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Microsoft Adds Risky System-Wide Undelete to Vista

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the choose-wisely dept.

365

douder writes "Windows Vista will have a new 'previous versions' feature when it ships next year. According to Ars Technica, the feature is built off of the volume shadow copy technology from Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Now turned on by default, the service stores the modified versions of a user's documents, even after they are deleted. They also report that you can browse folders from within Explorer to see snapshots of what they contained over time. It can be disabled, but this seems like a privacy concern." From the article: "Some users will find the feature objectionable because it could give the bossman a new way to check up on employees, or perhaps it could be exploited in some nefarious way by some nefarious person. Previous versions of Windows were still susceptible to undelete utilities, of course, but this new functionality makes browsing quite, quite simple. On the other hand, it should be noted that 'Previous Versions' does not store its data in the files themselves. That is, unlike Microsoft Office's 'track changes,' files protected with 'Previous Versions' will not carry their documentary history with them."

cancel ×

365 comments

Could really use that right about now... (0, Offtopic)

Virak (897071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814363)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

I think I deleted slashdot.

Re:Could really use that right about now... (3, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814407)

Ever hear someone think they deleted or crashed the internet? I have.

Re:Could really use that right about now... (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814453)

There is a great extension for firefox called Nuke Anything [mozilla.org] which allows you to remove sections from pages.
My missus had a great time deleting all the geeky stuff from slashdot.

You should have seen her face drop though when I told her she had actually removed it from the internet.

Someone at work once asked ... no *told* me ... (2, Funny)

DikSeaCup (767041) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814572)

To fix Google.

They had done a quoted search for the title of a particular book. Unfortunately, several porn sites included that title in the meta tags for their home page.

So when they did the search, and it popped up the porn sites, they were quite offended and were absolutely sure that "Google is broken" and that I could "fix it."

I explained the situation to them (but there was a language barrier, not to mention a lack of the capability to understand much) and then reported it to my supervisor. When he encountered the person later (as they took an opportunity to attempt to complain about it), he explained to them the situation again, and said that if they didn't understand the simple concepts or could develop basic computer and internet skills and understanding, he had no position that they could fill.

Re:Someone at work once asked ... no *told* me ... (2, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814596)

Let me guess. Was the book title being searched for Splendor in the Ass? Or was it A Sale of Two Titties?

Re:Could really use that right about now... (1)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814584)

Yeah, I hear people think all the time... Nice to meet a fellow telepath!

I trust Microsoft completely. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814366)

Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all...

Re:I trust Microsoft completely. (1)

Wescotte (732385) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814395)

Would you plasee let me in on this joke? I've seen it twice now and not sure wtf it's all about? Something to do with SQL?

Re:I trust Microsoft completely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814672)

It's a new slashdot meme.

Nothing like it. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814368)

Whoa.

This is a great feature (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814374)

The security risks could be eliminated by encrypted the user's home directory, a la Mac OS X.

It's a fantastic feature. I remember Novell Netware had this and we used it a lot to roll back changes to code. It was better than version control when only one person was working on the project.

I wonder if OS X 10.5 was going to have such a feature and it leaked out. This is actually a quasi-innovative idea from Microsoft. Maybe they stole it from Apple via corporate spying.

Re:This is a great feature (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814444)

except they removed that due to corporate complaints

Re:This is a great feature (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814599)

or was that only in XP?

Re:This is a great feature (5, Informative)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814450)

The security risks could be eliminated by encrypted the user's home directory, a la Mac OS X.

It's a fantastic feature. I remember Novell Netware had this and we used it a lot to roll back changes to code. It was better than version control when only one person was working on the project.

I wonder if OS X 10.5 was going to have such a feature and it leaked out. This is actually a quasi-innovative idea from Microsoft. Maybe they stole it from Apple via corporate spying.


Ok, you do realize Windows has had encryption for like 10 years now, right? Or are Mac Zealots just naturally unaware of anything without an Apple logo on it?

You also realize this has been in WinXP and Windows 2003 Server for quite some time, so I doubt they stole the idea from OSX 10.5. (geesh)

As for the Versioning in Vista, the new thing is that it is turned on by default and works on local volumes, where WinXP required the data to be on a Windows 2003 Server.

Also, there aren't security risks, and this article is nothing but FUD. Windows Server has had this ability for 'versioning' files since 2003, and BUSINESSES have already been using it.

It also is a great tool, especially when you accidentally nuke a file, or change and save a file you didn't mean to, etc. Versioning archives are more handy than a 'problem'. (Truly)

If you are an employee, don't be doing crap at work, they own the computers, download your goat porn at home and don't be writing your resume while at work.

Also, as an employee if you are half way bright, you can purge the 'versioned' copies, unless the company doesn't allow you to with group policies. And again, it is their computer, so they can do what they freaking want if you work there.

Re:This is a great feature (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814490)

Thank you.

