The Volume Shadow Copy (VSS) service is a pretty good feature of Windows Vista. Windows XP offered a similar feature in a “Previous Versions” client that needed to be installed by the user. This allowed users to take advantage of the backups that had been deployed. Vista's Shadow copy is on by default for the “system” drive and is “built-in”.
What VSS does is to write a new copy of the file. So, instead of replacing an existing file, VSS creates a new file in available space and points to the original location for previous versions. Shadow copies are created when restore points are created, about once per day.
Here are some instructions if you need to restore a “previous version” of a file:
- Locate the folder that contains the file or folder that was deleted or renamed in the Windows File Explorer.
- Right-click file or folder, then click Restore previous versions.
- Double-click a previous version of the folder that contains the file or folder you want to restore. (For example, if a file was deleted today, choose a version of the folder from yesterday, which should contain the file.)
- In the folder, simply click and drag the file or folder that you want to restore to another location in order to restore it to that location.
Like I said above, the VSS service is turned on by default for the System drive. If, like me, you have other disks in your box you can enable this feature for those disks as well. Follow these steps to enable or disable the VSS service for a drive:
- Open the Control Panel. Click: start button —> Control Panel
- Click System in the control Panel
- In the left hand menu of the System window Click: “System Protection”
- In the new window you will see the options for enabling/disabling Shadow copies.
© 2008, Robert Owen. All rights reserved.