Difference Between VM Snapshots vs Backups

This article discusses the importance of data protection in Virtual Machines, highlighting the common use of backups and snapshots. It seeks to clear up the confusion by comparing these two methods and providing guidance on their effective use, with the goal of finding the best solution for backup.

  Free Download

For All Windows PCs and Servers

100% Secure
Updated by Gap on Dec 19, 2023

snapshot vs backup

Differences between Backups and Snapshots

First of all, what is the snapshot?
A snapshot in VMware Virtual Machine is essentially a copy of the VM's disk file (VMDK) at a given point in time. It preserves the state and data of a virtual machine at the exact time you take the snapshot.
This feature allows you to save the VM's state and, if necessary, revert to it later, which can be incredibly useful for system testing and recovery from failures. For instance, before applying a system update or testing new software, you might take a snapshot. If anything goes wrong, you can quickly revert to the VM's previous stable state using the snapshot.

Then, are there differences between snapshots and backups?
Strictly speaking, the snapshot is not a full backup. Let us compare these two methods in different dimensions.

A backup is a copy of data intended for recovery purposes in case the original data gets lost or damaged. A snapshot, on the other hand, is a state of a system at a particular point in time, used for quick recovery from system crashes or configuration issues.

Backups are generally stored on a separate physical medium like an external hard drive or cloud storage for safety. Snapshots are stored on the same system and offer a quick rollback option. In essence, while a backup operates independently from the virtual machine, a snapshot does not. Snapshots are stored on the same host as the VM, so if the host fails, the snapshots could be lost.

Backups are meant for long-term storage and can be kept for years. Snapshots are temporary and only kept for a short period.

Data recovery:
In case of data loss, backups can restore data completely to the point when the backup was created. Snapshots can only revert a system to its state at the time of the snapshot.

Resource usage:
Backups require significant resources and time to create and restore. Snapshots are quicker to create and restore, but they take up system resources and can impact performance if too many are kept.

Considering the limitations of snapshots, you might require a comprehensive tool to back up your virtual machine, thereby ensuring all your data remains safe and secure. To ensure the security of your data, our Todo Backup Enterprise would be an optimal choice for you.

  Free Download

For All Windows PCs and Servers

How to Backup your VMware Virtual Machine with Todo Backup Enterprise

By installing EaseUS Todo Backup on your virtual machine, you can have a comprehensive backup solution directly on your VMware Virtual Machine.

This software offers you the flexibility to back up data in multiple ways, catering to your unique requirements and preferences. Whether you need to back up the entire system, individual files, specific partitions, or even the active directory, this software mirrors the functionality available on a physical machine.
snapshot vs backup
Given the daily regulatory requirements, administrators often find it necessary to regularly back up virtual machines. This software stands out due to its exceptional scheduling capabilities. With this feature, backups can be easily programmed to run at specific times, ensuring continuous data protection without the need for manual initiation every time.snapshot vs backup

The primary objective of creating backups is to protect your system from potential crashes. With the Recovery feature, this software enables you to restore files to their original state when the backup image was initially created. Serving as a reverse process to backup creation, this feature acts as a safeguard against various disasters such as virus attacks, system failures, partition malfunctions, and data loss.snapshot vs backup


For users seeking to back up their virtual machine, Todo Backup Enterprise provides a more reliable and secure alternative as opposed to utilizing a snapshot. It offers various features such as scheduled backups, data encryption, backup to multiple locations, image verification, and the ability to backup various types of content including files, operating systems, disks, and more.


1. How often should I take VM snapshots and backups?
The frequency of snapshots and backups depends on your business needs. For instance, you may take snapshots before making major changes to your system, while backups could be scheduled daily, weekly, or monthly, based on the importance of your data.

2. Can I automate VM snapshots and backups?
Yes, most virtual machine software, including VMware, allows you to schedule automatic snapshots and backups. But remember, excessive snapshots can negatively impact system performance.

3. What is the main difference between a VM snapshot and a backup?
A snapshot is a temporary copy of the system state at a particular point in time, stored on the same system, and used for quick recovery from system issues. A backup, on the other hand, is a complete copy of data stored on a separate system and intended for recovery in case of data loss.

Was This Page Helpful?

Updated by Gap

Gap has been working as an experienced data backup and security engineer at EaseUS for over 10 years, focusing on working with clients to assess needs and implemented procedures and tasks for appropriate backup solutions.

Read full bio

Product Reviews

TrustScore 4.7 | 47 reviews
  • Taking everything into consideration, we can say that EaseUS Todo Backup Home can offer you a little extra sense of security with a set of advanced tools. The interface provides quick adaptation, every process guiding you all the way through so you don't get stuck or further damage your system rather than keeping it safe.

    Read More
  • EaseUS Todo Backup Free lets you create backups of your important files or your entire computer through its streamlined interface. Just choose the backup type you'd like to get started, and let the program do the reset.

    Read More
  • EaseUS includes all the features I expect from backup software like versioning, incremental backups, and scheduling. For more advanced users, EaseUS allows you to install a pre-boot environment onto your hard drive so you can use it to restore files without burning a CD or putting it on an external USB drive.

    Read More


EaseUS Todo Backup

Smart backup tool for your files and entire computer in Windows 10/8/7.

Product Reviews

Install Windows on Multiple Computers at Once? No Problem!

Learn how to install Windows 11/10/7 and special programs/software on a batch of computers. Use 10 minutes to do the 10 hours work without making a single mistake!

Get Free Solution!