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When Does It Make Sense to Alter Shadow Copy Space Allocations?

Managing Restore Point Space in Windows 7 Through the GUI

Windows 7 makes it very easy to manage restore point space through the System Properties window. To start this process, type create a restore in the Start menu search box; then select the corresponding menu entry "Create a restore point" that appears in response. This opens the System Properties window with the System Protection tab selected, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 The System Properties, System Protection tab is the gateway to restore point/volume shadow space allocation.

Next, highlight the system drive (C: in this case) in the selection box under Protection Settings and click the Configure button. This causes the System Protection for System (C:) window to appear, in which you'll find a slider control under the pane labeled Disk Space Usage. Move the slider to the left to reduce space allocation or to the right to increase it.

Figure 3 shows a drive that has been sized at 4 percent of available disk space (it's on a smaller 80 GB SSD, where disk space is incredibly precious).

Figure 3 The slider control under "Disk Space Usage" lets you increase or decrease system protection space allocation (for restore points, mostly).

For most situations, 3–5 percent of disk space provides enough room to accommodate at least half-a-dozen restore points on most typical Windows systems. (To come up with this number, I created a series of restore points, one after another, until my allocations were consumed on a handful of test and production machines.) On SSDs on which space is at a premium, you might want to stick to the low end of this range; on conventional hard disks on which space is not so scarce, you can exceed the default 5 percent ceiling if you routinely work with large files or filesets (such as virtual machines or video editing).

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