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Managing Restore Point Space in Windows 7 Through the GUI

Managing Restore Point Space at the Command Line

For those who may want to resize volume shadow space allocation in scripts (or who just like working on the command line), there is a Windows utility called vssadmin that will do the job quite nicely in that environment.

Figure 4 shows the command–line help information for the base vssadmin command.

Figure 4 Vssadmin can provide all kinds of information about shadow copies and their providers, and manage space.

What we're interested in falls under the vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage heading, so Figure 5 shows its command–line help information.

Figure 5 Help information for resizing shadowstorage using vssadmin.

Thus, the syntax to resize the shadow storage on the C: drive to 4.0 GB is as follows, per the instructions:

Vssadmin Resize ShadowStorage /For=C: /On=C: /MaxSize=4GB

A word of warning: Whether you downsize volume shadow storage through the GUI or at the command line, the net result will be to delete as many restore points as are necessary to get beneath the new storage ceiling you just defined. Set the ceiling too low (the minimum acceptable value is 200 MB) and all your restore points will summarily vanish. This is not a good thing!

That's also why it's seldom a good idea to use the Delete button that appears at the bottom right on Figure 3 earlier in this article. It, too, gets rid of all restore points. If you want to prune restore points savagely, you're actually better off going into Disk Cleanup (type Disk Cleanup in the Start menu search box, pick the system drive, click Clean up system files, click the More Options tab on the Disk Cleanup for System (C:) window, and then finally click the Clean up... button in the "System Restore and Shadow Copies" pane shown in Figure 6). This gets rid of all restore points except the most recent one[md]a much less scary proposition!

Figure 6 A kinder, gentler savage pruning for restore points in Windows 7.

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