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Easily Recover Files Back to Source VMs with NAKIVO Backup & Replication

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Files or directories can occasionally get corrupted or deleted. Such loss of files could be caused by human error, hardware failure, malicious attacks, etc. If your infrastructure relies on virtual machines (VMs), you can restore the entire VM with all files from a backup, but this procedure can be time-consuming – you likely want to restore your lost files as quickly as possible. What should you do if you only need to recover certain particular files, and not the entire VM? NAKIVO Backup & Replication v7.4 includes a feature that allows you to recover individual files or directories directly from compressed and deduplicated VM backups. You can recover these files directly to the source VM or choose a custom location.

File-Level Recovery as a Type of Granular Recovery

Granular recovery permits image-based recovery of entire VMs as well as individual recovery of particular files or application objects from image-based backups. Granular recovery is a much more versatile and useful approach than the legacy recovery methods, which typically require you to restore the VM fully before you can browse for specific files. With granular recovery, you can save time and storage space when you need to restore files. NAKIVO Backup & Replication v7.4’s new Instant File Recovery to Source feature provides granular recovery for VMware, Hyper-V, and AWS virtualization platforms.

Use Cases

Let’s consider some situations where File Recovery to Source could be used. Suppose you have a VM that is backed up once per day, at 2:00 AM. There are several users who work with the files within the VM.

  • A user has just accidentally deleted a file that was created one week ago. You can restore the needed file by using Instant File Recovery to Source with the VM backup. In this case, you would choose the recovery point that was created yesterday, because the file still existed then.
  • Yesterday, a user edited (and saved) a file that was created a month ago, thus overwriting the older version. However, they made several mistakes when they were writing the changes, and now must revert to the previous version of the document. Using Instant File Recovery to Source, you can recover the file and select the backup recovery point created 2 days ago. This would result in the file being restored to the way it was before the user had made the inappropriate edits.
  • A user notices that the file they had created (and last edited) 2 months ago is lost. The user does not know when the file was deleted. You can check several recovery points for the VM backup to see which ones include the needed file (without restoring them all first). The Grandfather-Father-Son retention policy, which is supported by NAKIVO Backup & Replication, is extremely useful for these situations, because several recent backups are saved as well as some earlier versions from weeks or months ago. Once you have found the most recent backup that contains the missing file, you can restore the file directly to the user’s VM.
  • A virus affected about one hundred files inside the VM 3 days ago (leaving the rest intact). The virus was found and removed almost immediately, but the affected files remain corrupted. The user continued their work with the VM for 2 days after deleting the virus, making important changes to the unaffected files. The user now needs to access the files corrupted by the virus. However, the user does not want to recover the entire VM from the backup created 4 days ago. While that would provide a healthy version of the affected files, their work over the past 2 days would be lost. You can use Instant File Recovery to Source: select the backup recovery point created 4 days ago and recover the needed files by selecting the VM with which the user works as the target server.

File Recovery to Source in NAKIVO Backup & Replication

Among the most important capabilities of File Recovery to Source are:

  • Linux and Windows support. Files can be recovered to source VMs with Linux or Windows operating systems installed. NTFS, FAT32, EXT3, EXT4, and XFS file systems are supported. You can also use Linux LVM partitions (Logical Volume Management) and Windows dynamic disks. When the source VM is selected as the target for file recovery, you need to enter the credentials for the source VM.
  • Preservation of file permissions. When you recover files from a VM backup to the source VM, the Instant File Recovery feature keeps the file permission settings from the original file. This eliminates the need for manual adjustments to ensure that the applications that use those files function properly after the file recovery.
  • Ease of use. When you launch Instant File Recovery, the recovery point you selected is mounted to the VM (or instance, in the case of EC2) from the backup. Files can be recovered to any VM you choose. You can also download recovered items as a zip archive using your browser. SSL/TLS-based endpoint verification is used between endpoints to ensure files are transferred securely. The VM backup is not modified.

