ShadowExplorer allows you to browse the Shadow Copies created by Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 and Vista Volume Shadow Copy Service. It is primarily intended for users of the Home editions, who do not have access to the shadow copies by default, but it is also useful for users of the other editions.

Shadow Copy

From time to time, Windows creates point-in-time copies of your files. This allows you to retrieve older versions of files that you have accidentally deleted or modified. This service is enabled by default on all versions of Windows, but Microsoft only grants access to these copies in the Ultimate, Business and Enterprise editions. This is where ShadowExplorer comes into play. You can find more information about the Shadow Copy on Microsoft's website.


Since the Volume Shadow Copy Service is included in all Windows editions and enabled by default, why not use it? All it takes is an additional tool like ShadowExplorer that can access the shadow storage and make the point-in-time copies accessible to the user.


  • Show available point-in-time copies
  • Browse Shadow Copies
  • Retrieve versions of files and folders


Shadow Copies and ShadowExplorer are in no way a replacement for regular backups! This is very important and cannot be emphasized enough. A Shadow Copy is stored on the same disk as the original data. In the event of a disk failure, all data will be lost, including the Shadow Copies. ShadowExplorer is a good addition to regular backups, but not a replacement.

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