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Shadow Copies


pslates
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Just today I am learning about shadow copies and from what I can see I love it. I am certainly glad it is enabled by default. I have been using WHS 2011 for a few weeks now and I was getting ready to to a add a backup drive to take off site and apparently in the process, long story short, of 2011 being so new I got confused what drive I was working with and formatted a drive and lost data. I luckily had a backup but in the process was reminded of shadow copies and I am in the process of what seems to be restoring my data from a shadow copy and it seems to be doing exactly what I needed for my learning mistake.

 

This has me wondering where are the shadow copies actually stored. I get the impression they are stored similar to whs client backups where each day only changes are added somehow to a database. I happen to be restoring a folder that was rarely changed so everything is looking good. I this a feature of Windows Server these days that is what makes it a part of whs.

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Data isn't usually erased when you delete something. So it doesn't overwrite the older data until the hold on it expires.

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The "expiration date" on Shadow Copies is directly dependent upon the amount of disk space allocated to the data. A large partition and small data amounts to a ton of time for your shadow copies and the opposite is true too. A small partition and lots of data could mean only hours or days for the life of the Shadow Copy.

 

By default it appears the Shadow Copies are residing on the same partition as the original data and that location is not able to be changed to another storage location. A good practice would have either dedicated drive or at least a partition different to the original location being used for copies.

 

You could archive the Shadow Copies Manually if you don't mind doing a little copy and paste action.

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This was about 600 GB of DVDs that I had ripped. The majority I had the actual DVD as a backup. I restored them to another drive that I just added today. I was originally going to restore them to the drive they were originally on but was told that drive did not have enough free space for the restore. I have actually been doing this remotely from work via the server web page and I am not going to delete anything else until I am home and can test that these files restored actually are usable. I guess they will be but don't want to make any more mistakes.

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  • 1 year later...

Hello All,

 

Figuered the best this I could do is search the forums, found a post that had the same name I was going to use. Figured I would append / hijack this thread.

 

Q: Do I really need shadow copies to be on for my OS and Share Drive? The OS just does its thing, no reason to really make a copy of it. I mean if I install something that causes a problem, then chances are I will uninstall it, or safe mode it and then uninstall it. My shares are being synched with drop box so all my shares are in the drop box folder, except for my client backups and there is only my machine. If that went down I would just rebuild it and then restore from the server any data I needed from the backups.

 

So do we really need shadow copies? Does it help when the server is backing up to lock in use files so they can be backed up? Again, backing up the server OS drive to me is worthless. But if files in use are not copied while the server backs up and shadow copy is going to alleviate that, then I will keep it.. Otherwise, I think I should just turn it off.

 

Suggestions? Advice?

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Most people have shadow copies turned on for the OS because they store personal data on the same drive. If you do not have any data on that drive then I agree that shadow copies is not needed on the OS drive.

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