How to Use File Recovery to Source

Let’s now walk through how to recover files with this feature. File recovery in v7.4 was enhanced compared to the previous versions. First, you need to have a backup (or a backup copy) stored in a backup repository. Access the web interface of your NAKIVO Backup & Replication instance, and on the home page click Recover > Individual files.

Recovery of individual files with the File Recovery to Source feature of NAKIVO Backup & Replication

The File Recovery Wizard is launched.

1. Select a backup or a backup copy in the left pane, and select your desired recovery point in the right pane. Click Next.

Selecting a VM backup from which to restore individual files with NAKIVO Backup & Replication’s File Recovery Wizard

2. Now, you can select one of the two available recovery methods:

  • Download via browser or send by email
  • Recover to a server (virtual machine)

If you opt for the latter method, you must enter the username and password of a guest OS system account with sufficient permissions to access the files. Click the Test Connection button, then if everything is okay, click Next.

Selecting the recovery method for individual file restoration from a VM backup with NAKIVO Backup & Replication - recovery to a server

If you are using the former method, you can select which Transporter to use.

Selecting the recovery method for individual file restoration from a VM backup with NAKIVO Backup & Replication - download or email

3. At the next step, you can browse through the virtual disks, volumes, directories, and files located on the disks. Select the objects you need using the appropriate checkboxes. Click Next.

Selecting the files to be recovered from the VM backup with NAKIVO Backup & Replication’s Recovery to Source feature

4. Select the recovery options.

For the “recovery to server” method, the options are:

  • Recovery type:
    • Recover to the original location (source)
    • Recover to a custom location
  • Overwrite behavior (what to do if an item with the same name already exists at the destination selected):
    • Rename the recovered item
    • Skip recovery of the item
    • Overwrite the original item

Selecting the recovery options for restoring individual files to a VM with NAKIVO Backup & Replication’s Recovery to Source feature

If you are using the “download or send” method, then specify which recovery type you want:

  • Download via browser
  • Forward via email

If you want to send the recovered files via email, you must have your email settings configured for the instance of NAKIVO Backup & Replication. (Go to Configuration > Email settings for this configuration.)

Note: The maximum permitted size of a file sent as an attachment might be limited by your email server.

Click Recover when you are ready to recover the files.

Selecting download or email options for recovery of individual files with NAKIVO Backup & Replication’s File Recovery to Source feature

5. At this final step, wait while your files are recovered. On the screenshot below, you can see that the files are being downloaded via browser in a zipped archive.

By clicking Close, you proceed to the home page dashboard. Now you know how to use the Instant File Recovery feature. Let’s recap and list the advantages this feature offers.

Advantages of Using File Recovery to Source

  • Simplicity. You can easily recover corrupted or accidentally deleted files. You can recover the lost files from backups with only a few clicks in the user-friendly web interface of NAKIVO Backup & Replication.
  • Efficiency. There is no need to waste time recovering the entire VM before copying the files you need. Instant File Recovery to Source lets you select individual files directly from a compressed and deduplicated backup, recovering them just in a few minutes.
  • Convenience. Your chosen files can be recovered to any location you want, including the source VM that is used in the production environment or any other VM. You can also download the recovered files with your browser or send them by email.


NAKIVO Backup & Replication is a high-performance VM backup solution for VMware, Hyper-V, and AWS EC2 virtual environments. The new features included in version 7.4, including Instant File Recovery to Source, make the product even more flexible and versatile. There is no longer any need to recover an entire VM from a backup when particular files are lost. With Instant File Recovery to Source, the files can be recovered from Linux-based or Windows-based VMs quickly and easily, in a matter of minutes.

Try File Recovery to Source and the other new features in your own virtual environment. Download the full-featured free trial version of NAKIVO Backup & Replication and explore all the benefits of the new functionality.

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Easily Recover Files Back to Source VMs with NAKIVO Backup & Replication
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