You can restore recently deleted or corrupt files that have been saved on our RRU network drives in just a few mouse clicks!

What is Shadow Copy (Previous Versions)?

Shadow Copy is a feature available on your network drive that you can use to restore recently modified or deleted files.  This will allow you to recover files without having to call for help.

There are usually 3 reasons why you might need to use this service:

  • Accidental file deletion (the most common reason).
  • Accidental file replacement (which can occur when someone forgets to use the "Save As" feature).
  • File corruption.

It is possible to recover from all of these scenarios by making use of Shadow Copy.

** Important Warning **
Restoring the file will overwrite the current copy.  Any data saved in the current copy will be overwritten with the older file.  Be very careful!  If you want to save the current copy, make sure you select Copy instead of Restore.

Shadow Copy Details

Shadow Copy takes a snapshot of any changes that are made to files since the last snapshot.  This allows you to recover changes that were made previously (or the complete file if it’s deleted.).  If files are not available via Shadow Copy then data can be recovered by contacting the Computer Services team.  The data will need to be extracted from tape backups.  Any tape backup restore requests may take some time to process.

Currently Shadow Copy takes a snapshot two times a day during the week and does not take any snapshots during the weekend.  The Drives that are affected are the Home Directories (Z: Drive), Profiles, Communities (O: Drive) and Workgroups.  As well there is a maximum of 64 shadow copies, after which the oldest copy is purged.

Snapshots are taken

  • Monday - Friday :  7:00am and 12:00pm
  • Saturday & Sunday :  No snapshots taken

Shadow Copy Limitations

There are some limitations to Shadow Copy that you will need to be aware of:

  • Warning –  When restoring a previous version of a file, customers can overwrite a known good file with a previous version.  Be very careful!
  • Shadow Copy is only available on your network locations.  This includes your personal and shared network drives.  Data lost on your local computer cannot be retrieved by Shadow Copy or Tape Backup.
  • This will only work for a file or folder modified in the last 2 weeks.  After this point of time, a request to have the file or folder restored from our tape backup will be required.
  • Shadow Copy takes a snapshot when space allows.  Sometimes if a network drive gets low on space, then Shadow Copy will not run.  So the dates you see, are the only dates available.  If you do not see a date you can work with, then a request to computer services to restore the file(s) is in order.
  • This is a PC only ability.

Recovering an Overwritten or Corrupted File

Recovering an overwritten or corrupted file is easier than recovering a deleted file because the file itself can be right-clicked instead of the folder.

  • Right-click the overwritten or corrupted file and click Properties
  • Select the Previous Versions tab
  • Select the file from the date you want
    • If you want to view the old version, click Open.
    • To copy the old version to another location, click Copy....
    • To replace the current version with the older version, click Restore...

Please note that if you are using this procedure to restore a PST file, but you really just want to restore some email messages, then you don’t want to “restore” the PST file or it will overwrite the whole PST.  What you should probably do, is create a copy of the “recovered” PST somewhere.  Then use the procedure to “Add a new Personal Folder or open an existing one” to view the contents of the “recovered” PST file and drag and drop the missing email into their “current” PST file. Please contact Computer Services by phone, email or Online Request Form for assistance as this can be complicated.

Recovering an Overwritten or Corrupted Folder

  • Position the cursor so that it is over a blank space in the folder that will be recovered.  If the cursor hovers over a file, that file will be selected.
  • Right-click the mouse, select Properties from the bottom of the menu.
  • Click the Previous Versions tab.
  • Select the Folder on the date you want to restore.
    • If you want to view the old version, click Open.
    • To copy the old version to another location, click Copy....
    • To replace the current version with the older version, click Restore...

Recovering a Deleted File or Folder

This process will walk you through the steps of recovering a file or folder that has been deleted.

  • Open the directory that the file was located in.
  • Right-click in the directory that the file or folder was stored and select Properties.
  • Click on the Previous Versions tab when the Properties window opens. 
  • Select the Folder on the date you want to restore and click View.
  • A different window will open up displaying the contents at the moment of that snapshot.
  • Locate the file or folder that you wish to restore.
  • You have a few options at this point.
    • Option 1: Opening and saving the file to the correct location
    • Option 2: Drag the file/folder from the Shadow Copy window into to where you want the folder file restored to.

What do I do if I cannot find the file/folder I am looking for in Shadow Copy?

If the file cannot be recovered through Shadow Copy, either because the dates don't go far enough back, or there is no dates available; the file/folder is still most likely available through a tape-backup restore.  Please contact Computer Services via email or Online Request Form and provide the following information:

  • Name of the file/folder
  • Location of the file/folder
  • Last known time that the file/folder was working for you

With this information, Computer Services will do their best to locate the lost file for you.  Any tape backup restore requests may take some time to process.  The farther back the restore, the longer it can take to restore because the tape backup might be offsite.