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Shadow Copy or Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) is a service not included in Microsoft Windows that allows manual or automatic snapshots of a volume. The service creates hidden copies of the entire NTFS volume and stores it in the same volume, it’s a kind of backup and recovery service, but how can I search for these hidden volumes?
Shadow Copy functions are only available in higher Windows versions such as Pro, Ultimate, Business and Enterprise and not in Home Premium, Home, Home, Starter, etc. versions. If your Windows version does not allow shadow copy navigation, you can use this amazing, tiny and fast shadow copy program called ShadowExplorer.
Shadow copies are automatically saved as part of a restore point in system properties. When system protection is enabled, Windows automatically creates hidden copies of files that have changed since the last restore point, which usually happens once a day. This allows you to recover old versions of files that you accidentally deleted or changed.
This service is enabled by default in all versions, but as mentioned, Microsoft grants access to these copies only in selected editions. To get previous versions of a file, right-click the file and select Restore previous versions. You can also select Properties, then click the Previous Versions box to see the available versions.
ShadowExplorer is a free utility that allows you to access all shadow files created by Windows. You can use these point copies to restore your files to earlier versions. ShadowExplorer allows you to browse shaded copies created with Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service. It is particularly useful for Home Edition users who do not have access to default ghost copies. It displays available point copies, allows you to browse ghost copies and recover file and folder versions.
There is very little to say about this utility. It has a clean and easy to use interface with minimal customization. Very small, ShadowExplorer is available in two versions – the setup version and the portable version.
Using hidden copies is a good option, but cannot replace regular backups. You can also use it in an emergency or if you simply forgot to make a backup. Another limitation of ghost copies is that they are stored in the same volume. If the disk crashes, backups with data are also gone, so more usage. You can use shadow copies with regular backups, but you can’t really replace them.
ShadowExplorer is very useful and indispensable. Very easy to use and always useful. It gives you access to a hidden Windows feature and facilitates access to these files. It can keep previous versions of your files and restore them for you. I hope you like it!
Download Shadow Explorer
March 2023 Update:
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Click here to download ShadowExplorer. It runs under Windows 10/8/7/Vista.
In Windows 8, Microsoft has introduced a function called File History. File History stores copies of your libraries, desktops, favorites and contacts so you can restore them whenever they are lost or damaged.
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