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What are the advantages of File History instead of Shadow copy (Backup store functionality for Vista and 7 )

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1 Answer 1

Here is an article that detail the difference. One of the interesting part is the following

The biggest single difference between the systems is where they store the information. For Shadow Copies, the old snapshot blocks are almost always stored on the same volume as the current, up-to-date file. Technically, it is possible to store them on different volumes, but in practice, this is rarely done (and, in any case, was only ever possible on server versions of Windows).

This has two important repercussions, one very good, one very bad. The good repercussion is that the system is self-contained. The only thing you need is a hard disk; it can contain its own historic versions. The bad repercussion is that it's self-contained: if that hard disk should stop working, you lose both the current files and all the previous versions too.

File History, on the other hand, never uses the same disk to store historic versions—it requires the use of either a network share or a separate physical disk. (Again, technically that's not quite true, as you can use a file share hosted on the same physical disk as the one being backed up, but this defeats the purpose). This means that if the disk should fail, the backups should all be safe. You can recover the backups simply by installing the operating system to a new hard disk, giving the system the same name as the broken one, and using the same location for File History; the history will pick up exactly where it left off.

One consequence of this is that the File History storage location might not be available—if you use network storage on a laptop computer, for example. To cope with that, the system can additionally use a portion of the local disk as a cache into which it will make replicas whenever the history location is unavailable. As soon as the history becomes available (so as soon as you return to your home network or plug in your history USB disk) the cache will be copied to the history location.

File History only tracks files in certain locations; Libraries, the Desktop, and a couple of other places. Shadow Copies, in contrast, track almost the entire disk. This means that if you keep your files in an unusual location, File History won't protect them. While files in the protected locations can be excluded (to, for example, avoid burning lots of space on podcasts or other readily re-downloaded data), there's no provision to include extra locations.

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