Data Centers

Recover lost Windows Server 2003 files with Volume Shadow Copy

Windows Server 2003's Volume Shadow Copy tool eliminates the need to refer to old backup media to locate an overwritten or deleted file. It also allows you to create snapshots of server volumes and store them on disk at predetermined times throughout the day, enhancing backup mechanisms. Here's how to get back lost files in Windows Server 2003 with Volume Shadow Copy.

Windows Server 2003's Volume Shadow Copy tool eliminates the need to refer to old backup media to locate an overwritten or deleted file. Volume Shadow Copy allows you to create snapshots of server volumes and store them on disc at predetermined times throughout the day. This doesn't take away from the requirement of removable backup media or offsite storage — it enhances it.

Shadow copies work on a per volume basis, meaning that you can enable them for whole volumes only and not just individual shares. Once enabled, they allow an administrator or an end user to retrieve copies of their files saved at predefined times throughout the day, reducing the reliance on backups for individual file recovery.

To configure Volume Shadow Copy, follow these steps:

1. Open the Disk Management snap-in.

2. Right-click the disk you wish to enable shadow copies on.

3. Select Properties from the Context menu.

4. Choose the Shadow Copies tab.

5. In the Select A Volume Area of the Shadow Copies tab on the Properties dialog box, highlight the volume you wish to enable the service on.

6. Click the Settings button to set the times and days of the week you want shadow copies made.

Note: If you don't set any preferences, the default schedule will be 7:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M. on weekdays. (Time zone settings would be the same as those configured on the server, so you don't need to specify them.)

You can also set the path where the shadow copies should be stored in the Settings pane. To do so, continue with these steps:

7. Click OK in the Settings dialog box to return to the Main Property dialog box.

8. To create a starting snapshot, click the Create New button. This enables Volume Shadow Copy and sets the schedule.

9. Click OK to close the Properties window.

Using Volume Shadow Copy can reduce the amount of restores that you perform for single file restoration, while still providing more frequent access to overwritten files. Since any user with access to a folder can, by default, view its previous versions, the use of shadow copies can even help reduce the number of calls the help desk receives about missing files.

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About

Derek Schauland has been tinkering with Windows systems since 1997. He has supported Windows NT 4, worked phone support for an ISP, and is currently the IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.

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