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Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider (System Services for the Windows Server 2003 Family and Windows XP Operating Systems)

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

Service Name:SwPrv

Executable Name: svchost.exe -k swprv

Log On As: LocalSystem

Description: The Microsoft Software Shadow Copy Provider service manages software-based shadow copies taken by the Volume Shadow Copy service. A shadow copy enables you to create a copy (or apparent copy) of a disk volume that represents a consistent read-only point in time for that volume. This point in time then stays constant and allows an application (such as Backup) to copy data from the shadow copy to tape.

There are two general classes of shadow copies:

  • Hardware. For hardware shadow copies, a mirror of two or more disks is split into separate volumes. One of the two volumes then remains the working set and the other one can be mounted separately.

  • Software. A software volume uses a copy-on-write scheme to copy all sectors of a volume that change over time into a differential area. When the shadow copy is mounted, all unchanged sectors are read from the original volume and all sectors that have changed are read from the differential area.

Shadow copies can resolve three classic problems with Backup:

  • The need to delete share flags in a filter driver in order to back up files that have been opened for exclusive access. The problem of backing up a file as it is changing. Without a shadow copy or a way to suspend the application, the result of doing this is typically a corrupt backup.

  • Allowing a system to remain active while the shadow copy is being performed. Tax season is a good example of when organizations cannot afford to take the time to shut a system down long enough to back it up.

  • Leveraging the snapshots approach and using the same communication channels to build information transfer between application and backup tools.

If this service is stopped or disabled, software-based volume shadow copies cannot be managed.

Available on: Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition; Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition; Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition and Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.

Installed through: Default operating system installation

Startup type: Manual

Service status: Stopped

This service depends on the following system components:

Remote Procedure Call

The following system components depend on this service: None

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