Shadow copy feature in Server 2012 is used to restore previous versions of files and folders. Shadow copy backup feature is must faster than traditional backup solution. But this doesn’t mean that traditional back solution is replaced by shadow copies. Shadow copies can be very handy in certain scenarios where one needs to restore earlier version of files or folder. To configure shadow copy of shared folder in Server 2012, you have to first enable the shadow copy feature. In this post, I will show steps to enable and configure shadow copy of shared folder in Server 2012. The shadow copy feature can be used for both shared and non-shared folders and files.
Shadow copy is a snapshot of the data on the drive or folder. After taking a snapshot of the data, the server keeps track of changes of the data. These changes are stored on the same drive as original file, but can be changed. Shadow copy does not copy all the files and folders but instead keeps track of these changes utilizing certain amount of disk space. This is the reason you can’t use shadow copy for traditional backup replacement. Shadow copy can take many snapshots as long as the specified disk space is available. When the allocated disk space is full, shadow copy deletes the older snapshot. The steps shown in this post works for both Server 2012 and 2012 R2.
Enable and Configure Shadow Copy of Shared Folder in Server 2012
To enable Shadow Copy feature, right-click the drive that contain the shared folders and click Configure Shadow Copies option as shown below.
Or, open the Properties of drive which contain the shared folders. Select Shadow Copies tab in the Properties dialog box. Select the volume. Click Enable.
After clicking Enable, you will see little warning about default schedule settings. You can always change the default settings.
Click Yes on the warning dialog box. Click Settings on Shadow Copies tab to change the allocated space for shadow copy. This is the space used by Shadow Copies to store different versions of snapshots.
Click the Schedule button to change the shadow copy schedule settings. Tweak the settings that fits your environment and click OK.
You can now access the shared folders and see the previous versions. Open the Properties of the shared folder from local server or client PC over the network. Select the Previous Versions tab. You can see the list of previous versions files. You can open it by click the Open button.
This is how you can configure volume shadow copies in Windows Server 2012. Volume shadow copies can be configured on Server 2008 and Windows 7. But this feature has been depreciated in Windows 8. Instead, new feature called File History has been introduced in Windows 8.