Re:This is a great feature (-1)

crashelite (882844) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814518)

just dont boot your mac in targert disk mode or u will loose all ur home directory dew to the image becoming corrupt and stuff because of file vault... and in reality NO employee should care if their boss is snooping on them or not... if the IT has it so all data is stored on the server he might have the shadow copy on the 2003 server ON anyways... so in reality the user in a work enviorment does not own the computer at their desk (most the time) and does not own the network so all actions are uppon the owner... hence if bill in accounting is on myspace at work and then is hitting on a "12year old named jane" who is really a cop named bob... the owner gets the lawsuit too not just the employee... dew to that he was providing the means of access... what is really messed up...

Re:This is a great feature (4, Interesting)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814486)

I wonder if OS X 10.5 was going to have such a feature and it leaked out. This is actually a quasi-innovative idea from Microsoft. Maybe they stole it from Apple via corporate spying.

Microsoft got this one much more directly. Windows NT started out as basically the next version of VMS, designed and written almost entirely by former DECies (one rumor has it that the "NT" came from taking VMS and adding one to each letter to get WNT...) VMS has had a feature like this for years. It predates not only OS/X, but the Macintosh in general. I can remember using in about 1981 or so -- I don't remember for sure, but VMS 3 is what sticks in my mind -- and I don't think it was new then (it seemed pretty cool to me after dealing with Control Data mainframes, but the people who'd been using VMS longer didn't seem to think of it as new or exciting).

Re:This is a great feature (4, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814597)

I don't think it was new then

The VMS filesystem (Files 11) was an evolution of earlier DEC filesystems and had versioning buit in from the start. There's also a more user-oriented versioning filesystem which has been in development for Linux for the past few years.
http://sourceforge.net/projects/versionfs/ [sourceforge.net]

No, not really. (4, Interesting)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814627)

This versioning in NT is based on a generic disk-snapshot system (similar to Linux's LVM, FreeBSD's gvinum stuff, Solaris DiskSuite, NetApp, etc. etc.)
The VMS versioning was done in the file system itself. This system (and many related systems) are done at a layer underneath the filesystem, and are often filesystem agnostic.

People like to say that Windows NT borrows a lot from VMS. That's like saying Linux borrows a lot from Multics. There isn't really _anything_ in common, but they are in the same spirit.

Versioning is not innovative (1)

lokedhs (672255) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814507)

SCO used to have this feature back in the 90's. Also, the VMS filesystem [wikipedia.org] has had versioning since several decades back, and according to the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] the feature was first found in TENEX which was created in 1969.

It can be disabled, right? (3, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814376)

FTA:
With Windows Vista, the operating system will make "shadow" (that is, backup) copies of files and folders for users who have "System Protection" enabled (the default setting).
Sounds to me like those of us who turn "System Protection" off, which would be one of my first few post-install steps, don't have to worry about the new features. Much ado about nothing, it appears...

Re:It can be disabled, right? (4, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814438)

Incidentally, regarding "That is, unlike Microsoft Office's 'track changes,' files protected with 'Previous Versions' will not carry their documentary history with them":

You use the Remove Hidden Data [microsoft.com] add-in to get rid of all that Office stuff. Strongly recommended before submitting a resume...

Re:It can be disabled, right? (2, Funny)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814679)

Strongly recommended before submitting a resume... I can just picture where this could go: "Seeking a position as a full-time BDSM instructor" in one copy, "Seeing a position as full-time kindergarten teacher," in another.

Re:It can be disabled, right? (3, Insightful)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814538)

Every time MS releases a new ServicePack or OS, I find that I'll have to disable more and more shit to make it work like Win2k.

How about MS disables the service by default. If a user right-clicks on a trackable file (I'm assuming that this won't track changes on updated game executables, my PHP/CSS templates, OpenOffice documents, etc), then have an option to start tracking. If the user selects that, then enable the appropriate services.

Same with the Firewall and FastUserSwitching. When you connect to the internet, have a well-worded dialog box that asks me to enable the firewall service. When I select Switch User from the logoff options, popup a dialog asking if I want to enable that too.

Turn off more shit by default. Don't just enable everything. Seriously, who the fuck needs Remote Registry, Portable Media Serial Number, TCP/IP NetBios, and all that other useless shit? Sure, you might need one or two things, but do you need 55 services starting on a default install?

Build in the functionality. Disable it by default. When the user triggers an event that needs the service, ask him if he really wants to do that. From that point on, leave that service enabled.

Re:It can be disabled, right? (2, Interesting)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814568)

System Protection will probably include System Restore, which is pretty much an invaluable feature. It's saved my ass (and people's asses I know) more than a few times when we're working on Windows boxen. You never know when the registry is going to crap out.

i dont get it... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814382)

"could give the bossman a new way to check up on employees"

Um, your work computer is the property of your employer. If you want to do something that would get you in trouble with your boss - put it on your own computer. Plus all this does is back up files that you have made, how is this a privacy concern? Even if this was happening and you never knew it and uploading all your files to a central server, it's still an option of your employer, and not an invasion of privacy, it's crappy, but the option of your boss and his/her company. Just like the fact that they can read your business email. No different, and to me even less intrusive than that since you can't control incoming mail.

