How to Back Up VMware VM to External Hard Drive

Backing up your VMware virtual machine to an external hard drive is a crucial measure for preventing data loss due to accidental operations. This article will provide you with a detailed guide on how to achieve this, and recommend a reliable tool, EaseUS Todo Backup, to help you complete the task.

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Updated by Gap on Dec 19, 2023

Virtual machines have become increasingly popular in today's digital age, providing an efficient way for managing and distributing data. However, with the growing dependence on virtual machines, the necessity for a dependable backup solution has never been more crucial. One of the easiest methods for executing these backups is using an external hard drive. This article will guide you through two straightforward methods for backing up your VMware virtual machine to an external hard drive and recommend a trustworthy backup tool, EaseUS Todo Backup to do the process.

Start a live chat with an EaseUS Expert to tailor an enterprise backup solution specific to your requirements. We are here to assist you with the following as well:

  • Commence a free trial
  • Obtain a quotation
  • Arrange a free demonstration

Before starting the backup procedure, please ensure that you have selected an external hard drive and connected it to your computer. Additionally, it's crucial to ensure that the drive has sufficient capacity to store your virtual machine data and that it's being correctly identified by your computer.

Backup with EaseUS Todo Backup

1. Firstly, click on New Task on the left-hand side to start creating a backup task. 

create a backup task with easeus

2. Secondly, choose the particular data that you want to protect in order to avoid any future loss of data. For example, we choose System Backup here to back up the whole VM. Additionally, you can opt to back up your disks, files, emails, etc., based on your personal preference. 

backup the specific data you want

3. Thirdly, select a destination for the backup data by clicking on Browse...Here, click Computer to locate the storage path on the external disk you’ve prepared. Once you’ve done this, please click OK.

set the external disk as the destination

After configuring your backup task, click Proceed to start the backup process for your VMware virtual machine. The backup data will then be securely saved onto your external disk.

EaseUS Todo Backup also offers advanced settings for personalized use. You can Schedule regular backups on a one-time, daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and choose from full, incremental, or differential backup types. The Backup Cleanup feature helps optimize storage space, like by deleting old backups automatically. Additional customization features including encryption, compression, and email notifications can be found in the Backup options.

Backup with VMware Virtual Machine Build-in Clone Function

Since the built-in snapshot function on your virtual machine only captures a snapshot of your computer status without choosing a storage path, the clone feature there can be utilized for data backup.

1. First, open your VMware virtual machine, right-click on the system you want to back up, and select "Manage" > "Clone".

use vm virtual machine clone function

2. Briefly review the Clone Virtual Machine Wizard in the pop-up window, then click Next.

clone virtual machine wizard

3. On the clone source page, select the default option The current state in the virtual machine, and then click Next to continue.

choose the current state in the virtual machine

4. Select Create a full clone on the clone type selection page, and then click Next to proceed.

create a full clone with clone virtual machine wizard

5. Next, you can customize the name of this backup virtual machine for future reference, and select the external disk you prepared as the destination. Then, click Finish to start executing the clone backup task.

backup vm to an external disk with clone virtual machine wizard


Backing up your VMware virtual machine to an external disk safeguards the security and accessibility of your data, reducing the risk of data loss. EaseUS Todo Backup provides a simpler and more comprehensive solution compared to traditional data backup methods. With its extensive features and functions, EaseUS Todo Backup is an optimal choice for both business and personal users.

  Free Download

For All Windows PCs and Servers

How to Back Up VMware VM to External Hard Drive FAQs

1. How do I copy a VMware virtual machine to another computer?
The process involves system transfer, and we highly recommend using a reliable third-party tool, such as EaseUS Todo Backup, to facilitate this. The System Transfer function within this tool can efficiently handle this task.

2. Does a VM have its own storage?
Yes, a virtual machine does have its own storage. The storage is allocated from the physical storage available on the host machine. When you create a VM, you specify a certain amount of storage for it. This storage is typically represented as a file or set of files on the host computer's hard disk. Inside the VM, this storage appears as if it were a hard drive attached to the computer.

3. Is the VM snapshot a full backup?
No, a VM snapshot is not a full backup. A snapshot is a point-in-time copy of a VM that captures the state and data of a running virtual machine at a specific moment. However, it does not include all the data and does not protect against disk failures or data corruption. Snapshots are primarily used for short-term solutions such as testing and software updates. For full data protection and recovery, a complete backup is necessary.

4. Can I put a virtual machine on a USB?
Yes, it is possible, but you will likely have some performance loss. The VM should run okay as long as you don't have operations that require a lot of file writing. Also, the smaller the VM, the better.

Start a live chat with an EaseUS Expert to tailor an enterprise backup solution specific to your requirements. We are here to assist you with the following as well:

  • Commence a free trial
  • Obtain a quotation
  • Arrange a free demonstration


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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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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