Microsoft has announced that Vista will store previous copies of files after all.
It originally previously promised such functionality via the highly innovative WinFS file system. For anyone familiar with version control systems (like CVS, SVN, Perfoce, etc) WinFS was going to work in a similar way – except at the OS level.
Sadly it was one of the many features that Microsoft dropped over time as it battled to get Vista shipped by Spring 2007.
However, a recent announcement seems to suggest that such functionality will make the Vista V1 after all, albeit in the form of “Volume Shadow Copy” which is currently used on Windows XP at the moment for system files (System Restore, etc). It’s not as good, as slick or as revolutionary as WinFS but at least it’s a start.