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Why do restore points in Windows Vista use so much disk space?

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Old 03-16-2007
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Why do restore points in Windows Vista use so much disk space?
You may have noticed that Restore Points on Vista take a lot more than the usual 50 or so megs as they did on XP. They can take up as much as 3GB at times.
If you ever wondered why, Eduardo (the Program Manager for System Restore at Microsoft) has a very nice explanation for this:
In Windows Vista, System Restore is now based on the VSS technology, which keeps track of block-level changes across your entire volume(s). In contrast, Windows XP System Restore would keep copies of changed system files by using a file system filter. The Windows XP method isn't performance efficient because it works above the file system level, impacting every system operation. It is also not consistent as it doesn't have needed information across the entire volume. It wouldn't restore, for instance, applications that place binaries (purposely or maliciously) in the user profile.

These new restore points, aka Shadow Copies, are taken daily across your volume, or at application/driver installation. The size of each shadow copy will vary on the amount of changed blocks are being recorded on your system. The more it churns, more data will be stored aside. Once they reach their cap, 15% of your volume, older shadow copies will be deleted to free up room for new ones. With these improvements in place, the Windows Vista solution allows for a more reliable (restore points are readily available), robust (supports a much broader set of repair scenarios) and efficient (seamless impact on performance) System Restore. The tradeoff of taking additional space is compensated by allowing features like Shadow Copy to work as an automatic local backup. With that you can restore previous versions of accidentally edited/deleted files and folders across your entire disk.
In my opinion this was a good tradeoff in the age of super cheap, extra large hard drives, we live in today. This always reminds me when back in 97 I got a 4 gig hard drive and the guy selling it to me told me - you will never fill it up! LOL! Via: TheFilingCabinet


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