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Change Vista's Default System Restore Size Per Disk Percentage

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In Windows XP, users could adjust how much percentage space System Restore could use on any disk. The default was 10% of the disk size was reserved for System Restore, but knowledgable users could adjust this setting in the System applet located in Control Panel.

With Windows Vista though, a few things have changed in System restore, and I must say that it's "Not for the Better" IMHO. Users have no interface available in which they can change the amount of disk percetage System Restore uses, and Vista now uses a 15% default instead of the 10% in XP.

Not a big deal you say....Wrong I say!

With Hard Drive Disk capacities shooting skyward on almost a monthly basis, it's not uncommon for users to have 150, 200, 250, and even 300 Gigabyte drives, and if you have these spanned across a RAID Array, the amount of space reserved for System Restore can be staggering!!!!!

I have 3, 250G drives installed in my system, but not in a RAID Array so the system sees 3 separate 250G drives instead of one massive 750G one. Still, 15% of 250G is 37.5G of space, and that's allot of restore points. More than I would ever suggest, or dare to go back to those earliest ones. If I went with a RAID0 array, this would be a whopping 112G's of drive space reserved for System Restore. I don't think so, thank you very much Mr. Vista!

Another thing one might notice in Windows Vista, is that individual Restore points also take up considerable more space than they did in XP. In XP the typical restore point size was 20 to 30MB per restore point. In Vista however, it's not uncommon to see a single restore point that can take up to 2 GIGABYTES of space and more, WAY More, possibly 4 Times more.....and yes..I said GIGABYTES TOO!!!

That's over 100 times larger in the smaller example and 400 times larger is possible and proven...why the differnce??

VSS, (Volume Shadow Service) and a little thing called "Previous Version". Previous Versions basically keeps track of EVERYTHING you do on your computer, so if you happen to one day "barf" that spreadsheet you've been working on for weeks, you can retore it back to a previous version and save your butt. Now this seems like a great idea and it can be at times, but a big problem is this...Previous Versions is not available to Vista Basic & Home Premium users, but VSS still keeps track of the changes on those systems regardless. This equates to a big waste for users of these operating systems because while VSS keeps track of all changes made to everything in your Vista Computer, you don't have any way to use it to restore these things if needed. So why is it there??? Basically so MS can make it more "Appealing" for you to upgrade your lowly Vista version to more than that really.

But by far the biggest issue with this can be the Performance Hit you can take from a severly fragmented System Restore space. It can be a pretty significant hit and unfortunately, the Windows Defrag tool does NOT defrag System Restore, so with a full slot of restore points you could be getting less than average performance from your Hard Drives and System.

But I digress slightly, I promised to show you how to adjust the size of disk space Sytem Restore can use in Vista. It's not a simple thing either, it requires a somewhat convoluted command line process, but I'll try to explain it in easy terms for you here.

1) Click Start

2) From the Start menu Click All programs - Accessories

3) On the Accessories menu Right Click on the Command Prompt option

4) From the drop Down menu that appears, click the Run as administrator option

5) When the Command Prompt window opens type: vssadmin resize shadowstorage /on=X: (sp) /For=X: (sp) /Maxsize=XX.XGB

and Press Enter

NOTE: X: = Drive Letter of Target Drive, EG; C:

NOTE: (sp) = Space

NOTE: XX.X = the maximum size in GB's or MB's

6) If everything is done correctly you should see a message saying "Successfully resized the shadow copy storage association"

This is how it should look for drive C:, remember there are Spaces between each command group:

vssadmin resize shadowstorage /on=C: /for=C: /maxsize=12.5GB

I recommend around a 6 - 8% size on drives smaller than 60G, and possibly less on larger drives. Remember, I DO NOT RECOMMEND using restore points older than 1 week!! It's up to you if you do, but remember that the further back you go, the more chance of a failed or unstable restore occuring.

Now there is a way to keep the fragmentation problem under control, actually a couple of them. You can get a Third Party Defrag Tool that also defrag's System Restore (many of them do just this), or every now and then you can just delete your restore points and start anew by turning off System Restore and running a Disk Cleanup, then turn Sys Restore back on. This will reclaim some space temporarily and in a sense, defrag the Sys Restore files.

Thanx, and Good to be Back!!!

NOTE - This is a tested tweak and done properly will cause no harm, however, makes no Warranty on anything concerning system changes.

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