Suspending a VM Before Backup in VMware Workstation

Instead of a VMware live backup you could also suspend VMs before backing them up and start them as soon as the backup completes.

In BackupChain‘s Options tab use the External Utilities section as shown below:



The above example uses the VMRUN.EXE utility that ships with VMware Workstation (also VMware Server 2.0).

We use the suspend command and then a start command when the backup finishes.

However, there is something strange about VMware Workstation when the start command is issued. If it’s done from another user session (BackupChain backups run as local system user) VMware times out and reports “Error: There was an error in communication”.

In order to get around this issue, we use psexec ( in a batch file (startvm.bat referenced in above screenshot) as follows:

cd "e:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation" 
z:\downloads\pstools\psexec -accepteula -h -i 1 "e:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation\vmrun.exe" start "D:\VMware Workstation VMs\Windows 7 x64\Windows 7 x64.vmx"


The above batch file assumes VMware Workstation is running in session 1. You’ll need to check this is indeed the case in your particular installation.