Windows 8 to include its own Time Machine rival, History Vault

By Tom Warren, on 30th Mar 11 2:32 pm with 35 Comments

Microsoft's History Vault

Microsoft is currently working on a new feature for Windows 8 named History Vault, WinRumors has learned.

The feature will allow Windows 8 users to backup files and data automatically using the Shadow Copies function of Windows. According to one person familiar with the company’s plans, the backup feature will include the ability to restore to a specific time or date on the system. Users will also be able to select files and restore them to different timestamps.

Apple’s Mac OS X currently includes a similar feature. Time Machine allows users to turn the clock back in time and retrieve data and files that have been previously edited or deleted. Microsoft’s History Vault is believed to be a rival to Apple’s Time Machine and will include similar functionality. Microsoft has had similar restore capabilities in Windows since Shadow Copies was introduced in Windows Vista. History Vault is set to expand on the underlying services and provide a full GUI for restore and editing purposes.

Microsoft is also believed to be working on a Metro design user interface for Windows 8. Leaked screenshots, posted earlier this month, also show a flattened Metro UI interface codenamed “Aero Lite”.  The screenshots show a flattened interface consistent with Microsoft’s Metro UI. Microsoft’s primary Windows 8 interface is believed to be fully 3D. The interface will be “fully dynamic” and able to adapt to user habits. Icons and shortcuts will adapt to different usage scenarios to speed up daily tasks. Windows 8 is also rumored to include a new fast hibernation system. The system will hibernate in around three to six seconds and save all open documents and running tasks. Rumors suggest that Microsoft will create a dual-UI for Windows 8. A tile-based user interface codenamed “Mosh” will reportedly be included.

Microsoft has so far been extremely quiet on the Windows 8 front. Windows Chief, Steven Sinofsky, took to the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January to introduce a technology preview of Microsoft’s Windows ARM support and show off an early build of Windows 8. Microsoft is partnering with ARM-based manufactures NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments to produce new Tablet devices.

Microsoft has started to distribute Windows 8 builds to key OEM partners via its Connect testing site. The company has distributed build 7971.0.110324-1900 to OEMs in a special invite only “Windows 8 and Server vNext Pre-Release Program.”

  • Shahar

    Great!
    Thanks Tom :)

  • GP007

    Well, Shadow Copies and the backup options that are in Vista and Win7 basically do what Time Machine does though without support for targetting a specific external or network device for the backups to go. Just seems like the next step in the process.

  • Tim

    How does this differ from what’s already in Windows? I don’t know much about Time Machine, but on Windows 7 I can already choose a file and find the different versions of it from the past and whatnot.

    Does this just streamline that process or something?

  • Tim

    How does this differ from what’s already in Windows? I don’t know much about Time Machine, but on Windows 7 I can already choose a file and find the different versions of it from the past and whatnot.

    Does this just streamline that process or something?

    • GP007

      I think the difference is that shadow copies doesn’t let you save older copies to an external source drive or a NAS.

  • http://twitter.com/forcerdj Michael Forcer

    It’s hardly a rival considering this is for windows and time machine is for osx therefore no competing taking place what so ever. That being said it’s about time windows had a real and useful backup system.

    System Restore is a mess, and comparing that to something like time machine makes it look an even bigger joke. A useful, easy to use backup system should have been at the forefront since XP.

    • trashoner

      there we go with the trolling! it just never ends. so your logic is that if it’s for any other OS than OSX is not good is not a rival. mind developing your argument a little more?

      That being said. how is system restore a mess? is that because OSX didn’t even have a real system restore or shadow copy when windows had all that out of the box way before OSX did? or is it because you couldn’t find individual shadow copies of your documents until let say last year when windows could do this for years now?

      Don’t say anything about backup systems should’ve been at the forefront since XP when OSX had nothing close to shadow copy at that time. Let me tell you what’s a joke Apple Time Capsules. Just think about it how much you paid for one of those faulty little boxes that brake for no reason. Just search around for faulty or broke apple time capsules to see the sad reality of apple’s time machine. Let’s not forget that when talking about time machine laptops are left out of the party unless you have leopard. The last one is something that should’ve been in OSX’s forefront since well before leaopard.

