I am trying to find some way to keep track of the versions of files in a shared folder on Windows Server 2003. Something similar to the versions on DropBox but for a intranet.

Can someone tell me which possibilities I have to do this?


I'm still researching what exists out there, budget is not defined. I would like to know more about the "on-save version control for windows server" solutions but when I search for it on google this post is the first result.


If you can live with timed backups rather than per save version control, Windows Server 2003 and later have a feature called volume shadowcopy. You allocate space (or a separate disk) and a schedule which will snapshot the filesystem and retain as much as it can based on the space you have allocated. Plenty of tutorials out there on how to do this.

Here you go: http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/windows-server-2003-volume-shadow-copy-service.html

Your clients must be XP or later to use this feature.

  • That doesn't version files though, that just sets up a shadowcopy schedule. It doesn't hold every version (edit) of each file as they are made. As the article says : " Keep in mind that previous versions arte [sic] not automatically created every time that the file changes, but rather every time that a scheduled (or manual) shadow copy runs and detects a version change" – mfinni May 18 '12 at 15:24
  • For most people, that's good enough and built-in... if he wants on-save version control then there are solutions for it. – SpacemanSpiff May 18 '12 at 15:30
  • He said what he wants in his question : like Dropbox, which does per-edit versioning (see the link). "Good enough for most people" may or may not be true, but it's not what he asked for. – mfinni May 18 '12 at 15:35
  • Thank you @SpacemanSpiff. Shadowcopy seems nice but I would prefer only versioning only when the user saves. Even better if the user could go back to another version by himself. Something similar to dropbox. I cannot use dropbox for teams because the data must be stored locally. Company policy. – Artur Carvalho May 18 '12 at 20:01

You could implement SharePoint - Foundation is the free edition for Server 2008 x64, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 would work on Server 2003. You could also buy SP Server; you asked for possibilities but don't mention your budget.

You can require check-in/check-out and implement version tracking on given documents or sites.

Edit - it looks like you're not really searching for the right terms. A versioning file system can do what you're asking for. VSS shadow copies are on the list, but they're not automatic, as discussed. Netware used to do this automatically, and so did VMS, but those aren't Windows Server. You could set up Subversion and WebDAV, but if you're going to do that, you might as well setup SharePoint Services and stay within the MS & Windows realm entirely.

There are plenty of free and commercial version-control systems (not fileystems), but those tend to be complex and aimed at software developers. If checkin/checkout is too advanced for your users, you probably don't want any of those and just want it baked into the fileystem, or as close as you can get.

  • This requires a 64-bit version of Windows 2008 and later... as long we're being specific, right? – SpacemanSpiff May 18 '12 at 15:39
  • You're correct; I had just looked up the name of the latest free version of SP. Edited my answer. – mfinni May 18 '12 at 15:45
  • Thank you @mfinni. check in/out is too advanced for the users. Going to look into the Sharepoint possibilities. – Artur Carvalho May 18 '12 at 20:03
  • Be aware that Sharepoint is not trivial to set up or to maintain. Using volume shadow copies in Windows is extremely simple. Sharepoint is orders of magnitude more complex. – Jeremy May 21 '12 at 20:44
  • Jeremy- SharePoint can be a lot of work, but if you're only setting it up as a document repository with versioning, it shouldn't require anything more than a good careful reading of the install/operation docs and maybe a test environment. Shadow copies alone does not fit Artur's requirements. – mfinni May 22 '12 at 0:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.