Restoring Files and Folders

Restoring Files from a Shared Drive

Have you ever had to call ITS to request a tape-backup restore from your Departmental Space (or dspace) drive?  It can be a painful process – waiting to hear that your file has been restored; hoping ITS can restore the right version.  Now, you don’t have to call and wait – you can do it yourself!

ITS has enabled our shared drives to automatically create backup copies of all files that have changed, every two hours.  ITS is committed to storing at least two weeks of changes, but we hope to hold four to six weeks of data.   (ITS is still doing tape backups, as always.)

The rest of this document explains how you can retrieve these files yourself.  Here is what you need:

  • You must be running Windows 7 or Vista (XP users can do this too, but they will need to install the Previous Versions client first; this installation is explained at the end of this document)
  • You must be able to write to the shared drive (If you can map the drive and add new files, you can do this)
  • You must be careful – while it is simple to restore a file, it is equally easy to accidentally make a mess of things by hurrying or restoring the wrong version

If the file was accidentally deleted, proceed to the DELETED FILE section below.

DAMAGED  FILE: Verify that the file is corrupt, broken, damaged or out of date.  The easiest method is to use another computer or have another person look at it.  Do NOT delete the bad file until you are certain you have successfully recovered the backup copy.

To check if a backup copy of a damaged file is available, right-click on the filename.  Look on the mini-menu for “Restore previous versions” (see Figure 1) and click it.  If “Restore previous versions” is not on your right-click menu (XP users) you need to install the client – see the end of this document.

This will bring up a new window (see Figure 2).  If there are no backups, you will see “There are no previous versions available”.  If there are versions, they will be dated, so you can select the right one based on date and/or time.

Near the bottom of the “Previous Versions” window (see Figure 2), there are three buttons:

OPEN:  This reads the previous version into the default application.  (If it is a document, it is read into Word.  If it is a picture, it is opened in your Viewer.   Spreadsheets are opened by Excel, and so on.)  Look at this previous version carefully to determine if it is the version you want to keep.  If it is not the correct file, exit the application WITHOUT SAVING, and open a different version.

Once you are certain that you are looking at the correct one, you can use “Save as…” to write it to your shared folder using a different filename.  Then, when you are very certain, you can safely delete the damaged original.

COPY:  This opens yet another window where you select the destination folder to place the retrieved file.  The filename is not changed, so be cautious on where you restore it.

Do not attempt to use COPY on a folder or directory.

RESTORE:  Be cautious using this button!  (Never use this button.)  It replaces the bad file with the previous version.  The original will be gone – you will not be able to fall back to it.

Do not attempt to use RESTORE on a folder or directory.


Figure 1


Figure 2


DELETED FILE: If you need to restore an accidentally deleted file, you must right-click on the folder that contained that file, and choose “Restore previous versions” (similar to Figure 1).  This will bring up a new window (similar to Figure 2) with folders listed instead of files.  DO NOT attempt to Copy or Restore a folder!  Instead, double-click on the folder with the correct date (before the file was deleted); this will open yet another window with all available files listed.

  • If your file is not listed, close the window and double-click on an earlier date
  • Right-click on your missing filename and choose Copy (don’t use the Copy button)
  • Close the top window, also close the Previous Version window (Figure 2)
  • Right-click and choose Paste to place the retrieved file where it belongs

SUMMARY: Remember: the “Previous Versions” software only works on departmental shared drives on Space and Dspace.  It doesn’t work on your “M: drive” or your email.

If you move a file into a different folder, the file will loose its Previous Version history however they can be restored if you treat the file as if it were a deleted file.  (Go to the original folder and proceed as if it were accidently removed.)

Here’s a nice tidbit for those who have read this far:  Previous Versions comes with Windows 7 and Vista!  You can use the above procedures on your hard drives to restore your own files, such as “My Documents”!  (XP users can ONLY restore Space shared drives, even after installing the client.)


Installing the “Previous Versions” Client (XP users)

You must login as an administrative user.  If you do not have this ability, contact the HelpDesk (x52929) to schedule an install.

  1. Most users already have the i: drive mapped.  If not, you will need to map a drive to:
  2. Change folder to:  PreviousVersions
  3. Double-click on:  twcli32.msi
  4. Follow on-screen instructions.
  5. You only need to install “Previous Versions” once.


If you have any questions or would like assistance with restoring files and folders, please contact the ITS Help Desk:

Phone Support: (603) 535-2929
Live Support (see link to the right)
In person: Information Desk at Lamson Library and Learning Commons
Submit a Support Ticket or Check the Status of an Existing Request (requires authentication with your myPlymouth username and password)


System Status

All ITS systems Operational

July 7th, 2014 by Jo-Ann

All ITS systems are operational. If you have any questions, please contact the Help Desk at or (603) 535-2929.