Reduce Win2k user issues with shadow copy

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Don't believe that you have to install Windows Server 2003 as a domain controller to utilize any of the new features. One of the nicest, easiest to configure and administratively savvy features in the newest Microsoft server is the new shadow copy feature. This feature allows users to "roll back" to earlier versions of files and folders -- say, in the instance when a user deletes a file by accident.

To have a great fit into your existing Windows 2000 environment, all you have to do is install Windows Server 2003 as a member server in an existing domain. Use Computer Management to create a shadow copy of any of the NTFS drives. (Microsoft suggests that you DO NOT shadow to primary parition.)

Schedule the shadow copy an appropriate time interval -- a typical company might choose every hour, but the default is at 7:00 and 12:00. Set the size of the shadow copy to a workable size. Share a folder on this machine that will receive the redirected user folders.

Through the Windows 2000 group policy, redirect user folders/files to this new server. Install the client side shadow copy utility named ShadowCopyClient.msi (good for Windows XP and Windows 2000 with SP3 and higher).

Users can then connect to their home directories through a Web browser, mapping a drive, shortcuts or Windows Explorer and have the ability to 'roll back' to earlier versions of files and folders. For example, if a user "Fred" accidently deletes his Project.doc, he can right click anywhere in his home directory folder, select properties and the "Previous Versions" tab will allow him to restore to an earlier point in time, recovering the file or file version that he needs. If he should delete a folder or modify it in a manner that is not acceptable, it can be rolled back!

This was first published in June 2003

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