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Volume Shadow Copy Service

Volume Shadow Copy Service

(also VSS)

Volume Shadow Copy Service definition

Volume Shadow Copy Service is a Windows feature that allows for the creation of snapshots (or “shadow copies”) of data, even while files are in use. It works at the block level and captures changes made to files without interrupting user activity.

See also: shadow copy

Use cases of volume shadow copy service

  • Backup and restoration. VSS ensures backup processes capture consistent data snapshots, even if users edit files simultaneously. As a result, administrators can confidently restore systems, knowing that data is recent and reliable.
  • Data migration. When migrating to new hardware or systems, VSS can snap a precise copy of data in its current state. This ensures that no ongoing changes compromise the migration process.
  • Disaster recovery planning. Companies implement VSS as part of their disaster recovery strategy. By taking regular shadow copies, they’re better equipped to recover data after unforeseen disruptions.
  • Version tracking for compliance. For industries bound by regulatory standards, VSS provides a way to track and recover previous versions of documents. This ensures that companies can demonstrate document history and compliance during audits.
  • Testing environments. Developers and IT teams can use VSS to create copies of live environments for testing. These snapshots allow them to simulate scenarios and troubleshoot issues.

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