Disk Image Walkthrough


This guide details using the Disk Image backup feature within Zmanda Pro. Disk Image allows you to create a complete backup of your system's disks and partitions, enabling full system restoration in case of data loss.

Backup using Disk Image

Using the Disk Image backup type, create a Protected Item.

  • To initiate a Disk Image backup, create a Protected Item within Zmanda Pro.

  • Note: Using Disk Image incurs additional charges and requires a compatible operating system (Windows 7 or later, Windows Server 2008 R2 or later).

Select partitions for backup

  • Choose the specific partitions or drives to include in the backup. It's possible to select individual partitions or opt for "all drives" and then exclude specific disks or partitions.

  • Note: Changes to the partition structure of a drive will be recognized differently in Zmanda Pro. If a selected drive undergoes partition structure changes, Zmanda Pro will prompt for reselection.

Include unused disk sectors for forensic data recovery: Optionally, include unused disk sectors in the backup to facilitate forensic data recovery. Enabling this option extends the backup time but allows for the recovery of non-indexed and marked-as-deleted files in the free space.

Restore Disk Image protected items

Restore options

Zmanda Pro offers various restore options:

  • Physical Device Restoration: Restore backed-up disks/partitions directly onto physical disks/partitions without requiring temporary storage space.

  • Virtual Disk File Restoration: Restore backups as virtual disk files (.vmdk format). Individual files can be extracted from these restored files. Learn more.

Restore to physical device(s)

  • The target disk or partition must be unmounted (not in use) for restoration onto physical hardware. Zmanda Pro might automatically unmount it within the booted OS if no programs are accessing it (applicable to non-boot drives).

  • To restore the boot drive, reboot your PC into a recovery environment first.

  • When restoring a smaller partition to a larger one, Zmanda Pro will automatically expand the restored file system to fill the target partition. Conversely, restoring a larger backup to a smaller partition is not supported. The partition needs to be shrunk beforehand using the OS's partition manager.

Restoring from the Windows Boot Environment

  1. Select the disk or partition to restore from the left-hand pane.

  2. Choose the target disk or partition for writing data in the right-hand pane.

  3. Click "Add to restore queue."

  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for other disks and partitions as needed.

  5. Initiate the restore job by clicking "Restore."

Utilize the "Edit" function to repartition local drives using Windows Disk Management. The "Refresh" function renews the view of local disks and partitions available for restore after editing.

Restoring from the Linux Boot Environment

Here's how to restore an entire disk without using temporary storage:

  1. Restore only the "disk.vmdk" file (excluding data extents). Open it in a text editor to determine partition sizes.

  2. Recreate partitions with the exact target sizes.

  3. Restore individual partitions without requiring a local spool disk using the "Program Output" option. Select the specific partition file for restoration (e.g., "dd of=/dev/sdx1 bs=8M").

Alternative ways to recover from a Linux boot environment.

Restore as virtual disk files

Restored Disk Image files are stored in the .vmdk format. These files include:

  • A single plain text file (labeled "disk.vmdk" by default) containing metadata about the entire drive.

  • For the disk extent of each partition, create separate raw image files.

Even if only a portion of the partitions were selected for backup, the restored disk image will appear to have the full disk size due to zero extents representing unselected partitions within the .vmdk descriptor file. These zero extents are compressed within the storage vault.

Restored .vmdk disk images can be used for various purposes:

Granular restore

This feature allows browsing the file system within a .vmdk disk image and restoring specific files or folders without downloading the entire image beforehand. Currently, it supports the NTFS file system only.

VMware virtual disk

Zmanda Pro now allows restoring Disk Image backups directly as VMware-compatible virtual disks (.vmdk format). These restored disks can be imported and used within VMware environments without requiring conversion.

For complete compatibility, ensure you back up all disks and partitions associated with the system you wish to restore as a virtual machine. This ensures the restored virtual machine has the identical disk structure as the original system.

Create USB Recovery Media

Zmanda Pro desktop application allows creating bootable USB recovery media. This enables booting your PC from the USB device, logging in with your Zmanda Pro user credentials, and performing a complete system restore from your backups onto the connected PC's drives. This functionality facilitates bare-metal restorations.

Follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Zmanda Pro desktop app.

  2. Navigate to Settings and access the USB Recovery Media wizard.

  3. Select preferred options such as WinRE, WinRE ISO, or Windows To Go based on recovery needs.

    • WinRE: Creates minimal recovery media based on the Windows Recovery Environment.

