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Using the Volume Shadow Copy Service

The Volume Shadow Copy Service provided by Windows Server 2008 creates different point-in-time versions of files in a volume. It is also part of the backup infrastructure provided by Windows Server 2008, and it enables users to recover a particular version of a file from the file server. This feature enables users to recover overwritten or inadvertently deleted shared files.

You can quickly enable Volume Shadow copy on a file server and the Computer Management snap-in provides the easiest access to the Shadow Copy Service for your server’s shares. To open the Computer Management snap-in, select Start, Administrative Tools, and then select Computer Management.

Right-click the Shared Folder node in the snap-in tree, point at All Tasks, and then select configure Shadow Copies. The Shadow Copies dialog box opens (see Figure 12.17).

Figure 12.17. Enable the Shadow Copy Service.

In the dialog box, select the volume you want to enable for Shadow Copy. Then click the Enable button. The Enable Shadow Copies dialog box opens, asking whether you want to enable shadow copies. Click Yes.

To change the settings for Shadow Copy, such as the schedule and the amount of space allotted for shadow copies on the file server, select the Settings button. The Settings dialog box opens. To set the maximum size available for shadow copies, use the Use Limit spinner box. The default is 4095MB (you need a minimum of 300MB free space to create a shadow copy). Be advised that there is an upper limit of 64 shadow copies per volume. This means that you should create a schedule that retains an appropriately long enough history of the files without reaching the upper limit.

To set the schedule for the Shadow Copy server, select the Schedule button. The Schedule dialog box opens (see Figure 12.18).

Figure 12.18. Use the Schedule dialog box to set the timing of the shadow copies.

The default schedules shadow copy files twice a day (during the work week, Monday through Friday) at 7 a.m. and 12 p.m. If you want to increase the number of scheduled shadow copies (Microsoft recommends that you do not increase the number beyond one shadow copy per hour), select New and then create a new scheduled shadow copy event. (It is best to select Weekly, specify the days in the week, and then specify a certain time, which is how the sample schedule has been configured.)

When you have finished setting the schedule, click the OK button. Then click OK again to close the Settings dialog box. You are returned to the Shadow Copies dialog box.

If you want to create Shadow copies of the selected volume immediately, select the Create Now button. A date and time listing appears in the Shadow Copies of Selected Volume box. Click OK to close the dialog box and return to the Computer Management snap-in.

For client computers to access and take advantage of file server shares enabled for Volume Shadow Copy, the client computer must be running the client software for Shadow Copies of Shared Folders. The Windows Vista client comes with the client installed. If you are running Windows XP or Windows 2000 clients, you need to install the Volume Shadow client.

The Shadow Copy client can be downloaded from the Microsoft TechNet. On the client computer, open Internet Explorer and go to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/bb405951.aspx. Follow the instructions to download and install the client for the version of Windows that you are using on the client computer.

Did you Know?

You can also make the Shadow Copy client available in a network share and allow users to install the client to desktop computers as needed. With Windows XP and Windows Vista clients also providing Remote Desktop, you can connect to clients and install the Shadow Copy client yourself.

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