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I want to take a backup of my azure VM after provisioning in order to give less-privileged users the ability to do a full restore sometime down the road. However, it appears that you can't do a volume restore of the OS drive while it's running (which makes sense) but also that's there's no way to schedule such a thing or otherwise set it up to run.

Since I can't boot my VM from a recovery CD or anything like that, is there any way for me to do a volume restore on the OS disk of an azure VM using windows server backup? Thanks!

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You can't restore the OS disk of a machine from inside that machine. In the Azure world if you need to restore the machine you either recreate it from the original image, if your happy with a clean machine, or you use one the many backup tools available to backup Azure VM's.

The simplest option would be to use the VM backup service built into Azure its self. This takes snapshots of the VM and allows you to restore them directly to Azure. It uses Azure storage to hold the backups so is relatively cheap. Alternatively there are many third part tools such as Veeam, Veritas etc. who offer Azure backup solutions.

  • My trouble is this: I need to give rights to restore backups to people who should not be allowed to provision machines. So I can't accept any of the solutions that involve restoring backups to new VHDs and provisioning a new VM using those disks, unfortunately. – sirdank May 9 '17 at 13:00
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Windows Server Backup can be used for online backup from inside a virtual machine. It can also backup system state as well as files and folders.

Note that when you use Windows Server Backup, backup files will be located inside of a virtual machine. You may need to move those backup files to an external location using other solutions like Windows Azure Backup.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/how-to-backup-and-restore-a-windows-system-disk-in-a-windows-azure-virtual-machine/

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