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Windows System Volume Information Files


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#1 yabbadoo

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 03:34 PM

I placed this question here because i use Windows XP, but the mater is universal to other versions.

 

System Volume Information files constitute an enormous number of files taking up a lot of storage space. I have surfed the web on whether at least some of these space hogging files can be deleted, they do not seem to be very essential. But my surfing lead me to some cautious confusion.

 

If they are essentially restore point data, why would anybody wish to restore something years old ?

 

The accumulated growth of these files seems unstoppable. Windows does not appear to have a self-cleaning facility. A date based self-cleaning would be an elementary process to include.

 

Three questions ?

1. Are these files important ?

2. Can they or some of them be  deleted ?

3. How do you monitor these files and delete them if redundant ?

 

thank you


Edited by yabbadoo, 20 July 2013 - 03:57 PM.


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#2 Dolby

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 04:11 PM

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/windows-xp-system-restore-guide/



#3 yabbadoo

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 04:14 PM

That looks very useful indeed - Thanks, I`ll give it a  swing.

Are these Restore point files the masses of System Volume  files I have mentioned ?

If Windows creates a Restore file every 24 hours, there must be a hell of a lot of them since my Windows XP goes back to 2004.

Yabba


Edited by yabbadoo, 20 July 2013 - 04:28 PM.


#4 hamluis

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 05:10 PM

You...don't have to use System Restore, many of us don't.  But...we do routine backups that are more comprehensive than any SR points created.

 

SR was designed to be an easy, quick fix...for certain conditions on a system.  The fact that it doesn't address various other conditions that prevent a user from booting into Windows...makes it vastly inferior to conducting routine backups, IMO.

 

If you want to get rid of outdated SR data...simply disable System Restore...reboot...and start it anew.  You probably don't even have to reboot, I just do that routinely when I make major changes to Windows.

 

Louis



#5 yabbadoo

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 05:59 PM

I am getting some good advise here - very pleased.

 

I know it sounds unbelievable for an experienced user like myself to say that I have never created a backup in my life- don`t know how to. I also have never used a CD in my travels. All quite a big blank to me.

 

Can a backup be created without using a CD ? If so, how ? Sounds like I may be restricted to a Restore point facility.


Edited by yabbadoo, 20 July 2013 - 05:59 PM.


#6 quietman7

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 09:08 PM

The SVI folder is protected by permissions that only allow the system to have access and is hidden by default on the root of every drive, partition or volume including most external drives, and some USB flash drives. If you can see that folder, then Windows has been reconfigured to show it. On drives or partitions that are not monitored by System Restore, this folder will be very small in size or completely empty, unless Encrypting File System is in use or the Indexing Service is turned on.

In addition to System Restore points, the SVI folder is where the operating system stores other important information such as:
  • Registry configuration information for application, user, and operating system settings.
  • Profiles (local onlyroaming user profiles not impacted by restore).
  • Windows File Protection files
  • COM+ Database; Windows Management Instrumentation Database.
  • IIS Metabase configuration.
  • Distributed Link Tracking (DLT) Client service databases used to automatically repair and maintain links, such as Shell Shortcuts and OLE links, to files on NTFS volumes.
  • Content Indexing Service databases for fast file searches.
  • Information used by the Volume Shadow Copy Service (also known as "Volume Snapshot") so you can back up files on a live system.
  • Files with extensions listed in the Monitored File Extensions list and Local Profiles.
Inside the SVI folder there is a sub-folder named "_restore{75FEF8DD-9121-4963-A5E8-46DB4BB6F162}" (the CSLID will vary) and usually two files:
MountPointManagerRemoteDatabase <- 0 byte system file associated with Dynamic Disks/Volumes
tracking.log <- maintenance information stored by the DLT Client service which monitors activity on NTFS volumes

Inside the sub-folder _restore, there will be another directory called snapshot where you will find a complete registry dumping including a file called _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM which is the SAM file for the machine.
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#7 quietman7

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 09:08 PM

The SVI folder also stores other important information such as:
  • Tracking.log files created by the Distributed Link Tracking Service to store maintenance information.
  • Efs0.log files created by the Encrypting File System (EFS) generated during the encryption and decryption process.
  • Drivetable.txt which holds the System Restore drive letters list, and stores other configuration information such as System Restore space allocation information for each drive.
  • Sr-reg.txt which contains the System Restore registry settings.
  • Rstrlog.txt which contains the restore log file for the last completed restore.
  • Fifo.log which contains the FIFO (first in first out) restore points if there are any.
  • Rp.log or SP-RP.log which contains the list of restore points (name/type/time).
  • SR-chglog.log which contains the change log of file operations on each drive for all restore points.
  • SR-filelist.log which contains a list of all the files that were collected by Srdiag.exe.
The reason the SVI folder is protected is to prevent programs from using or manipulating the files that are inside. These files are inactive while in the data store and are not used by any utility other than System Restore. You should not be tampering with this folder. Doing so could cause problems with proper system functioning.

By design System Restore runs in the background and when monitoring is enabled, will automatically create a new restore point every 24 hours (system checkpoints). Restore points can also be manually created by the user at any time. When the allotted disk space is reached the oldest restore point will be purged on a first in first out (FIFO) basis. Otherwise, restore points over 90 days are purged automatically in order to keep the volume's usage within the specified amount. All restore points will eventually be deleted after the time specified in the RPLifeInterval registry setting is reached or earlier if allotted disk space is insufficient so it is not possible to create a permanent restore point.

Understanding System Restore in Windows 7 (FAQs)
Understanding System Restore in Windows Vista (FAQs)
Understanding System Restore in Windows XP


When running Disk Cleanup and choosing the option for System Restore, it specifically states "You can free more disk space by removing all but the most recent restore point." However, you can reduce the amount of space made available to System Restore so there will not be as many Restore points. By default, System Restore is given 12% of the hard disk space when you install Windows XP. To change the amount, right-click on the My Computer icon, select Properties > System Restore Tab, and under Disk space usage, change the Disk space to use to a lower percentage.
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#8 yabbadoo

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 05:35 AM

@ Quietman

 

"By design System Restore runs in the background and when monitoring is enabled, will automatically create a new restore point every 24 hours (system checkpoints). Restore points can also be manually created by the user at any time. When the allotted disk space is reached the oldest restore point will be purged on a first in first out (FIFO) basis. Otherwise, restore points over 90 days are purged automatically in order to keep the volume's usage within the specified amount. All restore points will eventually be deleted after the time specified in the RPLifeInterval registry setting is reached or earlier if allotted disk space is insufficient so it is not possible to create a permanent restore point."

 

 

As always, a superb summary of the issue. So Windows HAS got a self date related or capacity related delete facility. Mind you, 3 months is too excessive, 1 month is adequate. I will  consider a 1 month capacity and configure that.

 

Postscript :-

As a result of your information, I have reduced the System Restore Settings for Disk Space from 12% - 9423 MB to 5% - 3889 MB. Seems a fair compromise.


Edited by yabbadoo, 21 July 2013 - 02:16 PM.





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