Re:i dont get it... (1)

miskatonic alumnus (668722) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814441)

If you want to do something that would get you in trouble with your boss - put it on your own computer.

Nahh. Just encrypt it.

This is only a good thing (4, Insightful)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814385)

Amazing that a Good Thing gets turned into a big-brother or privacy issue just because it's Microsoft. Shadow copy has saved my ass twice in the past year and the more it's available, the better. If employees are worried about the boss checking up on them, then maybe they should just do their job.

Keep in mind that the goal and justification of a desktop is productivity, not some vaguely defined "monitoring" issue.

Re:This is only a good thing (2, Insightful)

iMaple (769378) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814428)

I agree.

It wont really affect performace since it uses 15% of the available space for the system restore including the shadow copies. That isnt too heavy (in terms of harddsik space). It shouldnt really take noticeably more time as the system doesnt really copy over the old file to a physically different location.

Anyway if I ever use Vista I'm going to turn this off (I dont like undelete like utilities). But I think this would still be very useful feature for say, my grandma.

Re:This is only a good thing (4, Funny)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814469)

Amazing that a Good Thing gets turned into a big-brother or privacy issue just because it's Microsoft.

This just in... It appears there is a nefarious "feature" in several versions of Windows which can allow a nefarious person to nefariously see all those files you thought you deleted. It's called the "Recycle Bin" and many people are sure that it's the NSA ('N' for Nefarious?) that's behind the addition of the feature.

Re:This is only a good thing (4, Interesting)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814602)

Amazing that a Good Thing gets turned into a big-brother or privacy issue just because it's Microsoft. Shadow copy has saved my ass twice in the past year and the more it's available, the better. If employees are worried about the boss checking up on them, then maybe they should just do their job.

Actually, I'd be more worried about what can be discovered in a lawsuit - the raw ruminations of some employee could be very damaging - whether or not they were correct. This makes it harder to destroy working papers. In the old days, we kept all our working papers on a disk and then destroyed the disk along with our hard copy working papers - that way no one had to worry about what could be dredged up in a lawsuit.

Re:This is only a good thing (2, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814673)

talk about a terrible way to do business. Those "working" papers could save your neck as well as hang it depending on the lawsuit in question. Course the company I work for will always make an attempt to make it right before proceeding with any kind of litigation. In situations like these should a suit come to discovery we'll need every piece of information we can get our hands on. With todays patent minefield I don't think this is a bad stance to take at all.

Re:This is only a good thing (1)

jimktrains (838227) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814612)

What makes this differnt from Copy on Write and any security complains there (not that I'm aware of any)

a good thing for certain corporations (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814661)

Maxtor, Seagate, Samsung, Western Digital...

Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814386)

Good luck if I run it under a VM.. If I have to run it at all...

So that means... (3, Funny)

dexomn (147950) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814387)

If I get my hands on a beta of vista I can undelete things that I won't create for years?

Another reason the hardware requirements are high. (-1, Flamebait)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814388)

Now we know why the hardware requirements are so high, especially the disk requirements. Not only will it be full of bloated code and eye candy, it's expected to keep every version of every file you ever work on. Forever. Expect to be buying bigger and bigger hard disks as they fill up with redundant copies of things you don't want anymore. Thanks NanoLimp for forcing your customers to keep upgrading, even if they don't want to.

Re:Another reason the hardware requirements are hi (2, Interesting)

zxnos (813588) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814415)

eh? diyertfa?

With Windows Vista, the operating system will make "shadow" (that is, backup) copies of files and folders for users who have "System Protection" enabled (the default setting).

In Windows Vista, each partition that is protected by "System Restore" requires at least 300MB of space, and may use up to 15 percent of the available space on a partition to store previous versions of files. In the event that more space is required, the service will delete older restore points to make room for new ones.

Um, no. (2, Interesting)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814422)

In a normal office environment, assuming you can keep the porn and mp3's under control, people don't create enough bits in the course of a day to be an issue. Remember that this is the age of 300Gig harddrives for $100.

Just more overhead (5, Insightful)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814390)

As with System Restore, Windows Firewall, Remote Assistance, etc... just disable, delete and install better applications to provide the same functionality. MS should just focus on security, stability, and releasing the damn thing.

http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

MS DOS and Undelete (4, Interesting)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814476)

Just out of curiousity, the ability to effectively undelete things ought to rely on the filesystem. In the old days of MS dos, the first chars of the filename were simply changed to a reserved character, which was actually faster than going through and deleting the whole file. When the file system wanted to create a new file, it might use the nodes marked with the "it's ok to delete me flag". That's why MS Dos 6.22 and its brethren required you to type in the first char of the filename when you undeleted a file. So actually no, there's actually no overhead in creating a comprehensive file undelete system. Any 3rd party which implemented the same thing, might cause it to be slower.

If they could be fast in MS DOS 6.22, I don't see why XP would make the feature inherently slower.

