I back a lot of data up using WinRAR and I create a .rar file from these backups. Since I back up about 20GB of data at a time this process takes some time. Sometimes I need to open a few of the files that I am backing up. This causes WinRAR to report that there was a problem with accessing the file. My question is, how could I carry out the zipping using Volume Shadow Copy so that the files get accessed without any problems?


You should use the Diskshadow command to create a shadow copy to temporarily mount it as a volume. Once you do that you can use any tool such as winrar to make the backup.

The shadow copy behaves like a virtual disk that represents the state of the volume at the time it was created. If you continue to modify files, these modifications will not appear in the shadow copy, but the disk space taken by these files will double since their old copies will be kept on the disk until the shadow copy is deleted.

Here is an example based on the above Microsoft documentation that I linked to, where we backup disk C: and the shadow copy is called S: (which is identical to C: except frozen in time). The example is entirely theoretic, as I have not tested it.

diskshadow -s startshadow_script.txt
<winrar of files in S:>
diskshadow -s endshadow_script.txt


set context persistent nowriters
set verbose on
add volume C: alias MyBackupName
expose %MyBackupName% S:


set verbose on
delete shadows exposed S:
  • This works very nicely, although diskshadow was only available on my 2008 R2 Server - not on Win7 Professional. – RomanSt Apr 11 '14 at 18:37
  • I copied DiskShadow.exe from Windows 2016 and it works on Windows 10 Pro. Thanks. – Damien Nov 7 '17 at 10:18
  • I copied DiskShadow.exe from Windows 2016 and it shows no output on my Windows 10 Pro. Wonder if there's a dll to go along with it that is a different version – Brain2000 Nov 19 '18 at 21:38

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