Windows 7 includes a feature to save files in versions using Volume Shadow Copy. This feature was well suited for a server environment since Windows XP included the client bits to actually get Shadow Copy data out in multiple versions. In Windows 7, this was called Previous Versions. Often users were unaware of the way they could do this, but saving data from destruction is always a good thing. When this feature came to the desktop operating systems, it appeared as though less users really understood the usefulness of it.
|Shadow Copy on Windows 7|
File History in Windows 8
Fast forward to the interface in Windows 8 (Note: this is about beta software, so it could change) and looking for any context reference to "Previous Versions" is fruitless. The context interface is completely removed. The only holdover, however, is the "System Protection" interface that appears exactly as it was in Windows 7.
|Goodbye Previous Versions|
|File History's Main Screen|
What's interesting here is the evolution of the Volume Shadow Copy service from a more server-centric utility to a local system service, to now being the entire backup facility in Windows 8. Windows 7's backup proces was too much of an all-or-nothing facility anyway even though it also apparently used the VSS service.
Regardless, I find the interface still leaves much to be desired if users are going to use it - so I hope to see Microsoft simplify this even more. The simplicity of competing products like Apple's Time Machine and Disk Utility far outpace what Microsoft offers in terms of simplicity and sophistication.
|Seriously, did you know you can image the in-use drive on OSX?|
I do like where Windows 8 is going with these features even though Microsoft looks to still be playing catch up even after Windows 8 comes out. Also included in Windows 8 is a utility to restore from Windows 7 backups. I would suggest that if you rely on Windows 7's Backup and Restore feature, that you stop and use something different just to get off that merry-go-round.