Configuring Volume Shadow Copies (VSS) on Windows Server 2012 R2

Volume Shadows Copies (also known as Volume Snapshot Service or VSS) is a technology developed by Microsoft to take restorable snapshots of a volume.

On Windows Server 2012 // 2012 R2 it’s quite easy to set up and restore operations are pretty straightforward.

Note: Volume Shadow Copies allow to restore previous states of the entire volume, you can’t restore previous states of single files and/or folders.

Open the File Explorer and right-click on the volume where you want to enable Volume Shadow Copies. Select Configure Shadow Copies:

Configuring Volume Shadow Copies on Windows Server 2012 R2

Select the volume and click Enable:

Configuring Volume Shadow Copies on Windows Server 2012 R2

Microsoft suggests to use a dedicated drive to store Volume Shadow Copies in case of high-load. Click Yes:

Configuring Volume Shadow Copies on Windows Server 2012 R2

A first snapshot will be generated. Default VSS settings work as following:

  • Volume Shadow Copies will be stored in the same volume
  • Volume Shadow Copies will take a maximum amount of 10% of the local disk space
  • The system reserves a minimum of 300MB of disk space for the shadow copies
  • The system schedules two shadow copies per day (7.00 AM and 12.00 PM)

To modify these settings click Settings:

Configuring Volume Shadow Copies on Windows Server 2012 R2

The option panels are quite explicative:

Configuring Volume Shadow Copies on Windows Server 2012 R2

Configuring Volume Shadow Copies on Windows Server 2012 R2

To restore a previous snapshot just select it and click Revert:

Configuring Volume Shadow Copies on Windows Server 2012 R2

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