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Published on 10.29.07 by Brent Trahan

Restore a File with Shadow Copy in Windows Vista

Revert back to an older version of a file or bring back deleted files and folders with Shadow Copy in Windows Vista.

If you periodically backup files or your entire computer in Windows Vista using the Backup and Restore Center you can easily go back to older versions of a file or folder or bring back deleted files using Shadow Copy in Windows Vista.

How Shadow Copy Works

Shadow Copy is nearly invisible to the user and enabled by default. Every time your computer backs itself up, files and folders that have been changed are copied to the backup. The older versions of those files are not deleted in the backup. Deleted files are not deleted in a backup.

File shadow enables you to easily bring back up to 64 versions of a file or folder and deleted files because they’re never deleted in a backup.

Note: A new shadow copy of a file or folder is only created when a backup is performed. If your computer only backs up once a month, a shadow copy is only created once a month as well.

Restore a File with Shadow Copy

Previous Versions of a File

Let’s say you have a document. For whatever reason, you need to go back to a previous version of it. Here’s how it’s done with Shadow Copy:

  1. Right-click the file you want to go back to a previous version with and then select Properties.
  2. Click the Previous Versions tab.
  3. Select the file version you want to restore from the list.

  4. Click Restore.
  5. A window will popup asking if you want to copy and replace, do nothing, or copy but keep both files.

    I would copy and keep both files just to make sure.

  6. The restored document will have a (2) behind it.

Bring Back Deleted Files or Folders

Let’s say you typed up a report and gave it to your boss. After giving it to your boss you delete it from your computer. Months later your boss asks you for the report again because he lost it. You can use Shadow Copy to get it back. Here’s how it’s done with Shadow Copy:

  1. Right-click the folder the deleted file was located in and then select Properties.
  2. Click the Previous Versions tab.
  3. Select the folder you think the file is located in from the list.

  4. Click Open and browse the contents to find the file or folder in the selected version of the folder.
  5. When you find the file or folder, simply drag it onto your desktop to bring it back.

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