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Windows 7: looking for a versioning file system


08 Dec 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit)
 
 
looking for a versioning file system

I'm really not sure where to post this, so I apologize in advance if I should have put it somewhere else, and trust that someone will move it to where it belongs.

First, a little about my home setup: My family has a mix of machines on our network, running XP, Vista, and Windows 7 (plus one rarely used machine running W95 for an old favorite game we can't get to run properly on anything newer). Years ago, when replacing an old XP machine, instead of just trashing it, I decided to reconfigure it as an El Cheapo file server, reinstalling XP from scratch and adding a large (for the time) hard drive, most of which is shared over the network. Over time, I've continued to add disk space as needed, but kept to a minimal OS install.

Now, most of our family has come to rely on this shared storage space, as a means of accessing their stuff from whoever's computer happens to be closest instead of having to run to their own machine all the time to get things done. However, in the past month or so, I've had three instances where important, frequently edited files have had to be rebuilt from backups because of various communications errors or other glitches that occurred while saving updates to them.

I've come to the conclusion that it's probably time to demote some other machine to this file server role (which I'll probably be doing some time after the Christmas gifts are opened ), but it seems inevitable that THAT machine will also start acting flaky some years from now, and cause some future files to need to be similarly reconstructed. My question is, can I get and configure some sort of versioning file system for this machine so that with minimal (ideally no) forethought on the part of the end users, any file that is updated has the previous version automatically saved under an alternate name, and if another glitch occurs, we won't have to reconstruct more than the last session's worth of changes to it?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Dec 2012   #2
2xg
Microsoft MVP

Win7 & Win8 64bit
 
 

Hello,

It's always good to have extra backup, you may want to look into a NAS device and also Cloud solutions such as Dropbox or Skydrive as extra backup storage which you may access remotely anytime and anywhere.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit)
 
 

Thank you for the suggestions, but I already do backups; I'm looking for a better solution - one that doesn't require people to "do" anything. I want something that will automatically back up the old version of a file, at the moment the new version is being created. That way, if the new version turns out to be total junk, the latest old version is still available, even if it never made it to a backup location.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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10 Dec 2012   #4
2xg
Microsoft MVP

Win7 & Win8 64bit
 
 

Check out Sync Toy from Microsoft. You may configure the Task Scheduler to automatically backup your files using Sync Toy. Schedule SyncToy to Run Automatically With Task Scheduler in Windows 7 - How-To Geek
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Dec 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit)
 
 

Again, you're missing the point. Consider this scenario:

- I set up SyncToy or some similar tool to watch over our files and automatically back them up at regular intervals.
- I edit a file and when I'm done, I hit "Save and Exit"; the program then attempts to overwrite the old version with the new changes.
- Some stray cosmic rays hit my network while it's in the middle of sending the new version to the hard drive, and what actually gets saved turns out to be a megabyte of space characters. The program doing the saving doesn't realize that the save operation went haywire, and (like most programs) doesn't bother to check that what's on the disk now isn't actually what it told the thing to save; instead, it does what I told it to do - namely, immediately after the system reports that the "save" was done, it forgets all about my file and my changes to it and shuts down.
- SyncToy triggers some minutes or hours later, realizes that the base copy of the file was changed, and dutifully changes its backup copy to a megabyte of space characters.

Problem solved - I no longer have to worry about that file because I no longer have it; both the original and the backup are now equally useless.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 looking for a versioning file system




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