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Freqently Asked Questions - Previous Versions

What are Previous Versions?

They are copies of your H Drive taken automatically throughout the day.

Can anyone else see my Previous Versions?

Only the H Drive owner and IT Services administrative staff can see their H Drive and its Previous Versions.

Who can restore Previous Versions?

Everyone with an H Drive can use Previous Versions to restore old copies of their own data. Storage Administrators and Service desk personnel can also restore user H Drives when requested. Previous Versions only works with Windows workstations. It doesn’t work with Linux or Mac clients.

Can’t I just ask for a tape restore?

Yes, but Previous Versions are available without having to raise a Service Request, direct from Windows Explorer. Nightly tape backups are still available via the Service Desk if needed.

How can I go back to yesterday’s version of (file) or (folder)?

Find the folder you want to restore, right-click, select Restore Previous Versions. Scroll to the time and date you want, select it and click Open. From here you can copy the file(s) to your local workstation. Opening files (e.g. Word documents) directly from here will give an error if you try to save them.

Which button should I use?

To see the folder as it was at the time, use Open. To copy the entire folder automatically, use Copy. Restore is disabled on Managed workstations and should not be used as it automatically overwrites all of your current files with the older versions (and deletes anything you have created since the copy was taken).

How often are Previous Versions saved?

The default schedule creates a snapshot every two hours from 7am to 7pm each day. In order to preserve space and so prolong the life of the oldest copies, we will be experimenting with removing some of the old copies, as follows:

  Age of copy Copies kept
  0-3 days All (every two hours)
  4-7 days 13:00 each day
  8 days or more 13:00 each Monday


How far back can I go?

This depends on the space available on each server. Our tests have extended over two weeks into the past and should go considerably further. All H Drive servers will be starting from scratch on 05/11/2013.

Are there any problems with using Previous Versions?

Some applications (especially databases) “close” files when they are finished with them. A Previous Version of the file may not be in this closed state, and so may not work when copied back to your workstation. If you can, try picking a time when you were not using the application (e.g. 7pm or lunchtime).

If you edit a file after using the Open option, you must use Save As… to save it somewhere else. The normal Save option will try to save back to the copy location, and will give a file permission error.

The Restore option is dangerous, but we can't disable it for non-managed workstations. If you use it, we may not be able to recover deleted or overwritten data.