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.