The Value of Volume Shadow Copy

by | Jan 17, 2018 | Managed Services | 0 comments

Shadow Copy is included as part of Microsoft Windows and provides the ability to take manual or automatic backup copies or snapshots even when files are in use. Configuring Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) on user-accessible disk volumes can remove the need for IT interaction and allow users to self-recover previous versions of documents that were overwritten or deleted.  It definitely provides the ability for IT to do this recover faster and simpler without having to go to the backups.

What are the Space Requirements?

There are some important considerations when planning your VSS strategy.

  • Shadow copies are per drive of the server, not per share.
  • It is better to have the shadow copies on a separate volume. This should be separate from the data they are protecting.
  • It is better to have a separate volume for each set of shadow copies instead of a single disk for all of them.
  • Default space per shadow copy is 10% of the drive. It is often recommended this would be 10 or 20Gb but that can vary depending on the size of the drive and the amount of change normally occurring on the volume.


There are also some options to consider when it comes to scheduling this process.

  • The default schedule is 7AM and noon, 5 days a week.
  • You should confirm the schedule will not interfere with backups or other scheduled tasks to prevent any issues.
  • Workflow and user habits need to be considered. For example, are documents being changed before 7AM, or in the evenings?
  • You should note that there is a limit of 64 copies, so that needs to be factored into your planning.

For a relatively small amount of disk space and configuration effort, it is well worth implementing VSS and making the investment to cut back some of the load on IT and provide a good experience for end users.  It should be noted that snapshots are temporary and do not survive a reboot.

Need more information? Email We are happy to help design and implement a Shadow Copy strategy for your organization.