How to setup Time Traveler for the first time

  1. Run the WHS Console and select the Time Traveler tab
  2. Enter your email address and order number. You can find this information in your email purchase order confirmation.    Alternately, you can select Trial Mode and use the full features of the software; the trial version is only limited in that it allows up to 25 roll-back points
  3. Click the Setup button to run the one-time database initialization. We recommend that you store the Time Traveler database file on a hard drive other than the hard drive where your WHS Storage is located.  Check your Server Storage tab, located on the WHS Console, to view your storage allocations.  You should consider purchasing a new hard drive for the database; although this is not a requirement.  If you cancel this step then the software will not be usable until you restart the WHS Console and complete the setup wizard

How to Install Time Traveler

How to Install Time Traveler

  1. Download the TimeTravlerWHS.msi installation file
  2. Copy the TimeTravelerWHS.msi installation file to the Software\Add-Ins folder on your Windows Home Server (WHS)
  3. Run the WHS Console | Select Settings | Select Add-ins | Select Available | Press Install
  4. Note TimeTravelerWHS requires WHS Power Pack 2 or later. If you do not currently have Power Pack 2 installed then download the pack from Microsoft. From the WHS Console Settings page,  select General | Press Update Now…
  5. The WHS Console will close
  6. Re-start the WHS Console and  select the Time Traveler tab
  7. Enter your email address and order ID from your purchase.  Alternately, you can use the software in trial mode which will limit the total rollback-points to a  maximum of 25.  Trial users can click the ‘Send feedback on trial version’ link to email any questions, issues, or concerns they have about the software. We want to hear from you!
  8. Select the hard drive you want to use to store your rollbak database and press the Setup button.  It is recommended for best performance to use a different physical hard drive than you are using for your Windows Home Server storage pool (you can view the Server Storage tab on your WHS Console to see how your hard drives are allocated.  If you add a new hard drive to your WHS at a later date and wish to move the rollback database then please see our FAQ for steps on purging and moving the database).
  9. That’s all!  Time Traveler is now setup and ready for use.  You can review the step-by-step guide for more details on using the software.

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How to use additional Time Traveler settings

To locate the settings dialog, select the “More” link in the lower right corner of the main screen.  You can update the following settings:

  1. Check for Updates: this will check the internet to verify if    there is a newer version of Time Traveler that you can download.    If a new download is available then you will be given a link to  download the latest version.
  2. Gather Diagnostic Logs: copy diagnostic logs to your  “\\server\public” share if requested by a Time Traveler WHS    support personnel
  3. Enable Diagnostic logs: enable or disable diagnostic logs if  requested by a Time Traveler WHS support personnel
  4. Verify Database: verify the integrity of your rollback  database.  Automatically fix any errors
  5. Reset All Settings and Database: erase your rollback  database.  This will erase all history.  You can reclaim space and    start over. Close your WHS Console and re-start it to rebuild a new rollback database

How to use Time Traveler; day to day use

The lower-left corner of Time Traveler add-in displays information about the state of your rollbacks.  You have access to the following information:

  1. Status: this will display “Online” if everything is configured correctly.  If you’re running a trial version of Time    Traveler and it expires then it will display “Expired Trial” and no future rollback operations will be available to you.  During normal operation this can also display “Updating database” and “Updating folder list”; these are displayed while Time Traveler is performing rollback operations
  2. Last Scan: This is the date and time of the last scan
  3. Last Rollback: this is the date and time of the last rollback created on your WHS. It may not be the same as the “Last Scan.”    For example, if a scan is run but no new or changed files are found then a rollback is not created at that time and no disk    space is used for a new rollback
  4. Total Rollbacks: this is the total number of rollbacks available. If you press the “Manually” link and there is a new or    changed file in one of your selected Shares then you will see this number increase
  5. Available Space: this is the total space available for the Time Traveler rollback database

Four schedule options are available: periodic, daily, on-file-change, and manually.  See the lower-middle section of the main screen for these settings:

  1. Periodically: this option will scan your selected Shares for new and changed files at the specified interval you choose
  2. Daily: this option will scan your selected Shares for new and changed files once per day at the specified hour you choose
  3. On file change: this option will configure Time Traveler to automatically run a new rollback whenever a file is added or changed on your Windows Home Server.  You can select the number of seconds after each file change that Time Traveler should wait before it runs a rollback
  4. Manually: this option will scan your selected share whenever you run the Console and press the Manually link.  Further, you can always run a manual rollback-point by selecting the Create rollback now link located on the lower-right corner of Time Traveler

How to rollback a Share, folder, or file to a previous version

  1. Make sure that you have Time Traveler configured and have at least one Share enabled for rollback
  2. Right-click a Share and select Rollback
  3. Select the date and time you want to rollback. By default, the date and time of the most recent rollback is selected. You can select any date and time going back to your first rollback point
  4. Select the Locate button if you want to locate a particular date/time for a file.  Selecting a file/folder on the right-hand pane will display all of the available rollback points for that file/folder in the left-hand pane.  Press Select to set the rollback to the desired rollback date
  5. Select what you want to rollback; either the entire Share, a folder within the Share, or a single file
  6. By default, your rollback is placed in the “Time Traveler Rollbacks” share.  You may elect to rollback your files directly into the original Share.  Note, rolling back files into the original Share will overwrite all files on the WHS which exist within the rollback; new files and folders which were added after the rollback date will NOT be deleted
  7. Press Rollback and your files are rolled back to the selected Share
  8. You can now view the rolled-backed files via Windows Explorer. If you wish to keep a file permanently, and you rolled back into the “Time Traveler Rollbacks” Share, then simply drag-and-drop it from the “Time Traveler Rollbacks” Share to your original share. Time Traveler will update its rollback database with the new file. Of course, you can always rollback to any previous version at any time.

