DiskShadow, the new in-box VSS requester in Windows Server 2008

There were many changes in Volume Shadowcopy Services (VSS) in Windows Server 2008. Probably the most visible of them is DiskShadow.exe,  the new command line tool for VSS. This new built-in requester can create and manage hardware and software shadow copies, interactively or in a script.

If you read my post about the basics of VSS, you know that a requester is the tool that commands the actual creation of shadow copies. Typically, this is a backup application like Data Protection Manager or a third-party backup software that runs on Windows Server.

DiskShadow is a somewhat unusual requester because it not designed to be a backup application per se (although you could if you like scripting). You can use it to check information about your all the different types of hardware and software snapshots you can have on a system.  You can also perform more unusual operations like importing shadow copy or reverting volumes.

Here are a few (but not all) of the commands you have in DiskShadow:

  • List – Lists VSS writers, VSS providers and shadow copies
  • Create – Creates a new shadow copy
  • Import – Imports a transportable shadow copy 
  • Expose – Exposes a persistent shadow copy (as a drive letter, for instance)
  • Revert – Reverts a volume back to a specified shadow copy

IT Administrators are an obvious target for this tool, but DiskShadow can also be handy for Developers creating their own VSS writer or VSS provider. This will help with the need to test that software without the added trouble of having a backup application commanding the snaps or having to call into the VSS API to do it.

More details about DiskShadow can be found at:

More details about VSS in general can be found at: