Archive of October 2017

Volume Shadow Copy

Ok, here's a fun one.

Imagine you have Outlook on your machine.  I know, this applies to almost nobody.

Run any given backup program, with Outlook open.

Your todaysfavouritebackupprogram will fail when it gets to a file like C:\Users\mark\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\.ost - because Outlook puts an exclusive lock on the file.

So what can you do?

Well, you'll probably think that a technology like Volume Shadow Copy (which is DESIGNED to copy open files) will be your friend.

So you create a backup thingy (that's the technical term), and you create a volume shadow copy, and you try to backup your file, which is now called something like

\\?\GLOBALROOT\Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy17\Users\mark\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\.ost


And guess what?  IT DOESN'T EXIST IN THE SHADOW COPY


Why?  I can hear you ask (yeah, from all the way over here)

Would you believe that it is excluded from the VSC BY DESIGN @ Microsoft.


So basically, you either close Outlook if you want to backup this file, or you don't backup this file.


Now, I know that OST files are basically just local caches, and you can regenerate them from the server, and whatever....but what if you want to get a mail back from two months ago that you deleted from the server?


Thanks, guys


Luckily, with AltexaBackup, you could write a small command to close outlook when it hits the OST file, then reopen it again when backup of that particular file is done.


Works, but it's ugly

Except, of course, since the OST file is just NOT THERE, you'd have to look for the lock file (~.ost.tmp) and act on that instead.

Works, but doubly ugly.

Come on guys, there could at least be an OPTION for this

AltexaBackup - Progress

Well it's been a while again. But I have actually been doing stuff behind the scenes. The backend DLL handling stuff is now a lot cleaner and doesn't load and unload DLLs all the time. The backup wizard is now much more pretty-er. The job handling code is much nicer, and foolproof. Logging is better too. The whole system will now compile and run properly for 64-bit as well as 32-bit Windows. Oh, and this:



Yes, Volume Shadow Copy creating is now working. On W10/8.1/7 in 32-bit and 64-bit mode.

It needs to be integrated into the worker (or I might actually do a separate .exe, it depends).

The only annoying thing is that when you use VSS on 64-bit Windows, you need to make 64-bit VSS calls, so you can't compile the application as a 32-bit application, because VSS just won't work. Putting the VSS stuff in a separate exe would keep the codebase cleaner, smaller, and easier to understand - and would allow the 32-bit app to run on 64-bit windows. I imagine that most users won't actually care about this detail, but hey, that's how it goes.