    • WinRE ISO: Creates a minimal bootable ISO file based on the Windows Recovery Environment.

    • Windows To Go: Creates a full Windows boot environment on the USB drive.

Other Boot Environments

While Zmanda Pro offers dedicated creation tools for Windows Recovery Environments, alternative methods exist for creating bootable recovery media:

  • Creating a Linux bootable USB drive.

  • Employing recovery media provided by your PC manufacturer (e.g., Lenovo, Dell, HP).

In these instances, you'll need to launch Zmanda Pro application manually after booting into the chosen recovery environment.

Amazon Web Service AWS

Creating a Virtual Machine in the AWS cloud from Zmanda Pro Disk Image Backup

This section outlines the steps for creating a virtual machine in the Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud platform using Zmanda Pro Disk Image backup.


  • An AWS account with API access keys

  • Access to EC2 and S3 using your API access keys

  • A properly configured AWS EC2 environment


  1. Perform a restore in Zmanda Pro to generate the .vmdk files.

Note: The restored files will be the same size as the original disk. Ensure sufficient storage space exists in your chosen restore location.

  1. Concatenate the restored files (excluding the 1 KB descriptor file) to create a single .vmdk file representing the entire disk.

  2. Upload the .vmdk file to your designated AWS folder using the AWS S3 command-line tool.

  3. Create a local file.json file containing the import configuration details.

  4. Execute the AWS import-image command with the file.json file as a parameter to initiate the image import process.

  5. Note the ImportTaskId returned by the command.

  6. Use the describe-import-image-tasks command to monitor the import progress.

  7. Once the import is complete (indicated by a "Status": "completed" response), note down the generated AMI ID.

  8. Access the AWS Management Console and navigate to the EC2 service.

  9. Locate the AMI with the previously noted ID and launch a new virtual machine instance using this AMI.

  10. Configure and connect to the launched virtual machine instance using Remote Desktop.


Creating a Virtual Machine in the Azure cloud from Zmanda Pro Disk Image Backup

This section details the process of creating a virtual machine in Microsoft Azure using Zmanda Pro Disk Image backup.



  1. Perform a restore in Zmanda Pro to generate the .vmdk files.

  2. Note: The restored files will be the same size as the original disk. Ensure sufficient storage space exists in your chosen restore location.

  3. Convert the .vmdk files to the Azure-compatible VHD format using a utility like QEMU.

  4. Resize the VHD file size to a multiple of megabytes if necessary.

  5. Create an empty managed disk on Azure using the az disk create command and specifying the appropriate size parameter.

  6. Grant write access to the managed disk


Creating a VirtualBox Virtual Machine from Zmanda Pro Disk Image Backup

This section guides you through utilizing a Zmanda Pro Disk Image backup to create a virtual machine within VirtualBox.

Prerequisites: VirtualBox software (version 6.x recommended if using MS Hyper-V concurrently, otherwise earlier versions work).


  1. Perform a Restore in Zmanda Pro: Initiate a restore of your desired system's disk image using Zmanda Pro.

  2. Note on Storage Space: The restored disk files will possess the same size as the original disk. Ensure your designated restore location has sufficient storage capacity to accommodate these files.

  3. VirtualBox and Disk Files: After the restore is complete, you'll have a set of .vmdk files representing the backed-up disks.

Creating the Virtual Machine in VirtualBox:

  1. Launch VirtualBox: Open the VirtualBox application on your system.

  2. Create a New Virtual Machine: Click the "New" button on the VirtualBox main screen to initiate the creation of a new virtual machine.

  3. Allocate Resources: Allocate RAM and virtual hard disk space for the virtual machine based on your system's capabilities and the intended use of the virtual machine.

  4. Adding the Hard Disk:

    • Open the Settings menu of the newly created virtual machine (you can usually right-click and select "Settings").

    • Navigate to the "Storage" section.

    • Select the "SATA Controller."

    • Click on "Add Hard Disk."

    • Choose the option to "Choose existing disk" and select the 1 KB descriptor file (labeled "disk.vmdk" by default) from the restored disk image files.

Finalizing and Starting the Virtual Machine:

  1. Configure Additional Settings: After adding the hard disk, you can finalize the configuration of the virtual machine by specifying CPU, RAM, and other desired settings within the VirtualBox settings interface.

  2. Start the Virtual Machine: Once satisfied with the configuration, click the "Start" button on the VirtualBox main screen to initiate the virtual machine.

By following these steps, you'll have successfully created a virtual machine within VirtualBox leveraging your Zmanda Pro Disk Image backup.

Last updated