      See this is how you make a point. Report actuall facts and explain your point. NO TROLLING AROUND IN WINRUMORS.COM if you have something to say here you better know your facts and say a little more than “if it’s not in osx it’s a joke” fanboy!!

    • Max534

      “here we go with the trolling! it just never ends. so your logic is that if it’s for any other OS than OSX is not good is not a rival. mind developing your argument a little more?”
      I can develop it for him. You cannot read, boy, and still call someone else a troll…

      FYI: he said, basically, that those two solutions cannot compete, because customer will not have a choice which to use. Both are bound to their mothersystems.
      Kapischi czy po polsku wytłumaczyć?

    • trashoner

      true but he also spent some time bashing the aged old XP file restore system without any explanation of why it’s such a mess. All a remember is that when I had my XP machine my friend the designer next door wished he had something like it is mac. Bottom line I don’t like people talking down on products without good explanations or information to share.

    • Max534

      Ok, he did say something that wasn’t too relevant. But I had hard times with Microsoft’s System Restore as well, and I’ll certainly wouldn’t state that its functionality is even near the Time Capsule. This is (I suppose) something he wanted to say.

      But there’s still a point in saying “time capsule and windows vault are not rivals”. Microsoft solution seems like a catch up with something that Apple did well. And there’s nothing wrong with it.

    • Max534

      Ok, he did say something that wasn’t too relevant. But I had hard times with Microsoft’s System Restore as well, and I’ll certainly wouldn’t state that its functionality is even near the Time Capsule. This is (I suppose) something he wanted to say.

      But there’s still a point in saying “time capsule and windows vault are not rivals”. Microsoft solution seems like a catch up with something that Apple did well. And there’s nothing wrong with it.

    • Max534

      Oh… something bad happened to my post. Some peculiar tags appeared:( It wasn’t meant to be finished with any closing tags…
      Nevermind. Thanks for your answer, trashoner.

    • trashoner

      I just think we’re talking about apples and oranges, no pun intended. I don’t see how system restore can be compared with time machine, I mean shadow copy should relly be compared to time machine if anything… Shadow copy came out with vista as a systematic way to retreave old versions (edits) of independent files without having to completely restore your machine to an earlier time at all.

      Now I guess if I was to make a fair comparison windows separates system restore, shadow copy, and windows backup producs and I just don’t see why should apple get all the credit when I was able to get different edits of my documents well back when vista came out this is something that was barelly implemented last year in time machine.

      I don’t hate Apple I have an ipad 2 and a powerbook I just don’t like to read biased comments. Just because some people did have some trouble with system restore it doesn’t mean that its bad. XP did have system restore well before there was anything like it in OSX. IMO, I rather have a functionality in an OS than not it all.

      In order for Apple to succeed Microsoft doesn’t have to fail… -Steve Jobs-

    • http://reviewphones.wordpress.com/ reviewdevs

      I hope you guys notice that Windows ME had Sys Restore also. So we’re talking all the way back to September 2000. Also, Sys Restore has saved my computer numerous times when I did something I shouldn’t have done.

    • @reviewdevs

      sketchy p0rn? :P

    • trashoner

      there we go with the trolling! it just never ends. so your logic is that if it’s for any other OS than OSX is not good is not a rival. mind developing your argument a little more?

      That being said. how is system restore a mess? is that because OSX didn’t even have a real system restore or shadow copy when windows had all that out of the box way before OSX did? or is it because you couldn’t find individual shadow copies of your documents until let say last year when windows could do this for years now?

      Don’t say anything about backup systems should’ve been at the forefront since XP when OSX had nothing close to shadow copy at that time. Let me tell you what’s a joke Apple Time Capsules. Just think about it how much you paid for one of those faulty little boxes that brake for no reason. Just search around for faulty or broke apple time capsules to see the sad reality of apple’s time machine. Let’s not forget that when talking about time machine laptops are left out of the party unless you have leopard. The last one is something that should’ve been in OSX’s forefront since well before leaopard.

