Accessing Versions Stored by Windows System Protection or the Araxis Snapshot Service

Information This feature will be unavailable if Merge has been installed without administrator privileges.

Windows periodically takes restore points (snapshots) of the contents of mounted hard drives. Restore points enable files, folders, and system state to be accessed or rewound to an earlier point in time. Windows typically makes these restore points when notable system events occur, such as application installation or a Windows update. On Windows 7, Araxis Merge is able to use these automatically created system restore points to provide access to earlier versions of compared files and folders. On Windows 8 and later, system restore points do not include the file information required by Merge, but you can still use the Araxis Snapshot Service (see below) to create restore points that do include the necessary information.

If you would like the Merge versions lists (accessed via the Versions button) to show the available restore point versions of compared files and folders, check the option Show file and folder versions from System Restore in the Application options page.

Windows 10

Windows System Protection is not enabled on Windows 10 by default. Windows System Protection must therefore be manually enabled if you wish to use the Araxis Snapshot Service to view older file versions stored for restore points.

To enable Windows System Protection:
  1. Open the Windows Control Panel.
  2. Navigate to System and SecuritySystemSystem Protection.
  3. Click the Configure… button.
  4. Select the Turn on system protection radio button.
  5. Click the OK button.
  6. Click the OK button.

Increasing the number and regularity of restore points

Windows settings

Each restore point uses an unpredictable amount of disk space, so Windows provides a variety of options to configure whether (and how many) restore points are made. These options can be found in Control PanelSystem and SecuritySystemSystem Protection. Restore points can be enabled for some or all hard drives, and the space available for use by restore points can be increased or decreased. The Restore system settings and previous versions of files option should be selected to enable access to previous versions of files and folders. The Only restore previous versions of files option does not provide sufficient access.

The Araxis Snapshot Service

Araxis Merge includes a service called the Araxis Snapshot Service that can make a restore point once every two hours. The benefit of using this service is that restore points are created more often, increasing the number of earlier versions of files and folders that can be accessed. The drawback is that if the hard disk space available for restore points is small, these regular restore points will cause older restore points (such as those created following application installations and Windows Update) to be removed by Windows sooner than they otherwise would be.

The Araxis Snapshot Service is installed and started by the Araxis Merge setup program. A check box option in the Application options page can be used to enable and disable the snapshot feature of the service. If desired, the service can be started, stopped, disabled, and configured to start with Windows in Control PanelSystem and SecurityAdministrative ToolsServicesAraxis Snapshot Service.