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VSS & 08R2 – Showing more than 64 Snaps

We ran into a HUGE problem with the migration of our file servers to Server 2008 R2 from Server 2003, our Techs noticed that the Previous Versions tab was only populating 64 of the oldest snapshots. This is a huge problem.

So I did some digging, ended up figuring out that if I opened up the Previous Versions tab in an older OS (I used Server 2003 as well as XP Pro) and could see all of the snapshots perfectly. So this now became a 2008/Win7 problem.

For those that don’t know, the default maximum snapshot value is 64. This can be modified by going into the registry of the system that VSS is running on and going to: HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetservicesVSSSettings and adding the DWORD value of “MaxShadowCopies” and setting it to a decimal value of 512. 512 is the maximum number of snaps that can be done. More information can be found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee923636%28WS.10%29.aspx
Registry Modification

On the left is a Server 2003 mapping of a 2008 R2 file share, on the right is the same file share mapped on a Windows 7 box. Big difference there.
VSS Comparison

We ended up creating a case with Microsoft. Turns out that it happens to be a known bug with no resolution in site. However, there did happen to be a workaround. To correct the problem, SMB2 has to be turned off. This is generally not something you want to do, however it worked in this particular instance. For information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Server_Message_Block#SMB2

So to turn off SMB2 and give yourself the ability to see all of the created snapshots in an OS newer than Server 2003 and/or XP, you have to dive back into the registry. Go to: HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetservicesLanmanServerParameters and create a new DWORD value of “SMB2” and ensure that the decimal value is 0. After that change has been made, reboot the system.
Note: Microsoft highly recommends turning SMB2 off at the desktop level rather than the server level.
SMB2 Off In Registry

After the reboot, here’s what pulled up:
Success

Success! Our techs can now help people out with the VSS snaps.

Published inWindows Server

One Comment

  1. Wolf Lupo Wolf Lupo

    This has been resolved windows 2012R2 (Version 6.3.9600)

    setting HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\VSS\Settings\MaxShadowCopies to to a higher number NOW not only allows creation of more shadowcopies BUT also allows you to see them in win2012R2 and surprisingly (and without making any change to the ‘client’ machine) I can also see them in windows 7, 8, and 8.1 as well as windows server 2003r2, 2012 and 2008R2

    Thank you Microsoft for finally fixing this.

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