Same thing with NTFS (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814551)

It doesn't actually delete your data, just flag the space as free. The problem is that undeletion in that matter is unrelaible at best. A fiel is at any time subject to partial or complete overwrite, even if there's ample free space on the drive. When it's flagged as free the OS sees it as free period. There's no prioritisng the free space to not overwrite newley delete files (DOS was the same way).

This gives you more reliability. The files are stored and aren't messed with until the space is needed. So if you delete something and still have 500GB free, it'll keep the file since you can afford the space and it'll be marked as allocated and thus not overwritten. Also, it looks like it does version tracking too. If you overrote a file on a FAT or NTFS volume, it writes it to the same space it occupies before, makes sense to do it that way. However that means if you mess up and make a change you didn't want to, there's no undo. You replaced the bytes, it's too late. This will go and keep a copy prior to the change you can roll back to.

Basically it's similar to how NetApp units work. It provides storage that's reliable even against user faults. Things like RAID are great, but they protect only against hardware falure. You can still fuck your data up. There's a market, and MS seems to think the home desktop includes it, for systems that are resiliant against that. You decided to delete 5 paragraphs of that paper and save it, and then deleted it form the disk but now want it? Ok no problem, not only do we have the deleted version, we have the pre modificaiton version.

We use a NetApp FAS 270 at work for home directories for this reason. We aren't really concerned about disk reliability, though it's excellent for that too, and we go to tape nightly. We want to be able to save people from themselves. When they screw something up, we want to be able to get a non-screwed up copy.

MS wants to bring that to home computers. Will it be worth the performance impact? Guess that's too be seen. However it's certianly a good idea in general. What most users really need and want, even if they don't know it, is protection from their own mistakes.

Re:MS DOS and Undelete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814622)

In the old days of MS dos, the first chars of the filename were simply changed to a reserved character, which was actually faster than going through and deleting the whole file.

No, it actually did go through and delete the whole file. It just didn't rewrite every sector in the directory to collapse the space that the name used. This is why, if you used undelete on a fragmented file, you'd end up with garbage from other deleted files mixed in. All the clusters in the file were marked as free, which destroys the chain required to connect fragmented files. You've got the name except for the first character and the first cluster. After that it's guesswork.

When the file system wanted to create a new file, it might use the nodes marked with the "it's ok to delete me flag".

Nodes, yes... in FAT...

If they could be fast in MS DOS 6.22, I don't see why XP would make the feature inherently slower.

FAT is an incredible simple and stupid file system. NTFS is not. Additionally, undelete on FAT was unreliable and exploited the way delete just happened to work.

Re:MS DOS and Undelete (2, Interesting)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814631)

All modern day file systems use this technique already. When you delete files in NTFS (or do a "quick format") all it's doing is changing the writeover bits in the file allocation table. The data is then free to be written over when the OS chooses. You can, in theory, restore files by scanning for table, doing a comparison to what's on the disk and seeing if the data has been written over. This is how 3rd-party recovery utilities work on XP.

The trouble is a UI issue, not a technical one. Many users in the DOS-era (that knew about the utility) started to rely on it to recover data. It was really just a crapshoot, though. Since computing was going mainstream, you needed something easier to understand that would "undelete" the file every time.

When MacOS and Windows came about, they introduced the concept of a temporary holding area for "deleted" files (the Trash Can and Recycling Bin respectively). The companies told users "put stuff here when you want to delete it, drag it out when you want to 'undelete'". It was a concept much easier to understand and "always worked" (as long as people put stuff in the can/bin and didn't delete fully the first time).

Now, users in work situations are getting used to regular backups and being able to call the IT guys any time a file goes missing (or they need an earlier version). Many people, however, do not have a reliable backup system at home. All MS is shifting the onus of backups away from the user to an automated system. (One that, coincidentally, can still be controlled by the IT guys).

VSS, as a tech, actually works quite well. It's used in almost every major backup solution on Windows because it reliably "freezes" files that are locked before backup. I think VSS will be a good solution to the "mother calling son because she deleted a recipe" problem.

Re:Just more overhead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814615)

Windows is a mess. Look at all the files sittings at the top level (c:) after a fresh install.

I want only 3 directories in "c:" and no other file:

windows (inside, all the mess Microsoft needs to make its OS work)
programs (inside, one folder per program)
home (inside, one folder per user)

They should be completely independent. In particular, replace the "windows" directory with an old backup and all the programs (even those installed after the backup) should still work. This implies that installing a program shouldn't put anything critical outside of its program directory, which in turn implies that installers could be just zip archives.

Simplicity in backing up the OS, the programs, and the user data independently. THAT would be progress. Instead Microsoft gives us complexity and wizards to manage it. :(

Which ones are those? (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814666)

Windows is a mess. Look at all the files sittings at the top level (c:) after a fresh install.

