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There are two basic commands for snapshots; one makes a snapshot with a given name, the other retrieves a named snapshot.
C-x v s name RET
C-x v r name RET
This command reports an error if any files are locked at or below the current directory, without changing anything; this is to avoid overwriting work in progress.
A snapshot uses a very small amount of resources--just enough to record the list of file names and which version belongs to the snapshot. Thus, you need not hesitate to create snapshots whenever they are useful.
You can give a snapshot name as an argument to C-x v = or C-x v ~ (see section M.7.4 Examining And Comparing Old Versions). Thus, you can use it to compare a snapshot against the current files, or two snapshots against each other, or a snapshot against a named version.