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5/5/2011 SnapAPI

Source URL (retrieved on 2011-05-05 19:11): http://kb.acronis.com/content/1512
Created - Dec 13, 2005; Updated - Dec 6, 2010

Description of the Acronis SnapAPI module


The SnapAPI module is in charge of all I/O operations on the hard disk of Acronis software
working in Windows. It also allows to create backups under running Windows with an unlimited
number of files open for reading and writing without the necessity to reboot the computer.

Once Acronis software initializes the backup process of a volume (a single partition or a
dynamic disk), Acronis Snapshot Manager flushes the file system mounted to that volume
temporarily freezing all the operations on the system volume. Immediately thereafter, the
Snapshot Manager driver creates a point-in-time view of the system volume and a bitmap
describing the used sectors on this volume. Once the bitmap is created, the filter driver
unfreezes the I/O operations on the system volume. It generally takes just several seconds to
create a point-in-time view of the volume. After that, the operating system continues working as
the imaging process is under way.

Acronis software reads the sectors on the system volume according to the created bitmap. Once
a sector is read, the appropriate bit in the bitmap is reset. In its turn, the Acronis driver continues
working to hold the point-in-time view of the system volume. Whenever the driver sees a write
operation directed at the system volume, it checks whether these sectors are already backed-
up, if they are not, the driver saves the data on the sectors that will be overwritten to a special
buffer created by the software, then it allows the sectors to be overwritten. Acronis software
backs up the sectors from the special buffer, so that all the sectors of the point-in-time view of
the system volume will be backed up intact. Meanwhile, the operating system continues working
and you will not notice anything unusual in the operating system functionality.

Read more about disk imaging in Windows.

The Snapshot Manager driver (snapman.sys) is installed as an upper filter between the file
system drivers and the volume drivers, so SnapAPI can intercept all the read and write requests
passing to a partition. See the scheme below:

Physical hard disk drive

Hard disk driver (disk.sys) which enumerates the hard disk drives, reads and writes information

Hard disk partitions driver (partmgr.sys), which enumerates the hard disk partitions

Volume driver (ftdisk.sys) which represents the partition as a volume. If there are dynamic disks
in the system, the information about them is provided to ftdisk.sys by dmio.sys, which works with
the physical hard disks through disk.sys

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5/5/2011 SnapAPI
Acronis driver (snapman.sys) which flushes the file system mounted to the volume being read by
the Acronis application, so all the operations on the volume temporarily freeze. It generally takes
just a few seconds and then the operating system continues working as usual

File system driver (fastfat.sys, ntfs.sys), which represents the volume according to the file
systems specifications

The SnapAPI drivers binary files and registry keys/settings are listed below:

Windows 2000, Windows 2000 Server, Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Server
2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7


11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} -> snapman string in the UpperFilters value
11D0-BEC7-08002BE2092F} -> snapman string in the LowerFilters value

For compatibility purposes SnapAPI may also be present in Windows\system32\snapapi.dll

More information

You can also take a look at the graphical representation of how Acronis Snapshot Manager


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5/5/2011 SnapAPI
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Description Driver File_System Module SnapAPI Snapman Snapshot

Technology Windows
Description Driver File_System Module SnapAPI Snapman Snapshot
Technology Windows

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