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Volume shadow copy overview

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Volume shadow copy overview

With Backup, you can create shadow copy backups of volumes and exact copies of files, including all open files. For example, databases that are held open exclusively and files that are open due to operator or system activity are backed up during a volume shadow copy backup. In this way, files that have changed during the backup process are copied correctly.

Shadow copy backups ensure that:

  • Applications can continue to write data to the volume during a backup.

  • Files that are open are no longer omitted during a backup.

  • Backups can be performed at any time, without locking out users.

Some applications manage storage consistency differently while files are open, which can affect the consistency of the files in the backup. For critical applications, consult the application documentation or your provider for information about the recommended backup method. When in doubt, shutdown the application before performing a backup.

It is highly recommended that you perform backups when server usage is low. For example, perform backups late at night.

For more information, see Set advanced backup options.

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