Let’s say you are making drastic changes to a file and later down the road you realize that you didn’t backup the file prior to making those changes. Would be very frustrating, isn’t it?
Not anymore, if you are using Vista Ultimate or Vista Business versions. They both come-in with a handy feature called “Previous Versions” with which you can restore previous versions of your files without you doing much to begin with. It is kind of like version control functionality if you can speak software development terms.
“Previous Versions” uses Shadow Copies which are created when Windows Vista creates Restore Points. If you are not sure how to create restore points then read on first how to create restore points in Windows Vista. With every restore point Vista shadow copies your files as well so you can go back to that copy if/when needed. Keep in mind, that you can only go back to the copy of the file when the restore point was created. If “System Protection” is turned on, Vista automatically creates shadow copies of files that have been modified since the last restore point was made. Typically restore points are made once a day.
One more important thing to keep in mind is that only one version of a file is saved as a shadow copy. For example, if you modify a file several times a day, only the version that was current or most recent when the restore point was made is saved. Still it brings you a huge benefit when you are in need of a previous version of a file.
By now you know what advantage “Previous Versions” bring in, so let’s see how to restore previous versions of files on Windows Vista using shadow copies,
Launch Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder and choose the file you want to restore.
Right click on the filename and then choose Properties on the context menu.
On the dialog that pops-up, go into the “Previous Versions” tab. If you’ve created any restore points before you should be able to see some entries on the “Folder Versions” list.
Choose the version you want to revert to. Then click on one of the buttons that you see at the bottom.
If you want to open that version of the folder/file you can click on the “Open” button. Vista will open that version of the file/folder in Windows Explorer.
If you prefer to have a copy of that particular version then you can click on the “Copy” button and Vista will open a dialog where you can choose the destination folder to copy the file to.
If you are sure and you just want to restore that version of the file/folder then you can click on the “Restore” button and acknowledge by clicking on the “Restore” button on the newly popped-up dialog and Vista will restore that file/folder to the selected version.
Keep in mind, that this wouldn’t help much if your hard disk crashes. So it’s always recommended that you do regular backups.
If you didn’t pay those extra $$$ for Vista Ultimate or Vista Business then on another article I’ll show you how to create shadow copies of files on, let’s say, Vista Home Premium version.
If you have any questions regarding this please make sure to ask us at the comments.