Back up Azure file shares

This article explains how to use the Azure portal to back up Azure file shares.

In this article, you'll learn how to:

  • Create a Recovery Services vault.
  • Discover file shares and configure backups.
  • Run an on-demand backup job to create a restore point.


Create a Recovery Services vault

A Recovery Services vault is a management entity that stores recovery points created over time and provides an interface to perform backup related operations. These include taking on-demand backups, performing restores, and creating backup policies.

To create a Recovery Services vault, follow these steps.

  1. Sign in to your subscription in the Azure portal.

  2. On the left menu, select All services.

    Select All services

  3. In the All services dialog box, enter Recovery Services. The list of resources filters according to your input. In the list of resources, select Recovery Services vaults.

    Enter and choose Recovery Services vaults

    The list of Recovery Services vaults in the subscription appears.

  4. On the Recovery Services vaults dashboard, select Add.

    Add a Recovery Services vault

    The Recovery Services vault dialog box opens. Provide values for the Name, Subscription, Resource group, and Location.

    Configure the Recovery Services vault

    • Name: Enter a friendly name to identify the vault. The name must be unique to the Azure subscription. Specify a name that has at least 2 but not more than 50 characters. The name must start with a letter and consist only of letters, numbers, and hyphens.

    • Subscription: Choose the subscription to use. If you're a member of only one subscription, you'll see that name. If you're not sure which subscription to use, use the default (suggested) subscription. There are multiple choices only if your work or school account is associated with more than one Azure subscription.

    • Resource group: Use an existing resource group or create a new one. To see the list of available resource groups in your subscription, select Use existing, and then select a resource from the drop-down list. To create a new resource group, select Create new and enter the name. For more information about resource groups, see Azure Resource Manager overview.

    • Location: Select the geographic region for the vault. To create a vault to protect any data source, the vault must be in the same region as the data source.


      If you're not sure of the location of your data source, close the dialog box. Go to the list of your resources in the portal. If you have data sources in multiple regions, create a Recovery Services vault for each region. Create the vault in the first location before you create the vault for another location. There's no need to specify storage accounts to store the backup data. The Recovery Services vault and Azure Backup handle that automatically.

  5. When you're ready to create the Recovery Services vault, select Create.

    Create the Recovery Services vault

    It can take a while to create the Recovery Services vault. Monitor the status notifications in the Notifications area at the upper-right corner of the portal. After your vault is created, it's visible in the list of Recovery Services vaults. If you don't see your vault, select Refresh.

    Refresh the list of backup vaults


We highly recommend you review the default settings for Storage Replication type and Security settings before configuring backups in the vault. For more information, see the Set Storage redundancy section.

Discover file shares and configure backup

  1. In the Azure portal, open the Recovery Services vault you want to use for configuring backup for the file share.

  2. In the Recovery Services vault pane, select the +Backup from the menu on the top.

    Recovery Services vault

    1. In the Backup Goal pane, set Where is your workload running? to Azure by selecting the Azure option from the drop-down list.

      Choose Azure as workload

    2. In What do you want to back up?, select Azure File Share from the drop-down list.

      Select Azure FileShare

    3. Select Backup to register the Azure file share extension in the vault.

      Select Backup to associate the Azure file share with vault

  3. After you select Backup, the Backup pane opens. To select the storage account hosting the file share that you want to protect, click the Select link text below the Storage Account textbox.

    Choose the Select link

  4. The Select Storage Account Pane opens on the right, listing a set of discovered supported storage accounts. They're either associated with this vault or present in the same region as the vault, but not yet associated to any Recovery Services vault.

  5. From the list of discovered storage accounts, select an account, and select OK.

    Select from the discovered storage accounts

  6. The next step is to select the file shares you want to back up. Click the Add button in the FileShares to Backup section.

    Select the file shares to back up

  7. The Select File Shares context pane opens on the right. Azure searches the storage account for file shares that can be backed up. If you recently added your file shares and don't see them in the list, allow some time for the file shares to appear.

  8. From the Select File Shares list, select one or more of the file shares you want to back up. Select OK.

    Select the file shares

  9. To choose a backup policy for your file share, you have three options:

    • Choose the default policy.
      This option allows you to enable daily backup that will be retained for 30 days. If you don’t have an existing backup policy in the vault, the backup pane opens with the default policy settings. If you want to choose the default settings, you can directly click Enable backup.

    • Create a new policy

      1. To create a new backup policy for your file share, click the link text below the drop-down list in the Backup Policy section.

        Create new policy

      2. The Backup Policy context pane opens on the right. Specify a policy name in the text box and choose the retention period according to your requirement. Only the daily retention option is enabled by default. If you want to have weekly, monthly, or yearly retention, select the corresponding checkbox and provide the desired retention value.

      3. After specifying the retention values and a valid policy name, click OK.

        Give policy name and retention values

    • Choose one of the existing backup policies

    To choose one of the existing backup policies for configuring protection, select the desired policy from the Backup policy drop-down list.

    Choose existing policy

  10. Click Enable Backup to start protecting the file share.

    Choose enable backup

After you set a backup policy, a snapshot of the file shares is taken at the scheduled time. The recovery point is also retained for the chosen period.


Azure Backup now supports policies with daily/weekly/monthly/yearly retention for Azure file share backup.

Create an on-demand backup

Occasionally, you might want to generate a backup snapshot, or recovery point, outside of the times scheduled in the backup policy. A common reason to generate an on-demand backup is right after you've configured the backup policy. Based on the schedule in the backup policy, it might be hours or days until a snapshot is taken. To protect your data until the backup policy engages, initiate an on-demand backup. Creating an on-demand backup is often required before you make planned changes to your file shares.

Create a backup job on demand

  1. Open the Recovery Services vault you used to back up your file share. On the Overview pane, select Backup items under the Protected items section.

    Select Backup items

  2. After you select Backup items, a new pane that lists all Backup Management Types appears next to the Overview pane.

    List of Backup Management Types

  3. From the Backup Management Type list, select Azure Storage (Azure Files). You'll see a list of all the file shares and the corresponding storage accounts backed up by using this vault.

    Azure Storage (Azure Files) backup items

  4. From the list of Azure file shares, select the file share you want. The Backup Item details appear. On the Backup Item menu, select Backup now. Because this backup job is on demand, there's no retention policy associated with the recovery point.

    Select Backup now

  5. The Backup Now pane opens. Specify the last day you want to retain the recovery point. You can have a maximum retention of 10 years for an on-demand backup.

    Choose retention date

  6. Select OK to confirm the on-demand backup job that runs.

  7. Monitor the portal notifications to keep a track of backup job run completion. You can monitor the job progress in the vault dashboard. Select Backup Jobs > In progress.


Azure Backup locks the storage account when you configure protection for any file share in the corresponding account. This provides protection against accidental deletion of a storage account with backed up file shares.

Best practices

  • Don't delete snapshots created by Azure Backup. Deleting snapshots can result in loss of recovery points and/or restore failures.

  • Don't remove the lock taken on the storage account by Azure Backup. If you delete the lock, your storage account will be prone to accidental deletion and if it's deleted, you will lose your snapshots or backups.

Next steps

Learn how to: