Adi Oltean

Adi Oltean Adi Oltean

Niner since 2004

I am a Software Design Engineer, working on Windows Storage Services: shadow copies, storage management (VDS, VSS, FSRM), client experience around storage and various other things.

If you are intersted in my education background: I graduated with B.D. from University of Bucharest, Romania (Mathematics Department) and another B.D. in Industrial Chemistry from University "Politechnica" of Bucharest.

Sometimes I write stuff in my <a href="">blog</a>.


  • Windows Vista "Time Warp": ​Understandi​ng Vista's Backup and Restore Technologies

    Very informative video. Can anybody help me figure out why "Previous Versions" are not working for me? I'm running Vista Business, and if I browse to a network share that I have access to (it's on a Windows 2003 server with shadow copies enabled), I can right-click on files or folders and clearly see previous versions of my files.

    But no such luck on my local hard disk. I have System Restore enabled on my C drive, I've gone to the command line and checked vssadmin, and I can see that there is 15% of the drive reserved for shadow copies, I can check System Restore and can see that restore points are being created. But no matter what I do, any time that I right-click on a file or folder or even on the entire C drive to check for previous versions, there are never any previous versions available.

    What am I doing wrong?

    There will be no Previous Versions displayed if a file didn't change at all between the current version and previous versions on the corresponding restore points. You should see at least one version if you:
    1) Create a system restore point containing the file
    2) Modify this file
    3) Right-click to see its previous versions.

  • Windows Vista "Time Warp": ​Understandi​ng Vista's Backup and Restore Technologies

    >>> are the previous versions read-only shares always available?
    Specifically are they mounted when accessed, or always there?

    [adi] They are mounted when accessed for the first time.

    >>> Can you talk some about the effects of defrag on previous versions?

    [adi] This is a complicated topic - we performed many defrag-related optimizations in shadow copy technology in Windows Server 2003 and even more optimizations in Vista. What's new in Vista is an optimized defrag strategy that would minimize (and even eliminate) side-effects of defrag (like unnecessary growth of the shadow storage area during defrag, or eliminating unnecessary performance implications related with the Copy-on-write, etc). It migth be a great topic for a blog post..

    >>> In the video it discussed VSS and hardware providers, does previous versions work with hardware providers on Vista? On Longhorn?

    [adi] Hardware providers are not supported on client releases of Windows since this is a essentially server technology. In the next Windows server release (code-name Lonhgorn) we have a number of improvements of VSS Hardware technology - stay tuned!

    >>> The integration of previous versions also works with shares on W2003?

    [adi] Yes, this continues to work as in Windows XP SP2.

    How does previous versions work when DPM is installed?  Can DPM be installed on Vista, or is this just a server technology?

    [adi] The Previous Versions tab is integrated with DPM storage as it used to in XP timeframe.
  • Windows Vista "Time Warp": ​Understandi​ng Vista's Backup and Restore Technologies

    >>> I also wonder if it's possible for advanced malware to inject files into previous versions in order to hide them for later re-activation.

    That won't work as shadow copies are essentially read-only volumes.
  • Windows Vista "Time Warp": ​Understandi​ng Vista's Backup and Restore Technologies

    >>> "Time Warp" was the code name for this technology....

    Correct. One note - we used the code name "Timewarp" since 2001-2002, basically when the whole "Previous Versions" project was started. As mentioned in the video, the first shipping vehicle for Previous Versions was Windows Server 2003. What Vista added was support for local Previous Versions.
  • Windows Vista "Time Warp": ​Understandi​ng Vista's Backup and Restore Technologies

    >>> About System Restore: In previous versions it would only restore the system and application files but wouldn't touch any documents. Is this still the case? I found it pretty handy that documents weren't touched.

    That's correct - the user data will not be replaced, only system-related binaries and stuff.

  • Windows Vista "Time Warp": ​Understandi​ng Vista's Backup and Restore Technologies

    >>> If I can open a previous version directly, what happens if I try to make changes and save them to that previous version (not the current version.)

    You will not be able to do that - the Previous Versions will appear in explorer as read-only shares, with a special name, like this:  

    \\localhost\C$\Users\ (‎Today, ‎February ‎27, ‎2007, ‏‎7 hours ago)
  • Windows Vista "Time Warp": ​Understandi​ng Vista's Backup and Restore Technologies

    >>> Ok, I admit I am a little confused. Does this take snapshots are predefined intervals or does it version a file everytime it is saved? So, if I save my document at 10:00 AM... then make a change and save it at 10:10 AM do I get both versions? Or, is that considered one change because it was saved between snapshot intervals?

    The shadow copies are taken at a predefined interval (daily, at 4:00 AM in the morning). Or if the system is sleeping at that time, then they are taken a few dozen minutes after idle time (but before the system goes to sleep again).

    >>> Also, any chance NTFS will support the recycle bin? It seems at this time (XP) it is a shell feature cause I only get files in the recycle bin if I delete using explorer? But, if I use command line or some other app those files aren't put in the recycle. I would love to see the recycle bin be a file system feature.

    Correct - Recycle Bin is primarily a Shell feature. However, you can use the Previous Versions feature to retrieve older copies of deleted files, no matter what application deleted them.

    Thanks, Adi
  • Windows Vista "Time Warp": ​Understandi​ng Vista's Backup and Restore Technologies

    >>> All I want to know is how to turn VSS off. The absolute last thing I want is old copies of sensitive files hanging around on my hard disk without my knowledge. I back up my own files just fine, and only want Vista to keep it's hands to itself.

    Thanks for your feedback. We got similar requests from various users to have a way to mark certain files as "sensitive" and therefore remove them from Recycle Bin or Previous Versions (especially from shadow copies).

    Vista (and Windows in general) doesn't have today a way to mark certain files as "sensitive".

    What you can do to prevent sensitive files on a shadow copy/previous versions - one of the following solutions:
    1) Encrypt sensitive files using a special key that yo then obliterate. This is one of the safest methods as it makes sure that these files will be "un-decryptable" moving forward.
    2) Turn off System Restore, as Charles mentioned