ShadowExplorer

Description

Shadow Explorer (SE) is provided as a tool to help with the management and testing of VSS writers, hardware providers, and volumes created by VSS and VDS shadow copy. SE is provided "AS IS".

Shadow Explorer (SE) contains online help that will walk the user through most of the basic options that are useful to end users. The online help and this readme.txt file are all of the documentation and support for this tool. It is recommended that the user read through the online help and this readme.txt file before using SE.

Usage

Known Issues

Below are listed the known issues for Shadow Explorer (SE) version 1.3.

Mount Points

When creating a shadow of a volume that has a mount point that points to one or more other volumes, the target volume(s) will not be shadowed. The target volume(s) will need to be shadowed individually.

GUI Refresh

The SE may have a delayed refresh of some items such as shadows when using hardware providers. If an item does not show up when expected, right-click the option and select refresh.

A shadow placeholder called "fake" may appear under My Shadows when no shadows are present and can be ignored.

Restore to Alternate Location

This method is not implemented in this release of SE.

Unsupported Writers

The following writers are not fully supported with this version of SE: cluster writer, FRS writer, and the System Writer. Although these writers are not fully supported by SE, you may be able to restore them by copying their data from the shadow. Please see the online help for more information about other writer support.

File and Folder Permissions

Be aware that files and folders copied from shadows or the default backup location will inherit the default file and folder permissions of the volume that they are copying the file to, just as they would if copying a file from one volume to another.

Deleting Volumes

If a volume contains a persistent shadow, you may not be able to delete the volume until this persistent shadow is removed.

Windows XP Support

SE is not supported on Windows XP.

Best Practices

The following are the best practices for using SE version 1.3.

Hardware Providers

Hardware providers all have different behavior and are especially susceptible to configuration issues. The Virtual Disk Service (VDS) and the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) may need to be restarted. If you have been able to create shadows and if you are subsequently unable to create shadows, there may be an issue with either of these services. Stop and then restart these services. In select cases, the machine may need to be reset to get the VDS and VSS service in a controllable state. Please see the Windows Event Logs for additional information. It is expected that most of these issues will go away as hardware providers are released.

Special Note for Hardware Providers

As of the date of this release, no hardware providers have been certified for use with SE. All hardware providers tested were in their pre-release version. It is expected that the user has good knowledge of shadow technology and related hardware. It is highly recommended that users needing to use SE try the operations that they wish to test in a non-production environment first to verify that it will work in their environment.

Software Providers

If you are experiencing difficulty in creating software shadows using the Microsoft VSS writer, you may need to wait until the VSS service is back to a state that allows shadows to be created (approximately six minutes). In some cases, you may need to recycle the VSS service.

Install From Media (IFM)

When creating additional domain controllers using SE, it is recommended that the user obtains the SYSVOL (group policies) directly from the domain controller that is being replicated. This will save a great deal of time in not having to rename any group policy files. The next version of SE contains a complete IFM solution that will address the group policy issue.

Restore Methods

SE has the ability to use different restore methods for databases. It is recommended that the user uses the default method. Other methods may or may not work depending upon the particular writer involved. Many of the non-default options in the GUI are for writer testing purposes only.