What You Need to Know About Hyper-V Checkpoints

Virtualization has significantly changed the way businesses conduct their operations and provide services to customers. One of the most significant virtualization technologies is snapshots. This technology has transformed the way data is protected in virtual environments. In this blog post, we will cover the snapshot technology used in Hyper-V and describe how you can manage and configure Hyper-V checkpoints in your virtual environment.

What Is a Hyper-V Checkpoint?

It is worth noting that the term ‘snapshots’ is currently used only in reference to Hyper-V snapshots created on older Windows operating systems, which were introduced prior to Windows 10.

Types of Hyper-V Checkpoints

  • Standard Checkpoints (formerly known as Hyper-V snapshots) take a snapshot of the VM and its memory state, which allows you to capture the VM state at a particular point in time. A standard snapshot doesn’t enable application consistency, which may result in incomplete data transactions. This is crucial for VMs running Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, or any other application/database which transfers data between different nodes. Also, note that this snapshot type shouldn’t be regarded as a full backup.
  • Production Checkpoints can create a data-consistent backup with the help of Volume Shadow Copy Service (for VMs running on Windows) or File System Freeze (for VMs running on Linux). Thus, production checkpoints are created in accordance with the backup technology inside the guest OS. When creating a production checkpoint, no snapshot of the VM memory state is taken. Note that production checkpoints are enabled by default. However, if you want to change the checkpoint type, you can use either Hyper-V Manager or PowerShell.

Managing Hyper-V Checkpoints

How to change the checkpoint type

Using Hyper-V Manager

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager.
  2. Right-click on a VM that you want to configure and select Settings.
  3. Find the Management section and select Checkpoints.
  4. Choose the checkpoint type. If you have selected Production checkpoints, click the checkbox below in case your guest VM doesn’t support creation of production checkpoints. This allows you to capture checkpoints with full-application state.

If you have selected Standard checkpoints, you can enable the feature of Automatic checkpoints, which automatically takes checkpoints of VMs when they’re started and deletes them as soon as they are stopped.

Using PowerShell

To change the checkpoint type, run the following commands in PowerShell:

  • To enable the Standard Checkpoint type, insert: Set-VM -Name <vmname> -CheckpointType Standard.
  • To enable the Production Checkpoint type, insert: Set-VM -Name <vmname> -CheckpointType Production. In case a production checkpoint fails, a standard checkpoint will be taken.
  • If you want to ensure that only production checkpoints are created, use the following command: Set-VM -Name <vmname> -CheckpointType ProductionOnly.

How to create checkpoints

Using Hyper-V Manager

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager.
  2. Select the VM for which the checkpoint will be created.
  3. Right-click the name of the VM, and then click the Checkpoint.

4. The checkpoint is created and can be accessed in the Checkpoints section below.

Using PowerShell

Run the following command to create Hyper-V checkpoints: Checkpoint-VM -Name <VMName>. After the checkpoint has been created, you can see a full list of VM checkpoints by using the command: Get-VMCheckpoint -VMName <VMName>.

How to revert a VM to a previous state using checkpoints

Using Hyper-V Manager

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager.
  2. Select the VM which you want to revert.
  3. In the Checkpoints section, you will see the list of checkpoints created for that VM. Right-click the checkpoint that you want to use and click Apply.

4. After that, a dialog box including the following options will appear:

  • Create Checkpoint and Apply: Before the chosen checkpoint is applied, a new checkpoint of the VM is created. This way the VM is protected, even if this operation fails.
  • Apply: Only the chosen checkpoint is applied. Note that this action cannot be undone.
  • Cancel: The dialog box will be closed without applying any changes.

Using PowerShell

To apply the checkpoint via the PowerShell command-line interface (CLI), run the following command: Restore-VMCheckpoint -Name <checkpoint name> -VMName <VMName> -Confirm:$false.

How to delete checkpoints

To delete checkpoints using Hyper-V Manager, do the following:

  1. After opening Hyper-V Manager, select the required VM.
  2. In the Checkpoints section below, right-click the checkpoint that you want to delete. The drop-down menu will appear with a number of options. Click Delete Checkpoint.

If you want to delete a checkpoint tree containing the primary checkpoint and all subsequent checkpoints, right-click the earliest checkpoint that you want to delete and click Delete Checkpoint Subtree.

How to enable or disable checkpoints

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager, right-click the name of the needed VM, and click Settings.
  2. In the Management section, find the Checkpoints option and select it.
  3. In the right pane, you will see the Enable Checkpoints checkbox. You can either select or deselect it in order to enable or disable checkpoints.

4. Click Apply.

How to set up a checkpoint location

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager, right-click the name of the required VM, and click Settings.
  2. In the Management section, find the Checkpoints option and select it.
  3. In the right pane, find the Checkpoint File Location section and click Browse, or manually enter the path to the folder where the checkpoint files will be stored.

4. Click Apply.

How to rename checkpoints

Using Hyper-V Manager

  1. Open Hyper-V Manager and select the required VM.
  2. Right-click the needed checkpoint and select the Rename option, which appears in the drop-down menu.

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