Seeking information on Shadow Copy vs. Backup & Restore. I'm conf



I got Vista Ultimate installed and I immediately began to digg the new backup
features. I'm getting confused about the how everything works with Shadow
Copy vs Backup and Restore.

I've got a 750GB internal storage drive that registers 698GB. I have an
external drive that is the same, 750GB but registers 698GB. My internal
storage drive has 125GB free.

Prior to Vista I always used a program called Second Copy to keep an exact
copy of the folders on my storage drive on my backup drive. If I deleted
somethign on the storage it would be deleted from my backup drive. It always
maintained an exact copy. This does NOT allow me to recover "previous
versions", though.

So upon installing Vista I went ahead and wiped out my external drive. I
then went into Backup and Restore and it detected my external drive and then
I told it to backup all documents on C: and D:. I set it for daily at 8:00

It's been 2 days now and the backup has still not completed. It created a
folder on my backup drive named the computer name and within that has a
single folder called Backup Set 3-18-2007. Then within that, though, are 4
folders. 2 from the 18th and 2 from the 19th.

Basically, where I'm getting confused is what exactly is backup and restore
doing? Does it keep an exact copy of my documents on the backup drive the
same way Second Copy did? will the fact that I'm working with just a little
over 100GB free on each drive come into play with multiple copies of files
being stored?

Also, it seems that Shadow Copy and Backup & Restore are separate
features..?? Shadow Copy by default takes 15% of your volume to allow for
shadow copies to be kept and "previous versions" to work. I was looking at
this article, though

and I got confused because it says to turn on Shadow Copy for an external
disk go to System Protection and check your disk in Available Disks. System
Protection seems to be for System Restore, though. It doesn't say anything
about Shadow Copy there. Also, right now the only thing checked there is my
C: drive, but if I right click on files on my D: drive shadow copy does
indeed show me some previous versions.

The way I'd like for things to work is that Shadow Copy, using 15% of my
internal volumes drive by default, allows me to use the "previous versions"
features. Then, Backup & Restore keeps an exactly copy of my documents on my
external drive. If a file changes, it updates it, but does NOT update files
that have not changed.

is that the way things are going to work or do the backup jobs always make
new backfups of files even when they haven't changed?

Any information I can get on all of this to help straighten me out would be
greatly appreciated. Thanks!


One thing you can use instead of backup and restore is SyncToy v1.4. I have
been using it sonce the first beta and have been impressed with the


Jill Zoeller [MSFT]

Windows Backup makes backups of the files that belong to the categories you
choose (Music, Documents, etc.). The first backup is a full backup;
subsequent backups are incrementals (meaning only the changed files are
backed up. And fyi, you will eventually be prompted for another full
backup.). Backups not only protect your files, they also provide a
*reliable* way of viewing past versions of those files. (I say "reliable"
because the Previous Versions feature you mention does not keep previous
versions forever--eventually they are purged to make room for new previous

You mention the System Protection tab and I do agree this is confusing.
Restore points are used for a variety of purposes--previous versions and
System Restore, to name two. And yes, the Backup tool is a separate feature.
However, you might notice when viewing previous versions of a file that both
shadow copies and past backups are listed. So we do provide some integration
for these technologies, but they are indeed separate.

I recommend reviewing some of our recent articles on Backup and System
Restore in our blog at These
should answer some of your questions as well.

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

Want to learn more about Windows file and storage technologies? Visit our
team blog at


Thank you very much for the detailed information and the link. I'm getting a
better understanding of all of this now.

Unfortunately, the fact that I cannot turn off my C: drive in the Backup and
Restore settings is hurting my current situation.

As I explained in my OP, I use a separate storage drive for all of my data
and I have a matching external drive to back that drive up. I've filled it
up to only about 100GB free, but this was never a problem before. I had
100GB free on both my internal storage and my external backup.

Now, though, upon trying to use the Windows B&R features it automatically
includes everything on the c: drive as well. I don't need this stuff backed
up. None of it is unrecoverable should I lose it. It gets added, though,
and as such I run out of room on my external disk. At least that's the only
thing I can think of that would cause it. The initial full backup wasn't
ever able to complete because my external drive got full even though my
storage drive had 100+ GB free.

Any ideas on how I can get around that little delimma? Thanks again!


Thanks for the tip. SyncToy is definitely a nice little program. Especially
since it's free. It basically does the exact same thing that Second Copy
does. The only difference is that scheduling automated jobs in Second Copy
is easier...and Second Copy isn't free. For that reason (and the fact I've
already purchased Second Copy) I think I'm gonna stick with SC until I can
figure out how to make Windows B&R work for me.

Thanks again!


Also, something else I just noticed is that encrypted files/folders with
BitLocker are NOT included in backup jobs..?? Isn't this kind of a conflict
of interest? My confidential files are very important files. I need them
backed up. What's the idea with that? How is one suppose to handle it?

Jill Zoeller [MSFT]

To my knowledge there is no way of working around the inclusion of C: or any
other volume. I will pass this feedback back to the product team for

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

Want to learn more about Windows file and storage technologies? Visit our
team blog at

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