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Adi Oltean's Weblog - Flashbacks on technology, programming, and other interesting things

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  • Blog Post: A simple way to access Shadow Copies in Vista

    In the past, I presented various ways to browse these mysterious device objects called "shadow copies". Shadow copies are static images in time (snapshots) of your volume contents, at some point in the past. These shadow copies are volumes on their own, with a file system namespace accessible...
  • Blog Post: [RO] Seminar - Storage si programare distribuita

    Florin Lazar , Todi Pruteanu si cu mine am demarat in cursul acestei saptamani un seminar tehnic pe teme de storage in Vista si programare distribuita in WCF. Mai multe detalii aici: http://reg.studentclub.ro . Pana acum seminariile din Bucuresti si Cluj au avut un raspuns fantastic! Daca aveti opinii...
  • Blog Post: Windows Home Server - links

    A friend of mine didn't know about Windows Home Server - so I sent him these links: - Main site: http://stopdigitalamnesia.com - Interview with Charlie Kindel http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=270965 - Download: https://connect.microsoft.com/site/sitehome.aspx?wa=wsignin1.0&siteid=38...
  • Blog Post: Previous Versions in Vista - on Channel 9!

    Hot and fresh from Channel 9: a session on Shadow Copies in Vista, and its applications: Previous Versions and the brand-new System Restore. Check it out .
  • Blog Post: The next generation of storage management is here!

    Storage management is complex, we all know it. For many people, even the simplest opeartions in a SAN look like black magic. It's no wonder why - if you want to, say, create a brand new 5 TB file share using your brand new your SAN box: you need to create a new LUN in your SAN, mounting it on a machine...
  • Blog Post: Time Machine: Vista Previous Versions are now making their way into Mac OS X Leopard...

    Mac OS X Leopard incorporates now a previous versions feature called Time Machine - similar with something that we added in Windows Server 2003 a while back, and recently in Windows Vista as well. If you just read the text at http://www.apple.com/macosx/leopard/timemachine.html it looks a lot with...
  • Blog Post: The Previous Versions feature in Vista - an ArsTechnica review

    ArsTechnica noticed our new Previous Versions feature in Vista. Give it a click: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060730-7383.html
  • Blog Post: More VSHADOW stuff: how to backup Exchange, SQL, NTFS

    While researching for the previous post, I just started a few searches for VSHADOW on the internet, and I found more interesting usages of it. One example: EqualLogic published a nice technical report of using VSHADOW to backup/restore Exchange, SQL and NTFS. Here is the link: http://www.equallogic...
  • Blog Post: Fast backup of Virtual Server images (using VSHADOW)

    Jeff Trumbull published a very nice script on how to backup a Virtual Server image wiht about one minute of downtime! The solution uses VSHADOW.EXE, a small command-line utility that can be used to create shadow copies. VSHADOW is part of the VSS SDK
  • Blog Post: How to build a cheap backup server

    A while back, our team helped the Small Business Server team with some interesting VSS issues just before shipping SBS 2003. The issues were solved, and each member of our team got a free CD of SBS 2003. So, I decided to do something with it - an SBS machine that also can be used as a SBS and backup...
  • Blog Post: Using NTBackup to achieve P2V

    I always thought about writing a post about physical-to-virtual migration strategies in combination with VSS, but I never got to it. So it's not surprising that others started to uncover this trail :-) One particular technique in this area is described in Lindsay Donaghe's blog - she uses NTBackup...
  • Blog Post: Windows Backup - highlighted as one of the main Vista features!

    Whoohoo! Windows backup is there. Proeminently: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/features/default.aspx#wvC2 They also mention the Shadow Copy (aka Previous Versions). This is a standard feature now in Windows Server 2003, which is invaluable for many many customers. Now we are bring it to...
  • Blog Post: GetVolumeInformationW warnings in VSS - what do they mean?