I've got 13, and that's only because it's a boot drive:

Documents and Settings
Program Files
Recycler
System Volume Information
WINDOWS
autoexec.bat
boot.ini
config.sys
io.sys
msdos.sys
ntdetect.com
ntldr

Each of them has a good reason to be there. So what's your problem?

Now, while the Program Files and Windows directories are kind of tied together per installation (only limited by the installed program's abilities to re-instate themselves into the registry, which is a sadly lacking feature), the Documents and Settings folder (or rather, it's subfolders) are migratable.

So what now?

Re: gasmonso, please stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814623)

gasmonso

Please stop advertising your website in the body of your posts. It's already in your homepage spot. We don't need to see it twice.

Thanks,
/.

Damn Microsoft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814391)

So this is bad because "...perhaps it could be exploited in some nefarious way by some nefarious person"?

So, um, turn it off if you don't like it. I personally am going to love this feature.

Typo? (5, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814399)

On our test system in the lab we were able to browse the "Documents" folder through Explorer as it appeared several days ago, making note of what had and had not changed. This means that Joe User won't necessarily escape his new overloads merely by deleting his "Dangerous Thoughts" folder or using a "wipe" utility to overwrite the file. It is also not possible to delete the files from within Explorer when viewing archived data.
Don't they mean Overlords?

/I for one welcome the Previous Versions of our new Overlords.

Looks cool (5, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814401)

I don't get the privacy concern. If someone gains physical access to your machine, then the contents are vulnerable unless you take active steps to prevent it. People have known forever that stuff may not be lost forever just because it's deleted. This feature doesn't change that.

The issue is that this makes it "easier" but I can't help but see that as a neat feature.

The really silly part is this:

Some users will find the feature objectionable because .. perhaps it could be exploited in some nefarious way by some nefarious person.
If that's what keeps you up at night, then you better give up on all technology, not just this.

Re:Looks cool (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814461)

. . . you better give up on all technology . . .

You can have my pointy stick when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

KFG

privacy concern? (1)

Eric604 (798298) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814409)

It can be disabled (and should be by default or asked for on first boot) If it's easy to locate the enabled folders (like your shared folders) then I don't see a problem with privacy.

already in windows 2003 r2 and sharepoint (4, Informative)

mytrip (940886) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814418)

If you have windows 2003 r2 or sharepoint, you already have this feature. I enabled it on our network and people like it. there is a previous versions tab when right clicking a file in xp and selecting properties and then "previous versions". You tell windows 2003 r2 how much space you want to allocation for previous versions and then how often you want it to index versions of changed documents. It has saved me a lot of trouble restoring from backup when someone saves a change they didnt mean to make.

Re:already in windows 2003 r2 and sharepoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814496)

Actually, it has been in 2003 since its initial release, not just R2.

It has saved my IT hours many hours of restoring backups. I can hardly see how it's a bad thing that it's on by default. This same argument was probably made when Windows 95 came with a Recycle Bin. How many asses has the Recycle Bin saved?

Re:already in windows 2003 r2 and sharepoint (1)

mytrip (940886) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814535)

Kind of. You could enable previous versions and access various versions through sharepoint. Perhaps I should have said it has been much more easy to use in 2003 r2.

Recycle Bin (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814570)

I instinctively hold SHIFT when I delete files.

How dare you question my decisions, explorer.exe! DOWN BOY, DOWN.

Besides, doesn't everyone rsync their old garbage to a file server or burn a DVD before deleting old files to make space?
Oh, you dont? (not necessarily directed to parent) Your loss.

reason number 452 (0, Troll)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814432)

not to switch from XP.... Um.. Thanks M$ for letting me save some cash.... I guess

You should change your name to Rookie One... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814614)

We've had this kind of ability since MS-DOS 6.22 (Maybe earlier?) and XP has this feature if the data resides on a 2003 server. Well, XP Pro anyways, not sure about Home. C'mon, can't you find a better reason to bash Microsoft, since we've had this for YEARS and YEARS before XP?

Re:reason number 452 (3, Funny)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814644)

Yes, an additional feature that COULD be used by some evil genius who has your computer anyway to see some of the files you deleted is a good reason not to upgrade. I agree!

Sure, some people don't buy into this, they say things like "but it can easily be disabled, and your casual computer users would only benefit from this kind of feature". These people are obviously missing the large scale point. Microsoft has been making windows for a long time, and every time they do it, they add more features. If we keep buying new versions of windows, inevitably they will continue to add features untill all they can add is BAD, DANGEROUS, EXPLOITABLE SECURITY HOLES!

If you buy Vista, within years they will have features that send your porn to your parents. Send your AIM conversations to your boss. They will probably have a start option "Open Computer To Random Hacker".

Microsoft is obviously adding this feature because all of their engineers are evil. They have been for years! You and I will not stand for this. I am sending my 50 page word document, which proves my case to congress... it is right in this folder... hm.... where the fuck did I put it?! FUCK! I deleted it!!! If only I could recover my deleted file, I COULD END VISTA AND ITS PLAGUE OF EVIL FEATURES FOR GOOD!!!

