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What risk do unerased Volume Shadow Copies pose?

What are the Volume Shadow Copies?

The Volume Shadow Copies service was designed to take and store snapshots of disk volumes on PCs running Windows 7/Vista OSs. Its purpose is to enable the user to restore files or the system to previous versions in case of accidental file deletion, or a system failure, for instance, after a failed software installation.

What does the service copy?

VSC creates snapshots of entire volumes. By default it works on your system volume, C:, but other volumes can be added to the copy list. The service copies ALL data on the volume, including not only your documents, or program files, but system restore files too.

How frequently are the copies created?

The default setting for the service activates it every time the computer is started and every day at midnight, if the PC is idle.

Do VSC take up a lot of disk space?

The default figure is 15% on Windows Vista and 5% on Windows 7 per volume.

Can unauthorized parties recover my erased files by accessing Shadow Copies?

Yes, they can. It is so, because even if you erase a file, its (possibly multiple) shadow copies (previous versions) can still be found on the disk. And even if you have overwritten the file several times, its latest snapshot (taken before erasing it) will be as revealing, as the file itself you wanted to get rid of. Therefore, it is highly advisable to erase Volume Shadow Copies regularly. To do so follow the steps below:

  1. Run east-tec Eraser.

  2. Select either the Privacy Guard or Erase Files & Folders module. Click Advanced. Screenshot below:

    Erase Volume Shadow Copies - Privacy Guard - Advanced

  3. In the resulting window locate and select Windows and click Advanced Settings as shown below.

    Erase Volume Shadow Copies - Windows Advanced Settings

  4. Now look for Shadow Copies in the menu bar. Click it, then check the Enable the wiping of Shadow Copies box as shown below. Click Save Options to finish the set up.

    Erase Volume Shadow Copies - Enable setting


It's not possible to remove shadow copies selectively. If you decide to erase shadow copies of some files, ALL shadow copies will be erased, including system restore files.