Diskshadow

Applies to: Windows Server (Semi-Annual Channel), Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012

Diskshadow.exe is a tool that exposes the functionality offered by the volume shadow copy Service (VSS). By default, Diskshadow uses an interactive command interpreter similar to that of Diskraid or Diskpart. Diskshadow also includes a scriptable mode.

Note

Membership in the local Administrators group, or equivalent, is the minimum required to run Diskshadow.

Syntax

For interactive mode, type the following at the command prompt to start the Diskshadow command interpreter:

diskshadow

For script mode, type the following, where script.txt is a script file containing Diskshadow commands:

diskshadow -s script.txt

Parameters

You can run the following commands in the Diskshadow command interpreter or through a script file. At a minimum, only add and create are necessary to create a shadow copy. However, this forfeits the context and option settings, will be a copy backup, and creates a shadow copy with no backup execution script.

Command Description
set command Sets the context, options, verbose mode, and metadata file for creating shadow copies.
load metadata command Loads a metadata .cab file prior to importing a transportable shadow copy or loads the writer metadata in the case of a restore.
writer command verifies that a writer or component is included or excludes a writer or component from the backup or restore procedure.
add command Adds volumes to the set of volumes that are to be shadow copied, or adds aliases to the alias environment.
create command Starts the shadow copy creation process, using the current context and option settings.
exec command Executes a file on the local computer.
begin backup command Starts a full backup session.
end backup command Ends a full backup session and issues a backupcomplete event with the appropriate writer state, if needed.
begin restore command Starts a restore session and issues a prerestore event to involved writers.
end restore command Ends a restore session and issues a postrestore event to involved writers.
reset command Resets Diskshadow to the default state.
list command Lists writers, shadow copies, or currently registered shadow copy providers that are on the system.
delete shadows command Deletes shadow copies.
import command Imports a transportable shadow copy from a loaded metadata file into the system.
mask command Removes hardware shadow copies that were imported by using the import command.
expose command Exposes a persistent shadow copy as a drive letter, share, or mount point.
unexpose command Unexposes a shadow copy that was exposed by using the expose command.
break command Disassociates a shadow copy volume from VSS.
revert command Reverts a volume back to a specified shadow copy.
exit command Exits the command interpreter or script.

Examples

This is a sample sequence of commands that will create a shadow copy for backup. It can be saved to file as script.dsh, and executed using diskshadow /s script.dsh.

Assume the following:

  • You have an existing directory called c:\diskshadowdata.

  • Your system volume is C: and your data volume is D:.

  • You have a backupscript.cmd file in c:\diskshadowdata.

  • Your backupscript.cmd file will perform the copy of shadow data p: and q: to your backup drive.

You can enter these commands manually or script them:

#Diskshadow script file
set context persistent nowriters
set metadata c:\diskshadowdata\example.cab
set verbose on
begin backup
add volume c: alias systemvolumeshadow
add volume d: alias datavolumeshadow

create

expose %systemvolumeshadow% p:
expose %datavolumeshadow% q:
exec c:\diskshadowdata\backupscript.cmd
end backup
#End of script

Additional References