      See this is how you make a point. Report actuall facts and explain your point. NO TROLLING AROUND IN WINRUMORS.COM if you have something to say here you better know your facts and say a little more than “if it’s not in osx it’s a joke” fanboy!!

  • trashoner

    this is really old news since windows vista unless there is an actual graphical interface for every shadow copy. That’s the only feature aside that is in time machine that is not in shadow copy.

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      Yes that’s the point, there will be an interface to restore to specific dates….

    • trashoner

      So exciting. I hope you get your hands on some vids or pics of this for us Mr. Warren.

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      Yes that’s the point, there will be an interface to restore to specific dates….

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like it’s just further evolution of things already in place.

  • frankwick

    How is this different than the “previous versions” we have today. Yes, this is a nice GUI vs a right-click, but isn’t the end-result the same?

    • GP007

      You can’t have it send the “previous versions” to a external source. From what I remember shadow copies and by extention the shadow volume services or w/e it’s called, just uses your default drive iirc. So if you have it on for your C: volume it just puts stuff there, and I don’t think it’s a per folder per file setting either though I could be wrong. I think as it is now it’s just the whole volume and you can’t select where it does it’s backups.

      You could do your own backup once a day to an external devices but again that’s the whole thing or not. This seems to sound like it gives you more control over which files and where the backups go.

    • Guest

      And there is a Windows Backup (which uses VSS to access file data) to save. Anyways, new UI is welcome addition.

    • Guest

      And there is a Windows Backup (which uses VSS to access file data) to save. Anyways, new UI is welcome addition.

    • Tom

      Actually, you can set shadow copies to go to a different disk. There’s no UI for it, though. You have to run vssadmin from the command line.

  • MSUX

    Copying other OS features is the sincerest form of flattery. And more than a decade and a half later, MS is still trying to copy OS/X features.

    • Jason

      Ridiculous comment when you consider that History Vault is built on Shadow Copy which has been out since Vista, which came before Time Machine. MS is iterating what technology MS already had, not copying what OSX eventually implemented.

  • TurboKC

    Hey Tom: Will this be tied to or at least promote the Windows Home Server as a possible storage location much like the Time Machine does with the Time Capsule?

  • Carlos

    Actually Shadow Copy made its debut in Windows Server 2003 so it’s actually 5 years older than Apple’s Time Machine. On the other hand Shadow Copy had/has a pretty crappy interface and really needs one.

    • Tom

      Microsoft could generate an enormous amount of goodwill among power users by putting better UIs on advanced features of Windows.

  • http://twitter.com/mcakins McAkins Online

    I hate it when Microsoft fails at me-first only to turn around to play me-too! Apple copied Shadow-copy(Previous Version) from Microsoft, now MS is copying the copier! Strange world this is!

  • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

    But hey Tom, remember that the first version of shadow copy was introduced with XP SP2…just saying..

    Then what it bothers me is that it is not like if Windows 7 don’t has enough restore options for users:

    System Image backup, regular PC backup, restore point and previous versions (shadow copy).

    Time Machine is just the dumbed down version of restore point and previous versions rolled into one.

  • KJK::Hyperion

    Actually, from reading the technical description of Time Machine, Apple “copied” a much older feature, the USN journal, introduced in Windows NT 4 Service Pack 4 (1998). The USN journal is an optional NTFS 5 feature that tracks changes to files, while shadow copies track changes to the whole volume, block-by-block. The efficiency of the USN journal for automatic backups is somewhat limited by the fact that NTFS doesn’t support hardlinks to directories, but Time Machine could have been made for Windows a long, long time ago – and it probably was made, by third parties, for the enterprise market

  • http://www.altaro.com Simon

    Hey Tom, I work for a company called Altaro and we have had a product which is similar to History Vault on the market since 2009. The product is called Oops!Backup and you can try it out at http://www.altaro.com.

    Oops!Backup runs in the background and then uses a Timemachine style browser to allow you to travel back in time.

    Simon