How to take a Snapshot of a disk in Microsoft Azure Cloud

An Azure Snapshot is a read-only copy of the existing disk in the Microsoft Azure Cloud. We can create a snapshot of the OS or Data disk. This snapshot can be used as a backup. The snapshot can also be used to create a Virtual Machine. To create a Virtual Machine using a snapshot, it is better to shut down the VM before taking its snapshot.

We can create a full snapshot or an incremental snapshot.

  • Full Snapshot:
    It makes a complete read-only copy of the selected disk.
  • Incremental Snapshot: 
    It saves on storage costs by making a partial copy based on the difference between the last snapshot. This does not make the complete copy of the existing disk each time

In this article, we will create a snapshot of the disk of the existing Virtual Machine.


  1. Azure Account (Create if you don’t have one). 
  2. Azure Virtual Machine

What will we do?

  1. Login to Azure.
  2. Create a Snapshot of the existing Virtual Machine

Login to Azure

Click here to go Azure portal and click on Sign in.

Azure Login

Use your credentials to log in to the account.


You will see the main page as follows once you successfully login to your account. Click on 3 lines near "Microsoft Azure" in the upper left-hand corner of the Azure portal to show the portal menu.

Microsoft Azure Dashboard

Create a snapshot of the existing Virtual Machine

Click on "All services" in the left panel.

Create a snapshot of the existing Virtual Machine

You will see a screen with all the services, click on Compute - > Virtual Machine.

Compute - > Virtual Machine

You will see the list of existing Virtual Machines. Click on the Virtual Machine.

list of existing Virtual Machines

Click on Disk on the left panel and then click on OS Disk.

OS Disk

You will see the screen as follows when you open the Disk.

On this screen click on "Create Snapshot".

Create Snapshot

Select the resource group, give a Name to the snapshot and click on "Next: Encryption".

Encryption settings

Proceed with the default configuration which uses Platform managed key to do data encryption. Click on "Next: Tags"

Tag snapshot

Add a tag "environment: test" and click on "Review + create".

Review settings and create snapshot

If you get a message "Validation passed", click on "Create".

Validation passed

After some time, depending on the size of the disk, you will see a message as "Your deployment is ready". Click on "Go to resources" to check if the snapshot is there.

Deployment is ready

You can see that the snapshot is there with the name we specified.

Snapshot details


In this article, we saw the steps to create a snapshot of the existing disk which can be used as a backup or to create a Virtual Machine.

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