Have you ever deleted a file or folder from the desktop and emptied the recycle bin only to realise, seconds later, that you deleted the wrong one? Or have you ever edited a document, saved it, and then wanted to undo those changes?
Luckily, both Windows Vista and Windows 7 include a build-in feature called Shadow Copy that can solve this exact problem without you having to do anything. As you work with the files, Shadow Copy will automatically save incremental backups of your files in the background so if you accidentally delete or change a file, you can revert to the previous version with a simple right-click.
The Shadow Copy feature is available in all editions of Windows 7 but only in the Business and Ultimate editions of Vista. However, if your computer is running Vista Home Basic or Home Premium editions, you can still enjoy the Shadow Copy feature without upgrading your OS.
In that case, all you need is ShadowExplorer.com — a free utility that makes it easy for users of Vista Home Basic and Home Premium editions to view the shadow copies of files that Windows is already saving on to their systems. When you run the Shadow Explorer utility, you can browse through the folders just like you do on Windows Explorer and if you need to restore the previous version of any file or folder, simply right-click on the file or folder and click “Export.” This will allow you to save the file in the location of your choice so you don’t have to replace the most recent version.
The feature may also come in handy if your document gets damaged or you want to bring back the files that were deleted by a virus.
Amit Agarwal is a professional technology blogger at http://www.labnol.org