Previous Versions - Shadow Copy

ByLine
How to Restore Previous Versions of a File and Folder in Vista
Synopsis
This will show you how to restore Previous Versions of a file or folder from a list of previous versions (shadow copy) at different points in time to choose from.
How to Restore Previous Versions of a File and Folder in Vista


information   Information
This will show you how to restore Previous Versions of a file or folder from a list of previous versions (shadow copy) at different points in time to choose from. Shadow copies are automatically saved as part of a system restore point. When System Restore is turned on (it is by default), Vista automatically creates shadow copies of any files that have been changed since the time the last restore point was made. Restore points are created once per day and before significant system events such as program or driver installation. You can also manually create a restore point anytime you want to. For more information, see: Microsoft TechNet: Selected Scenarios for Maintaining Data Integrity with Windows Vista
Note   Note
This is only available for the Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise editions of Windows Vista. For the other Vista editions, you might try this free alternative:

ShadowExplorer.com - About

Tip   Tip

warning   Warning
Previous Versions Requirements
  • Turn on System Protection for the drive(s) that you want to have previous versions of it's files and folders available.
  • Have any files that are not system files you want to also have previous versions of included in Windows Backups when created.
  • Volume Shadow Copy - Service set as default of Manual.
  • Server - Service set as default of Started and Automatic.
  • TCP/IP NetBios Helper - Service set as default of Started and Automatic.
  • Workstation - Service set as default of Started and Automatic.
EXAMPLE: Previous Versions window
Previous_Versions2.jpg
Here's How:
1. For a Current File or Folder
NOTE: To restore a previous version of a file or folder that a is still located in it's location. Not deleted.​
A) Right click on the file or folder.​
B) Click on either Properties or Restore previous versions. (See screenshot below)​
C) Go to step 3.​
Single_File.jpg


2. For a Deleted File or Folder
NOTE: This is for a file or folder that is no longer in the folder where it was originally located. You will need to do this in the folder that the file or folder was originally located to restore it.​
A) Right click on a empty area in a Windows Explorer window for the original folder location. (See screenshot below)​
OR
B) Right click on the folder in the Windows Explorer Navigation Pane.​
C) Click on Properties.​
Properties.jpg


3. Click on the Previous Versions tab. (See screenshots below)​
NOTE: All files and folders will have a activated Restore button option except for the ones in C:\Windows.​
4. Select a previous version date that you want to restore by letting your pointer hover over it until it is highlighted.​
Previous_Versions2.jpg Previous_Versions_Properties.jpg

5. To View the File or Folder Previous Versions
NOTE: This will open a separate window where you can view the contents of the selected previous version.​
A) Click on the Open button, or on one of the dated previous versions. (See screenshots above)​

6. To Copy the File or Folder Previous Version to a Selected Location
NOTE: You can use this to copy a previous version to another location or the same location to replace the original. For example, the C:\Windows location since it does not have a activated Restore button.​
A) Click on the Copy button. (See screenshots below step 4)​
B) Navigate to the location you want to place the copy of the previous version of the file or folder. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: If you would like to create a new folder to put the previous version in at that location first, then click the Make New Folder button and type a name for it.​
C) Click on the Copy button.​
Copy_Items.jpg

D) If there is a current copy of the file or folder in that same location, then click on the option you want to do. (See screenshot below)​
Copy_File.jpg


7. To Restore the File or Folder Previous Version
NOTE: This will replace the current file or folder with the selected previous version.​
A) Click on the Restore button. (See screenshots below step 4)​
NOTE: The Restore button is grayed out for files and folders in the C:\Windows location.​
B) Click on the Restore button. (See screenshot below)​
Restore.jpg

C) Click on OK. (See screenshot below)​
Success.jpg


That's it,
Shawn



Related Tutorials


 
Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink

Comments

i'm confused. i thought system restore saved only system files (registry, i'd guess, and few more). this article seems to say it saves ALL (changed) files. i have home premium. is that still true? can i keep system restore functionality and tell it not to save all my other files? must take humongus amount of space and i back up daily and i can't access those older versions in shadowcopies, so it just wastes space.

thanks! :)
 
Hello MinorGeek, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Since you have Vista Home Premium, the Previous Versions feature is not available for your edition. However, you can use the free program mentioned in the Note box at the top of the tutorial to be able to take advantage of and use shadow copy for previous versions of your files.

Previous Versions is handled by Shadow Copy which is not the same as System Restore and restore points. However, they do work very closely together. See the link in the Information box at the top of the tutorial for a more detailed explanation of Previous Versions.

Hope this helps,
Shawn
 
Hello Angyecarm,

Do you have everything set as per the WARNING box at the top of the tutorial for it's requirements?

Shawn
 
Yes I have everything set as in the warning box otherwise I don't ask for help.
I've read on the net that the problem could be have a partition with XP. Can you confirm it?
 
I am running Win 7 RTM Professional, but everything looks the same.

Everything on my system is set up as you suggest, but when I click on the Previous Versions tab, igt says to there are no previous versions available.

I looked at my Windows backup - there are files for which the previous versions should be out there. I also looked at the System Volume folder, and it it populated by files that are timestamped as the same time as my backups were created.

All services are set as they should be.

Any ideas?
 
Hello Blegs,

All Windows 7 issues need to be posted at out sister site Seven Forums instead. This way this forum can stay on topic with Vista.

PM me there with a link to your post when you get a chance to. I'll be happy to see what I can do to help. :)
 
Hello Blegs,

All Windows 7 issues need to be posted at out sister site Seven Forums instead. This way this forum can stay on topic with Vista.

PM me there with a link to your post when you get a chance to. I'll be happy to see what I can do to help. :)
I have found an answer in this article which applies to Vista and Win 7:

dreamlayers: In Vista, the "Previous Versions" tab requires administrative shares

Since this applies to both, I am leaving the posting where it is.
 
Blegs,

I'm happy to hear that you found a solution to your problem. Thank you for posting back and sharing it. :)
 
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