How to enable shares for rollback

How to enable shares for rollback:

  1. Right-click a Share and select Enable
  2. That Share (all files and folders within the Share) will be added to the rollback database
  3. Repeat for each Share you wish to add

How to disable a share from rollback:

  1. Right-click a Share and select Disable
  2. That Share (all files and folders within the Share) will be disabled from future entries in the rollback database
  3. Repeat for each Share you wish to remove
  4. Note: existing rollback information will NOT be removed from the database when you de-select a Share but, going forward, new and changed files will not be added to the rollback database

 

A first-time users step-by-step guide to using Time Traveler for WHS

To follow along with these steps, it is assumed you have previously installed and completed the one-time setup process for Time Traveler on your Windows Home Server.

Open the WHS Console and select the Time Traveler tab.  You will see a list of WHS shares available for rollback.  To enable a Share for rollback, right-click on the Share and select Enable.

select share

Time Traveler will automatically create a rollback-point for all files within the selected Share.  Notice the status changes to    “Updating Database” in the lower-left corner.  As soon as the rollback-point is complete, this status will return to “Online.”     The first rollback-point you create for each Share will take the longest amount of time since Time Traveler has to process each byte    of every file within the Share; so be patient.  Future rollback-points will be much quicker as only new and changed files will be processed.

creating rollback point

Now that you’ve created your first rollback-point, you can view the    rollback to make sure everything worked correctly.  Select the Share which you created the rollback-point above, right-click, and select View Rollbacks.

rollback complete

You will now see the View Rollbacks window which contains a list of all files and folders within the Share you selected.  You can    click-through each folder on the right-hand side to view sub-folders and files.  As you select a file or folder on the right-hand    side, a list of all versions of the selected file or folder will display on the left-side.  For our case, you should see a single version for each file and each folder.  When you’re done viewing the rollback-points press the Exit key to return to Time Traveler and the WHS Console.

view rollbacks

Now we can configure Time Traveler to automatically create new rollback-points whenever a file is added or changed.  Note the on-file-change option is only one of four options available to you for configuring when Time Traveler creates rollback-points.  You    could also select: periodically, daily, or manually.  For the purpose of this document, we’ll select on-file-change since it’s the easiest method to create rollback-points.

Located at the bottom of the Time Traveler screen, select the Create Rollbacks listbox and select On File Change.  The default setting will automatically create a new rollback-point ten seconds after a file is added or changed within any of the Shares you have selected.

Set on file change

Now that Time Traveler is setup to automatically create rollback-points for us, open an Explorer window to view the WHS    Share you have selected above.  Now, within that Share, either make a change to an existing file or add a new file.  Now wait ten    seconds and you will notice Time Traveler changes status from “Online” to “Updating Database” while the new rollback-point is being created.

create second rollback

After Time Traveler finalizes the new rollback-point, the status will display “Online,” You can once again right-click the Share and select View Rollbacks.  Now, locate the file you changed (or added) above and verify a new rollback-point has been saved.  Notice there are now two rollback points for our file since we’ve    created two different rollback-points on the file.  Easy!

view two versions

Now, go back to the Explorer window of your Share and edit the file a few more times (you’ll need to wait ten seconds, or whatever value    you have configured in Time Traveler, between edits to make sure Time Traveler processes a new Rollback).  Now, return to the View Rollbacks dialog, select the file, and verify each of the new rollback-points is visible.  There they are!  Kewl beans!!!

more revisions saved

So far, we’ve only viewed our rollback-points.  But, what if you wanted to actually rollback to an older version of a file?     That’s just as easy.  Select your Share you have enabled for rollbacks, right-click, and select Rollback.

rollback to a revision

Now you’ll see the Rollback wizard.  By default, Time Traveler    sets the When To Rollback value to the last known rollback date.  So, if you were to press the Rollback button now then Time Traveler would rollback your entire share as it existed in the most recent rollback-point.  But, for our needs we want to rollback a single file.  So, we want to browse for a particular version of a file and locate its rollback date, we’ll press the Locate button.

rollback wizard

The Browse For Versions dialog is displayed.  This dialog is identical to the View Rollback dialog we used previously.  So, we    click-through on the right-hand side and locate the file we want to rollback.   A list of available rollback dates are displayed on the left-side.  Select your desired rollback date and press the Select button.

locate the version of your file

Notice the When To Rollback value has been updated to reflect the exact date of the version of the file you just selected.     Alternately, you can manually set a date and time if you know these details about the file you wish to rollback.  But, for our    purposes, it is much easier to let Time Traveler tell us the date and time of the version we want to rollback.

Also notice Time Traveler is smart enough to know that you what to rollback a single file so the File radio-button is automatically selected for you.  If you had selected a folder, instead of a file above, then the Folder radio-button would have been selected for you.  There’s nothing more you need to change in the What To Rollback section of the wizard.

Now, we move to the Where To Rollback section of the wizard.  By default Time Traveler will rollback your files into a Share named    Time Traveler Rollbacks.  This is to guarantee your existing files on your WHS will not be overwritten by accident.  If you want to overwrite your existing files then simply click on the listbox and select Original Location.

smart wizard showing file selection

When you click on Original Location, you will be prompted to ensure you want to overwrite the files in your WHS Shares.  For our case, we do, so select OK.

warning of overwrite

Now you are ready to rollback a single file directly into its original location.  Press the Rollback button to get started.

ready to revert

Time Traveler will begin rolling-back your file.  Typically,  this is a quick process but is dependent on the size of the file being rolled-back.

please wait

After the file is rolled-back, Time Traveler will display a notification and include a link directly to your file.  You can click the link to open an Explorer window and verify the version of the file you rolled-back is now on your Windows Home Server; safe and sound.

finally

Enjoy!!