we have done that and rebooted to allow the merge to take place, but I still do not get the option to add this server using Child Partition Snapshot. I really do not know what to do next. So you have any suggestions at all?

    Many thanks in advance

  6. I’ve added the regkey to the registry of my Windows 2012 R2 VM on a 3 node 2008R2 cluster. The back-up method is still saved-state. What could be the problem? I’ve checked everything else like the integration services, its a basic NTFS disk, no other disks are added…

    1. Hi Lucas – might be a silly question but have you removed the VM from the DPM protection group, and then tried to re-add? You won’t see the option for Child Partition until the VM has been removed then re-added. You will have the Inactive replicas so you won’t lose any backups, and can re-add as saved state if this doesn’t resolve the issue.

  7. @Joe and @Lucas: these issues are really hard to troubleshoot without access to the environment. The steps outlined in the different articles should do the trick. I’m sorry I can’t be of more helpful at this time.

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