Translation: (3, Insightful)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814448)

Vista comes with the Previous Version Explorer extension installed by default, and System Restore now watches the whole disk.

Ok. So what? This feature has been around for awhile, and if you have privacy issues, well just disable system restore (or whatever the equivalent option will be in Vista).

Never mind that as you make new versions of a file, the old ones are still hanging around in your drives' free space for a long time (about the same amount of time the previous-versions feature would keep them). So basically you're making the distinction between being able to access the deleted files explictly, vs. having to use a drive recovery tool.

If you're security concious, you disable the old restore points, fill the drive with a big file full of random data, then delete it. This isn't going to change...

M. Gibson (0, Troll)

CardboardBox (987267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814455)

No i'm not talking about Mel Gibson and his anti-Jew story.

I'm talking about Steve Gibson (http://www.grc.com) everyone know's the security maniac and amazingly intellegent man is going to beg Microsoft to take this out, watch for Security Now later this week or next.

Remember what he did with Windows XP and Raw-Sockets, he went on TechTV's TechLive show and asked Microsoft to remove the feature.

This is a security risk for the unaware computer users of this world who will buy "Vista Capable" machines from the Big-Box stores (Best Buy...) Think about it? An exploit is uncovered that gives access to remote computers running Vista, and the intruder or cracker or script kiddie, undeletes some confidential files, you all know where that could go, then bam! Lawsuit anyone.

All this feature is, is System Restore on steroids or System Restore 2.0 and it's a security risk, I hope Steve pushes Microsft Corporation to do the right thing, this time they should listen.

Obligatory Link (1)

zjbs14 (549864) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814539)

For mentioning Steve Gibson in a post:
http://www.grcsucks.com/ [grcsucks.com]

Re:M. Gibson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814642)

"No i'm not talking about Mel Gibson and his anti-Jew story."

Whoa! How self-centred are you.. the answer is EXTREME. Let me get this straight, Gibson's story was, according to you, more about Jews than say.. Jesus Christ. Indeed the fact you had to make this offtopic snipe raises the question, 'Is that what you want the movie to be about'.. probably true.

But hey, I'm against the spilling of blood in general. So surely I'm against you.

Such a great idea (5, Insightful)

xeos (174989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814462)

Yes, other people have thought of it before, but kudos to Microsoft for implementing it. Disks are cheap, whereas the documents I create are not. Anything which helps protect those documents from mistakes is going to be a good thing.

Usual FUD (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814465)

Shadow copies can be controlled with Group Policy just like everything else in a managed Windows environment.

In addition, Network Appliance have had snapshots in their filesystem since '92. There was no big uproar then about how management could use that to track employees. If an employeer wants to track an employee, there are better ways to do it.

Policing (2, Informative)

Nutsquasher (543657) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814482)

Some users will find the feature objectionable because it could give the bossman a new way to check up on employees
It does stink when you can be held accountable for your actions, doesn't it? In all reality, most legitimate companies aren't wasting their time "policing" employees. Rather, their IT department has locked things down to a manageable state, which has had versioning enabled for some time now on file shares.

Sounds like VMS file versioning (4, Informative)

dfn5 (524972) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814483)

This sounds similar to the file versioning on VMS which I have never heard anyone complain about (other than being wicked annoying). If anything, I would think that people (and by people I mean the techno commoners) would like this feature. I think most people still believe that when you delete a file that it is really gone. Maybe this feature will show people that without wiping the free space on your hard drive things that you thought were gone are still around. I can't see how anyone could think of this as a privacy concern except maybe law enfourcement who end up finding that people are better at permanently deleting files.

Re:Sounds like VMS file versioning (1)

mccrew (62494) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814639)

other than being wicked annoying

So, which part of Massachusetts are you from :-]

Re:Sounds like VMS file versioning (1)

The Second Horseman (121958) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814646)

Yup - there's also a "salvage" feature on Novell's traditional Netware and NSS file systems. The nice thing? You can also (as an end user) *purge* your files, just as you can do a $ delete filename.ext;1 (or delete/erase if you're so inclined :) on an OpenVMS (current vintage) or VAX/VMS (original flavor) system to get rid of a specific version, or $ purge/erase filename.ext to get rid of all but the newest file. $ purge/keep=2 filename.ext would keep two versions of the file, etc.

At work, where our primary file storage is a Netware 6.5 cluster, we rarely have to go to backups when users blow away files -- they can usually salvage them on their own with no intervention from IT. And if you really need to purge something, you can purge it just as easily. Of course, the backups go back a bit, but nothing's perfect.

Hmm... log structuring on top of a normal fs (2, Interesting)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814484)

I wonder, could an existing open filesystem be modified so that a file marked with some attribute will store its contents as a log, rather than as a working copy, able to be rolled back and forward (probably by some utility) until squashed, yet have the current copy be worked with transparently, without making (invasive) changes to the VFS? Does something like this already exist? Maybe something using FUSE?

