Defining a schedule for shadow copies

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Defining a schedule for shadow copies

When you enable Shadow Copies of Shared Folders, a default schedule is also created. This schedule might work for your users, but it is important to consider the particular work habits of your users before defaulting to this schedule. You might want to consider the following questions:

  • Do most of your users work from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., Monday through Friday, in a single time zone?

  • Are users spread out across time zones? Does this mean that you need more copies throughout the day to cover all of the work hours?

  • How much work time can your users afford to lose? Will the default schedule of copies twice a day (7:00 A.M. and 12:00 noon, Monday through Friday) provide adequate coverage?

  • How often can copies be taken without you needing to add additional storage?

  • How many days of history can be retained before reaching the limit of 64 shadow copies?

You might want to create an initial schedule and deploy to a small group to test whether your scheduled shadow copies stay within the storage limits you set. Also, consider polling your users to find out their work habits and when they think that a shadow copy would be beneficial. This kind of information can help you determine the best schedule for your specific users.


  • It is recommended that you do not schedule copies to be taken more than once per hour.

For more information, see Change the schedule for creating shadow copies.