ESXi Configuration Backup by Cloning the ESXi USB Stick

USB Image Tool

USB Image Tool

Although there are a number of utilities out for doing an ESXi Configuration backup, I try to shoot for the easiest method, and for me, it was just cloning my ESXi USB stick. However, ESXi uses it’s own file system, and you can’t simply copy the files from one USB to another; you need to image them. Enter a nice little free tool called USB Image Tool.

USB Image Tool Overview

USB Image Tool does two things, and it does them well: it creates an image of a USB drive and stores it to disk, and it will take an image of a USB stick and restore it from disk to a USB stick. It’s quick, and in my case, using a 4GB USB drive, it takes about 4 minutes to make or restore the copy. It has very few options, and happens all from a single screen with four tabs.

For me, actually finding a copy of it was the hardest thing, so for convenience, I’ve posted a link to a copy of it on Amazon S3 for anyone that wants it. Download USB Image Tool.

Making an Image of Your ESXi USB Drive

First of all, fire up the USB Image Tool, and you’ll be presented with the home screen. Any USB drives that you have will automatically appear on the left column, or you can plug on in and it will appear automatically. For this particular screen shot, I’ve already plugged in my 4GB ESXi USB Drive:

ESXi Configuration Backup: Initial USB Image Screen

ESXi Configuration Backup: Initial USB Image Screen

Next, I’ll simply click backup, and a file window comes up for me to select a backup location to, and I’ll select my filename. It automatically chooses the name assigned to the volume: ESXi3 in this case and makes the extension .img.

ESXi Configuration Backup: Save USB Image File

ESXi Configuration Backup: Save USB Image File

Once I hit Save, it begins making the image, and gives me a progress bar.

ESXi Configuration Backup: Saving USB Image

ESXi Configuration Backup: Saving USB Image

Restoring Your ESXi Configuration Backup

Restoring the image is just as simple as saving it. You open up the USB Image Tool and you’ll be presented with the home screen. Any USB drives that you have will automatically appear on the left column, or you can plug on in and it will appear automatically. For this particular screen shot, I’ve already plugged in my 4GB ESXi USB Drive:

ESXi Configuration Backup: Initial USB Image Screen

ESXi Configuration Backup: Initial USB Image Screen

Next, I’ll simply click restore, and a file window comes up for me to select the location of my USB image file, and I’ll select my filename.

ESXi Configuration Backup: Confirmation to Restore

ESXi Configuration Backup: Confirmation to Restore

Once I hit Open, it will get a confirmation before overwriting the drive, and then it begins restoring the image, and gives me a progress bar.

  • DaPooch

    That sounds like the GPT (or MBR on older installs) wasn’t copied over with the partitions. I’ve never used that specific tool before. Were there options to include or exclude GPT or MBR when cloning?