Windows Vista Shadow Copy Disabled in Home Versions

Windows Volume Shadow Copy Screen shot
If you purchased a system with Windows Vista Home Basic or Premium installed, you may be surprised if you try to restore a file using the Previous Versions feature. Apparently, you will need to upgrade to Vista Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate before you will be able to use the Shadow Copies that are created by the Previous Versions feature. Isn’t that lovely.

The answer is Yes, No, and Maybe. All versions of Vista (Home, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate) have a new feature called Volume Shadow Copy. Now instead of tracking changes to your system files, Vista is now tracking EVERY change to every file. Big and small, important and irrelevant, every bit and byte is now being tracked by Vista. This is starting to feel more like Big Brother than David Copperfield. The primary reason given by Microsoft is that it enables us to look at previous versions of our files. If I had an Excel spreadsheet that I had made modified to the point that it was unintelligible, sometimes it is best to start over. Previous Versions make this possible. (Dave has some more thoughts on the implications of Vista’s Previous Versions.) Source: The Illusions of Vista

Now, I know everyone is thinking, if Vista keeps a backup copy of my files, what happens when I have to delete a file I need to get rid of? Well, looks like you might be stuck, as Vista will keep the hidden copies of your files, unless you disable Volume Shadow Copy, and that will, in turn, disable your ability to use the system restore feature! But, in doing so, you will actually be able to delete the hidden copies of your files now. So, turn off system restore, delete the file, empty the recycle bin, do a little disk cleanup and turn system restore back on. The main disadvantage to this is the fact the Windows will delete all of your old system restore files, so, you will only be able to restore files going forward from when you turned it back on. They also note that the system restore files are huge compared to Windows XP, with some being 400 times bigger, and one they had on their system was 8 gigs! That will eat up hard drive space pretty quickly, hopefully Microsoft will set the default space setting for system restore pretty low. On their system, it ate up about 15% of the drive.

This could be a good feature for some people who do computer forensics, if people don’t realize that Windows Vista is keeping the copies, then there may be some pedophiles who get caught because they were “using” this feature. I like that. I probably won’t buy a Home version of Vista anyway, but there are lots of people who will because they can get it cheaper. This makes two bad stories for Vista and Microsoft today, wonder what is coming next?

In another post on the PC Pitstop site, they end with a nice little paragraph about a new version of Vista Microsoft should be selling.

There is perhaps one other option, suggested by my business partner Charlie “Knuckles” McGee: Windows Vista Document Ransom Edition. That would add just the Previous Versions feature, for a “minimal” fee. After all, you have such nice-looking documents…it would be a shame for anything to happen to them. Source: The Vista Backups That You Can’t Have