Not a transactional interface. (2, Interesting)

cmason (53054) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814485)

I still don't understand how a non-transactional interface such as a filesystem can be used to record what is essentially a transaction: a version. In other words: how does the filesystem know to record a version? Presumably this operates without modifying the application (which would be necessary to provide a true transactional versioning system, such that provided by the "track changes" feature). Does this thing assume that file closes are transactions? Do users get presented with a slew of "versions" of files based on when the file was closed (assuming applications even close the file on "save")? Are these "versions" actually valid files? Can someone explain how this works?

We toyed for a while with implementing something like this in our scientific data management application and decided in the end that it just wasn't possible because the (instrument vendor provided) applications would have to be modified to deliver information about when to create a "version" of a file. Instead, we require users to provide us with this information manually.

-c

To elaborate: (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814525)

Windows Volume Shadow Copy operates using a periodic interval (say, 1 day between snapshots).
It makes a whole-filesystem snapshot. It doesn't care if files are open, if that was the case across a snapshot then those files are invalid for that snapshot.
Typically you schedule a snapshot for after-hours so you have a reasonable guarantee that user files are closed and consistant.

The nice thing about a time-based snapshot system is that it doesn't need to store much between the snapshots if nothing changed (this is similar to other systems like LVM or Veritas).

Re:Not a transactional interface. (1)

anti-drew (72068) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814577)

Um, filesystems *are* transactional.

Begin a transaction: open().
End a transaction: close().

If one or more writes occured to the fd between those two calls, then you've just created a new version. It's hardly rocket science. :-)

Sounds kind of like (4, Interesting)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814493)

a built-in versioning system. Want to roll back to a previous version? Bam, done. Want to fork? Just make a copy of the "old version" and move on.

I'd like directory-by-directory control over this, some way of controlling when the old versions "go away" (I don't want mass-id3'ing of my MP3 collection to clobber my old documents, for example), as well as efficient move operations. But, as many are saying, this sounds like basically a good thing.

It's a feature, and a pretty cool one. I wouldn't mind this in Linux. This is not a bad thing.

guess what (2, Insightful)

Cinquero (174242) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814494)

I have a little and simple rsync-backup script that does basically the same: runs every day, uses locate to search for .rsync-backup files and then stores the directories containing these files. Simple. Elegant. Transparent. Efficient. No need to mess around with system-internals.

no wounder way (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814495)

no wonder way windows vista need 20GB of space to install and 15GB free after that.

Eventually... (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814500)

Eventually, you'll probably see most operating systems implementing this, or this being implemented in a virtual machine. If you're concerned about privacy, you should be using crypography anyway (now, the question being, how do you isolate the entered passwords to unlock your keyring from the snapshots taken by a virtual machine hosting your operating system).

At any rate, there is more good to this than bad, and since this isn't even a real snapshotting mechanism (snapshotting your system memory) your crypto will protect you just fine.

Re:Eventually... (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814519)

In the above post, "virtual machine" should really be "virtual machine monitor." For those of you playing along at home.

File versioning (2, Interesting)

SiliconEntity (448450) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814501)

I used an OS back in the 70s, Twenex from Digital Equipment Corp, that had file versioning. Every time you wrote out a file it kept the previous N versions, typically 5. It wasn't oriented towards deletion so much as recovering old versions after you screwed one up. It was a pretty nice feature, although it tended to fill up disk space which was in short supply in those days.

Today, I thought undeleting was what the trash can was for. With today's big disks you shouldn't have to Empty Trash very often.

CVS? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814502)

Every once in a while I see a comment here or there about how great it would be to put your entire /home in CVS (or SVN, or pick your favorite) to be able to keep a revision history on everything you do.

How is this different? It sounds like a fabulous idea to me -- being a sysadming -- and a great timesaver when it comes to "I just deleted these files, do you hvave the backup tapes?"

What kind of copy (1)

mancontr (775899) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814509)

Anybody know how will this be implemented? Will the copy of each file be complete? incremental? or the original a diff of the last shadow?

it's all the same stuff... (2, Informative)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814547)

XPs: System Restore
Windows 2003: Volume Shadow Copy / Previous Versions

It's a system service that puts a shim between userspace and your physical disks (like LVM on linux). It can take file-system wide snapshots at configurable intervals. Those different names are just different levels of user-space interaction with the same underlying stuff.

VSS can notify programs that a snapshot is about to be taken. If they are VSS aware they will flush their open files to make sure the snapshot is "consistent". Otherwise the snapshot could be made of files that are corrupt (in the middle of being changed by an application). Most applications by 3rd parties are unfortunately not VSS-aware. Office 2003+ and MS SQL Server 2005 are, however, which is nice.

The snapshot is made at the block level, having no real knowledge of "files" per-se. It records changed blocks between snapshots so you can construct a historical version of a whole disk. It's not like rsync or anything.

OS problems (0, Troll)

ludomancer (921940) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814516)

Isn't Vista itself a privacy concern of most people? Shouldn't it be?

