Point-in-Time File Backups

PCQ Bureau
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There is backup and there is back-up software. Books have been written about

it. But, it does not require a PhD in Computer Science to configure, make,

manage or use backups if you use Win 2003. There is a handy feature built into

the OS itself, called VSC (Volume Shadow Copies), that can do this

transparently. You can configure the times when you need Windows to take the

snapshots. The process is very space friendly using file content differences to

store revisions instead of the entire file; and not much hard disk space is used

up as a result if you enable this feature. You can use VSC to not only look at

how the file looked at a particular time in the past, but also to recover files

that were deleted at some point.



Win 2003 Server administrators


Learn to take automated backups of your files and folders without needing any third-party s/w 


volume shadow copies 2003 

This article walks you through setting up and using this feature. Before you

start, make sure that the server's drives you wish to have VSC on should be

formatted with NTFS.

Step 1: Enable VSC

To enable VSC, you need to first enable the 'Volume Shadow Copy' service and
start it from your Settings>Administrative Tools>Services. You can only

enable VSC at the drive level and not the folder level, so right click on the

drive and select Properties. Click on the Shadow Copies tab and then the Enable

button there. You can then click on the Settings button here to set up a

different (but NTFS) volume using the Details button there. Click on the

Schedule button to configure the times at which you want the shadow copies



More the number of copies, the more safety you have. But select the times

carefully as the entire drive is snapshot at this time and this may affect your

file serving performance.

Snapshots can be taken at

preset times and can be repeated at configured intervals

Step 2: Out of order copies

Instead of trusting the VSC to take sufficient copies of your files, you can
manually create your own copies as well on-demand. You can do this on a per

folder/file basis. Simply right click on the file or the containing folder, go

to the Shadow Copies tab again and click on the 'Create Now' button.

You can restore a folder to one from a previous time by clicking on Restore. You can also do this at the volume level

Step 3: Viewing or extracting

When you need to look at a file in a shadow copied drive access the Previous
Versions tab from the Properties window of the folder. Select one of the

date/time combinations and click on View. This pops up the folder contents at

that time. You can directly open and view files out of this folder. To restore a

copy, click on Restore and to copy them elsewhere, click on Copy and select a

folder from the window that pops up.

You can view previous versions in a folder without restoring them from backup. This can be done by clicking on the View button