Thursday, February 19, 2015

Microsoft Windows File Sharing - User Initiated Single File Restore with Shadow Copies

Hi Friends,

We've been on a fun file sharing adventure and like all fun rides it must come to an end, BUT not yet!  Another big thanks to Kevin for his idea for this blog!

Today we're going to talk about backups and single file recovery.  Normally backups aren't seen as sexy or rock star technology.  They are more like a toilet.  Day after day our toilets take and take and take and ask nothing in return.  We all take our toilets for granted until they stop working, and for a brief moment we realize how much we LOVE our toilets!

Like toilets, backups just silently run in the background and no one really cares until an important file has been deleted, changed or corrupted.  I've written a couple of blogs on how to recover entire volumes and single files using Nimble Storage snapshots, but what if I want to empower my users to recover their own files?  That's where Microsoft Shadow Copies come in.  This is a very cool tool, but like all tools if you're not careful, you can hurt yourself with it.

Let's head over to our file share server and set up those Shadow Copies!  Right click on your share drive and select the Shadow Copies tab.  Here you can see I'm already taking copies of my Z:\ drive.  Something to note is the Used column.  When you create Shadow Copies you will be using space, so keep an eye on that.  You can set how much space you want Shadow Copies to use, schedules, all kinds of cool stuff.  Take a look on the left hand side.  I've got two users set up to have their home directories use this Z:\ drive.  I set that up in Active Directory.  The nice thing is user1 sees his stuff, but not user2's stuff and vice verse.

Here I'm logged into another machine as user1 and my home directory is mounted as drive W:\.

Let's say I delete one of my files.  I'm quite distraught until I remember my system administrator has set up Shadow Copies so I can go and restore the file on my own.

I right click on my home directory and select properties.  Now I've got a few choices and I've got to be careful here!  If I'm not careful I can make a terrible mess of my home directory.  I've got 4 images to choose from and I can Open the backup, Copy the backup or Restore it.  If I Open the image I can select specific files to restore.  If I Copy the image I can select an alternate location to restore ALL the files.  If I Restore, I over write any files with the same name.  Be careful with the Restore!

So what does an Open look like?  Let's take a look.  Here I've opened up the 2/18/2015, 2:48 PM image.  And my user1_file2.txt file is there!  From here I can copy it to where ever I want.

This is a very powerful tool which will empower your users to recover files ASAP without having to wait or rely on someone else.  Just remember there are caveats and to be aware of them.

Until Next Time!

No comments:

Post a Comment