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Emerging from the Shadows

I have been getting back into the swing of building things just for fun and for exploration. I think a pressure can emerge that the things we create have to mean something, have to hit some mark of quality to be worthy of pursuing at all. I think that is a mistake, especially in that it discourages you from being open to areas where you don’t already have great expertise. So, here I am, putting into practice rejecting that pressure.

Continuing my theme of trying to work with lower-level APIs and with unmanaged languages like C and C++, I have developed a very simple client for Windows’ Volume Shadow Copy service, that allows me to create a shadow copy of a volume, copy some files in a folder to a destination, and then release the shadow copy.

I can see a use for this as part of a very low-tech backup solution where a drive is (most of the time) physically disconnected, and where you want to keep the technology stack as simple as humanly possible for the greatest flexibility in disaster recovery scenarios — BitLocker for external drives (compatible even with Windows client systems), and a bunch of VHDX files on an NTFS volume, copied there using VSS so you don’t have to bring your VMs down.

A big disclaimer is prominently offered — this is not production quality code. My discipline with the responsibility of memory management and other lower-level concepts is “emerging”, to use a euphemism.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed this — it was challenging for where I currently am, but achievable. You can’t improve at something if you don’t let yourself produce output that wouldn’t perhaps yet meet your highest quality standards. (And goodness knows there is plenty of production code out there that never met those standards before it was relied upon by the world.) The perfect shall not be allowed to be the enemy of personal growth and development.

So, here is ShadowDuplicator, your very untested, extremely rudimentary VSS snapshot based backup client. Even if it’s just a workaround for a lack of vssadmin create shadow on client operating systems, it’s something. 😉

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