Privacy expectation on work computer? (1)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814557)

What kind of reasonable privacy expectations should people have on a work computer? When I was working at JPL, all systems were required by law to show a message indicating that all use was being tracked, as it was a secure government facility. (this could not be turned off even when it was interfering with the functioning of certain scripts)

I didn't have a problem with this - if you really want to have a private conversation or IM, use a cell phone that you own. AFAIK, they can't monitor that.

Oh for crying out loud (4, Interesting)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814558)

Truely, MS is damned if they do, damned if they don't.

How many times has your mother/father/other family member called you over because they deleted "that one file" they never backed up (it's usually never just "that one file", but that's the typical excuse)? So you head over and, sure enough, the thing is gone. The only recourse is to buy some overpriced Norton Utilities or whatnot (that will probably slow down the system to crawl) and cross fingers.

So, Microsoft enables a feature that's been built-in to the OS for a while and the reaction is instantly negative? Never mind that, daily, petabytes upon petabytes are backed up using VSS around the world, as almost all decent backup software uses it on Windows. Never mind that, if "privacy concerns" get in the way, you can always remove versions in VSS or disable it entirely.

Seems much ado about nothing, personally. Don't like it? Turn it off.

And if you're in a company, well, you don't get a choice. I'm not really sure I understand the "bossman" comments -- in most big companies, the "bossman" has been backing up every file you create, every site you visit, etc. for decades. Granted, 99.99% of it will never be looked at, but in these post-SOX days, you're pretty much mandated to catch that 0.01%. And if you don't like it, well, I guess you can always start a company with your own rules.

Personally, I think this thing is going to be a tremendous blessing. When a relative calls me still using Windows (I've been trying to push them all to Mac), and says "My god, I deleted this crumb cake recipe! I'm doomed!" I'll be able to get it back after a couple clicks. Sounds great to me.

Re:Oh for crying out loud (1)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814669)

And before I get comments, yes, I said "the 'bossman' has been backing up every file you create, every site you visit, etc. for decades". I should have probably said "the 'bossman' has been looking at every site you visit for years and backing up every file you've created for decades".

Because Slashdot's way is to debunk several paragraphs of text based on one sentence. :P

This is just filesystem snapshots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814559)

This is just filesystem snapshots. Netapp has had this for a LONG time. FreeBSD has this. It's a great save-your-ass feature. Where's the OMG WTF PRIVACY LOL hate directed at Netapp?

Not only that... (1)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814589)

... but it's been in Windows in various incantations since fucking WINDOWS ME.

I mean, alert the presses!

I'm surprised at the low level of technological familiarity from Slashdot recently (gauging by the reaction to this article).
Low working knowledge about basic things like filesystems and disk management.

Christ...

YOU FAIL IT (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814590)

Uh-oh (1)

LittleBigScript (618162) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814601)

Now I'll never be able to get rid of my ....uh... research.

Security Issue (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814604)

Some users will find the feature objectionable because it could give the bossman a new way to check up on employees
I dont think this is a bad thing persay....Perhaps he wants to know if his employee is doing what he should not be. On the other hand I see this being an issue with viruses. Windows system restore was a safe haven for viruses to come back and this seems like a virus or other malware could utilize this feature to stick to the system.

Re:Security Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814640)

It's such a relief to know that all those binaries from coolwebsearch you finally managed to delete from your kid's PC will still be lurking, indestructible as Dracula, just waiting to be summoned.

If it were added to Leopard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814606)

the idiot who submitted the article would be praising Apple. But since it is Microsoft, like typical Slashdotter, he has to find something to criticize about it.

Privacy issues... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814607)

I for one do not like this feature. I think this is a violation of privacy. This is worse than the government requiring modem manufacturers to build backdoors into their products. *sigh* now a days, it doesn't seem like anyone cares about freedom anymore. What happens if the government requires microsof to 'phone home' everything on the hard drive? I begin to wonder if anyone who has commented here is actually a real slashdotter, I think most would see this as a violation of privacy.

Re:Privacy issues... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814681)

I for one do not like this feature. I think this is a violation of privacy.

So then turn it off.
What's that? It's your machine at work? Well, then...it's your boss's machine, not yours. He can make the determination to have it on or not. You always haave the option of finding a new job, or starting your own company with your rules.

Simple solution.... (0, Troll)

1053r (903458) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814635)

If you're concerned about privacy:
THAN DON'T USE *&#^ING WINDOWS VISTA!

ON NOES!11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15814648)

This sounds a lot like that creepy RAID technology that was put out a few years ago... it makes copies of everything you do!!

Shred (1)

OverflowingBitBucket (464177) | more than 7 years ago | (#15814650)

Why the negative spin? I kind-of like the idea of someone calling me in a panic having deleted an important file and me being able to recover it easily and get on to more interesting tasks.

If it is such a burden being unable to hide incriminating files, add a shred option to the recycle bin or context menu which will force the removal of previous versions as well. If anything, get rid of confirmation on deleting files if recovery is easy, and save the confirmation dialog for when someone right clicks a file and picks "shred".
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