    I mentioned a while back a weird-looking event log entry: Event Type: Warning Event Source: VSS Event Category: None Event ID: 12290 Date: 8/30/2004 Time: 12:37:19 PM User: N/A Computer: SomeMachineName Description: Volume Shadow Copy Service warning: GetVolumeInformationW ( \\?\Volume{57d9017d...
  • Blog Post: VSS writers and inconsistent shadow copies

    A few days ago, a customer told me that he encountered a weird error while using NTBackup to backup the system. The error text looked like this in backup log: Media name: "System State.bkf created 8/29/2005 at 5:38 PM" Volume shadow copy creation: Attempt 1. "MSDEWriter" has reported an error 0x800423f0...
  • Blog Post: Data Protection Manager closer to shipping...

    The new Data Protection Manager is almost done! From Infoworld : Microsoft has completed production of its disk-based data backup and recovery system and will release the product to manufacturing in the next 30 days, said Ben Matheson, group product manager for DPM at Microsoft. The vendor also has...
  • Blog Post: Playing with transportable snapshots

    Transportable shadow copies are another practical consequence of a new paradigm - the data is stored in the (SAN) cloud. The data availability is not anymore tied to your machine. This simple fact has far reaching consequences. One consequence is the ability to control the lifetime of your data without...
  • Blog Post: Article: Volume Shadow Looms Large

    I just found out this new article about VSS in the Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine, containing several interesting comments about VSS usage. Ron Rynbrandt, (who works for the Dr Pepper 7UP Bottling Group) had the following observation: We use VSS for shared folders, and we love it. I...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft releases public beta of Data Protection Manager

    Data Protection Manager is the first enterprise-level backup product released by Microsoft. It's architecture is quite interesting - it uses a combination of various technologies (Volume Shadow Copies, continuous disk-based backup for quick restore of recent data, combined with tape recovery for slow...
  • Blog Post: NTFS Curiosities (part 2): Volumes, volume names and mount points

    In the old days of MS-DOS and Windows 95 you could identify any volume by its drive letter. Things were so easy. But not anymore after we shipped Windows 2000. In W2K you could also have mount points - volumes mounted under certain directories. This feature is similar with the single-root file system...
  • Blog Post: Warning: Shadow Copies for Shared Folders are not a replacement for backup

    Shadow Copies for Shared Folders are a great feature that can give your users access to previous files in minutes, as opposed to hours or even days (as it is takes normally to reclaim a file from the tape in an corporate environment). One word of caution though: Shadow Copies for Shared Folders (SCSF...
  • Blog Post: Attack of the clones: how to assign a drive letter or directory to a shadow copy

    In one of my previous posts I mentioned a simple script to copy a file from a shadow copy. This allows you to access files that are opened exclusively by some application. You won't have enough drive letters... Here I present a similar script (let's call it CreateShadow.cmd), which creates a persistent...
  • Blog Post: Why the name VSS?

    Several people asked us - why your product is named VSS? After all, VSS stands also for Visual SourceSafe... The short answer: we were never very good at naming. Today, VSS stands for V olume S hadow copy S ervice. But it was not the case in the past. Back then, at the beginning of the project, when...
  • Blog Post: How many shadow copies you can create in Windows?

    There are various numeric limits, imposed either in the OS or in the specific shadow copy provider. Here is a table that summarizes all the numbers. Note that the limit below is per volume, not per system. Maximum number of shadow copies per volume Windows XP Windows...
  • Blog Post: Script recipe of the week: how to copy an opened file

    I just read recently a post on the newsgroups - someone wanted to backup her PST file. The problem is that Outlook keeps this file open all the time, therefore we are unable to just copy this file once in a while. Argh... A cute little script Fortunately, we have Shadow copies in XP and Server...
  • Blog Post: The VSS (Volume Shadow Copy) SDK is available for download

    This is the link: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=0B4F56E4-0CCC-4626-826A-ED2C4C95C871&displaylang=en You can use this SDK to develop VSS requestors, writers and providers. For example, you can write code that define and use shadow copies on Windows XP and Server 2003...
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