Why Previous Version (Shadow Copy) Not Working in Windows 7

Previous Version (Shadow Copy) is a nice feature to restore deleted or corrupted files and folders in Windows 7 without any additional tools. This is a Windows 7 built in tool to protect your data. This article explains the reasons why previous version (Shadow copy) not working in Windows 7 sometimes.

Available previous versions for a file or folder can be viewed in property tab.

Previous Version Not Working Windows

Here are the reasons why Previous version (Shadow Copy) not working in Windows 7.

1) This works only on NTFS partitions.

2) It is not enabled on the partition. By default shadow copy enabled on System partition (Windows installation partition) only. To check it, go to Advanced System Settings in System, select System Protection tab.

Previous Version Not Working Windows

In above example, any files and folders on ‘BACKUP (G)’ partition cannot be recovered by shadow copy because Protection is off but system partition ‘Win 7 (C)’ is on. You cannot see any previous versions on protection off partitions.

To enable shadow copy in particular partition, select the partition and press Configure.

Previous Version Not Working Windows

Select one of the two options to enable protection.  If you want to keep more previous versions of data then increase Disk space usage down. When size reaches the maximum, it will remove the earlier versions of shadow copy and keep newer versions.

3)      Disk Space Usage is set to very low or Particular partition is running out of space.

These two above issues will stop previous versions service in Windows 7. A disk having lot of data requires more space to keep previous versions. If disk space usage is set less than required space then shadow copy will not work.

Also, when disk space is set enough but space on partition is not enough to accommodate previous version data again shadow copy will not work in Windows 7.

So, make sure space is allocated properly and available.

4)      File or Folder has not been changed.

If nothing modified on file or folder, you can’t find previous version for it. Previous versions are only available for files that have been modified.

5)      Restore Point or Backup has not been done since the file modified.

Windows 7 does not create previous versions of a file immediately after it modified. Previous versions are being made when system restore point or Backup runs, which can be manual or automatic.  Check the System restore service if you can’t find any previous versions on Windows 7 or create a restore point manually. Press Create button on Step 2 for manual creation.

6)      It’s disabled by Administrator.

This is mostly applicable in Domain network.  If Domain administrator disabled previous versions on company network computers, then you can’t see it.

7)      Don’t Look for System Files and Folders.

Some system critical files and folders will not have these features, since it doesn’t require user manual restoration. System restore does the job to restore system files and folders.

8)      For Network shares, it should be enabled on Shared Server.

Shadow copy or previous versions should be enabled on shard server for network shares.

Still you are facing difficulties to access previous versions on Windows 7?

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

2 thoughts on “Why Previous Version (Shadow Copy) Not Working in Windows 7”

  1. I am running Windows 7 Professional and the “Previous Versions” function of a file was working okay. Then I took a recommendation from a utility I was using, to disable “Administrative Shares.” From then on, with any file, when I right clicked and then left clicked on “Previous Versions,” I got “No Previous Versions available.”

    I had to re-enable “Administrative Shares” to get a file’s “Previous Versions” to work correctly.

Comments are closed.