Tag Archives: windows

Backing up your files without file locks on Windows


Make perfect copies every time with Volume Shadow Copy

Do you have some files you want backed up but can’t afford the downtime?

As part of the eidy we have a shared game world for the team to experiment with running windows server.  Windows has a feature called “Volume Shadow Copy” that allows you to copy files while they are in use.

Shadow Copy is used in taking manual or automatic backup copies or snapshots of computer files or volumes, even when they are in use. It is implemented as a Windows service called the Volume Shadow Copy service. A software VSS provider service is also included as part of Windows to be used by Windows applications. Shadow Copy technology requires the file system to be NTFS to be able to create and store shadow copies. Shadow Copies can be created on local and external (removable or network) volumes by any Windows component that uses this technology, such as when creating a scheduled Windows Backup or automatic System Restore point. (From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_Copy)

I didn’t particularly want to use backup.  I just wanted to do a simple file copy.

The way this works is that you mount the folder you want to copy as a special drive letter, which you then copy the files from.  Weird eh?

I did this using a cool little program called “ShadowSpawn” that allows you to execute a command using a volume shadow copy mount.

Using Windows Scheduler I execute the following command:

shadowspawn C:\eidy Q: robocopy Q:\ D:\eidybackup /s

(The volume “Q:\” is a temporary driver letter, “D:\” is a cloud synced volume)

It’s easy to setup, and may help with your simplistic copying needs.