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Running custom quiescing scripts inside Windows virtual machine with ESX 3.5 Update 2 and later (1006671)

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This article provides answers to frequently asked questions on running custom quiescing scripts (pre-freeze and post-thaw) inside a Windows virtual machine with ESX 3.5 Update 2 and later.
In ESX/ESXi 3.5 Update 2 and later, the location of custom quiescing scripts has changed as a part of Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) support. 
Custom quiescing scripts are often used by third-party backup modules that integrate with VMware APIs for Data Protection (VADP) and VMware Consolidated Backup (VCB).

Note: VMware Tools must be installed in the guest operating system for this feature to work correctly.


Q. What is the default directory location for custom scripts during quiescing of the Windows virtual machine?

A. This table provides the default directory location of the scripts inside the virtual machine depending on the version of ESX (this also applies to ESXi versions).

Version of ESX Custom quiescing script directory
ESX/ESXi 3.5 Update 1 or earlier
ESX/ESXi 3.5 Update 2 or later
C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\backupScripts.d\
ESX/ESXi 4.x C:\Windows\backupScripts.d\
ESXi 5.0
C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\backupScripts.d\  
ESXi 5.1 or later

  • The drive letter and name of the system directory may vary depending on the version of Windows and how Windows was installed. For example, Windows 2000 is installed by default in the winnt folder. To resolve this issue, create a folder named C:\WINDOWS and move pre-freeze-script.bat and post-thaw-script.bat files to this folder from c:\winnt.
  • Windows XP SP2 virtual machines running on ESX 3.5 Update 2 and later still use the old C:\Windows\<pre-freeze-script.bat> <post-thaw-script.bat> location for the pre-freeze and post-thaw quiescing scripts.

Q. Does VMware Tools automatically create C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\backupScripts.d directory in the virtual machine?

A. The backupScripts.d directory is not created by default when VMware Tools are installed. Users need to manually create the backupScripts.d directory.

Q. In what order do the scripts inside C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\backupScripts.d\  run?

A. On a Windows virtual machine with VMware Tools (ESX 3.5 Update 2 and later and ESX 4.x):

All the scripts at C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\backupScripts.d are invoked in alphabetical order with freeze as the first argument.

All the scripts at C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\backupScripts.d are invoked in descending alphabetical order with thaw or freezeFail as the first argument.

Q. How do I invoke my old quiescing scripts (in C:\Windows\ ) with ESX 3.5 Update 2 and later?

A. You can create a wrapper script under C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Tools\backupScripts.d\
To create a sample wrapper script,  you can create a text file and name it vcb.bat.
echo off
if "%1" == "freeze" goto doFreeze
goto doThaw
call c:\windows\pre-freeze-script.bat
goto EOF
call c:\windows\post-thaw-script.bat
For more information about the workflow of the custom quiescing scripts, see the Virtual Machine Backup Guide for the appropriate VMware product version.
Caution: This folder should only contain executable scripts. Storing any other type of file within this folder may cause VMware Tools to become unstable.

Additional Information

For translated versions of this article, see: 

Update History

01/12/2012 - Updated the Products section 01/22/2013 - Updated the table with the full path to relevant directories that VMware Tools will check for scripts

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