What is volume shadow copy?
Volume Shadow Copy (also known as Volume Snapshot Service or VSS ) is a technology included in Microsoft Windows. It allows you to take backup copies or snapshots of computer files or volumes whether in use or not. The process can be operated manually or automatically.
Shadow Copies can be created on local and external volume by Windows component that uses VSS technology. In Windows 7, you can create a shadow copy via Backup and Restore, System Restore points. In Windows 8/10, you can use file history feature.
Shadow copies also give you a chance to restore deleted files or folders. In Windows 7, you can use the Previous Versions tab. But the previous versions tab was removed for local volumes since Windows 8. You can use ShadowExplorer, which allows you to look through the old shadow copies and restore files.
How to enable the volume shadow copy in Windows 10/8/7?
Using system restore points
Step 1. Type system restore in the search box, then select Create a restore point.
Step 2. Select a drive and click Configure.
Step 3. Tick Restore system settings and previous versions of files. After that, click Apply.
Step 4. Click Create to enable the volume shadow copy. After it's created, you can click OK to exit this window.
Using task scheduler
If you want to customize a volume shadow copy in Windows 10, you can use Task Scheduler. It’s more accurate. You can select a specific time to create a shadow copy.
Step 1. Open Task Scheduler. You can click Start, type task scheduler and select it from the list.
Step 2. Click Create Task and specify a name for the task (eg: ShadowCopy).
Step 3. Create a new trigger. You can click the Trigger tab and New option in this interface, then select settings.
Step 4. Enable shadow copy. You can click the Actions tab and New option, type vmic under the Program or script option, input shadowcopycall create Volume=C:\ at the right side of the Add argument option.
When you run program items using VSS technology, you may receive volume shadow copy error in Windows 10.
In this case, you should go to Services and check if the Volume Shadow Copy service is started at first time. Once it stops, the programs items using VSS technology will not work.
How to disable volume shadow copy in Windows 10?
Step 1. Go to System Properties window, select a drive and click Configure.
Step 2. In the Restore settings section, tick Disable system protection and click Apply and OK to exit this window.
How to restore deleted files or folders via Shadow Copy?
Using Windows Restore Previous versions feature
Step 1. Select the file or folder you want to restore in a previous state. You can navigate to the file or folder and right-click it.
Step 2. Select Restore Previous Versions from the drop-down menu. In addition, you still can select Properties and click the Previous Versions tab.
Step 3. Select the version of file or folder to restore.
In this window, you can see 3 options, including Open, Copy, Restore.
Open button allows you to view the content of file or folder.
Copy button allows you to copy file or folder to another location on the computer, even on external hard drive.
Restore button gives you a chance to restore the file or folder to the same location and replace the existing version.
Sometimes, you will receive a message like there are no previous versions available. One of the possible reasons is that the volume shadow service is disabled. You can manually enable it in task manager.
The detailed steps: right-click taskbar> select Start Task Manager > click services at the bottom > find Volume Shadow Copy and double-click it > set the startup type as Automatic > click Apply to make it available.
Using shadow explorer
Step 1. Download ShadowExplorer utility, install and launch it.
Step 2. Select the drive and date to restore file or folder.
Step 3. Select the file or folder to restore its previous version. You can right-click it and pitch on Export option.
Step 4. Specify the location to save the previous version of file or folder. Wait and check the previous file or folder.
Better way to backup files for your computer
The volume shadow copy service can help you backup files and restore its previous version. Since Windows 8, the previous versions tab was removed. You cannot restore files using previous versions feature.
In Windows 10/8, you can either use a third-party tool like Shadow Explorer or restore from a previous restore point. But they both have limitations. Shadow Explorer may not work all the time. If you use a previous restore point, recently installed programs and drivers will be removed.
To fix this problem, I recommend you free backup and restore software AOMEI Backupper. With it, you can backup files without effort. You can choose to backup large files, backup specific folders in Windows 10, backup large amount of data, etc.
Also, you can restore files from backup at any time, even from system backup or disk backup. This software can support various operating system, including Windows 7/8/10. You do not need extra software.
The detailed steps:
Step 1. Download, install and launch AOMEI Backupper.
Step 2. Select backup type. You can click Backup and File Backup.
Step 3. Select files or folders to backup. You can click Add File or Add Folder, pitch on a path and select file from the specified folder.
Step 4. Select a path to save the files and folders.
Step 5. Set up settings if needed.
Step 6. Click Start Backup to run the pending operation.
Wrapping things up
Volume shadow copy in Windows 10/8/7 is a Windows Service, which can help you backup files and folders. It also gives you an option to restore files. But Windows 10/8 lack the GUI portion.
To solve this problem, you can use a backup and restore software. Like volume shadow copy, you can backup and restore files. In addition, you can enjoy more features in this software, Including System Backup, Disk Backup, File Sync, etc.