Note: This review addresses version 3.3 of the
ShadowProtect is a physical or local network backup and system
restore solution, and it’s all included in the program: no monthly
fee or service is required. It has a friendly user interface:
Within a couple of clicks, you can set up a recurring backup or
even an incremental one, and you don’t have to close any running
programs to do it. ShadowProtect runs in the background, and
unlike, say, a virus scan, it doesn’t slow the system down much or
take up much CPU. ShadowProtect supports “bare metal” system
recovery, meaning it can restore one backup to a completely
different drive on a completely different PC, if necessary. Note
that you must have backed up with ShadowProtect in order to use it
for system recovery.
There are numerous options available, such as encrypting the
backup, setting a schedule, and fine-tuning incremental backup. The
latter requires a separate program called ImageManager, and it lets
you manage the storage space that the backups use. ImageManager
requires a separate install after ShadowProtect is installed. I
tested a backup of an entire external USB hard drive and stored it
on a much larger internal drive. The backup took just under two
hours for 150 GB of data, and restoration took the same amount of
time. The restored drive behaved just as it did before, with no
One nice extra feature that ShadowProtect has is support for
virtual environments. In other words, if you’ve got VMWare virtual
machine software set up on your machine and multiple operating
systems running inside it, then ShadowProtect will restore onto any
of those virtual machines easily. In fact, VMWare specifically
includes support for ShadowProtect.
ShadowProtect comes with a backup CD that can be booted from in
case of a system failure. The physical version of ShadowProtect
comes with the CD itself, while the digital download includes a
large .ISO file that must be burned to a CD. You can’t choose
between the two until you’ve completed your order; keep in
mind that the physical version has a shipping cost as well.
Eighty bucks is reasonable for an unlimited single-user license,
even though upgrades are extra. Compare ShadowProtect with its main
competitor. Norton Save and
Restore costs $60 with its own backup CD ($50 without), and
upgrades cost $40 with no maintenance option. Also, Norton doesn’t
support virtual environments.
The world of backups seems to be moving toward online backups,
which backup your system to a remote server location through the
Internet. For those that still need a physical or local network
backup solution, though, ShadowProtect is a good choice.
Note: The trial version of ShadowProtect is
full-featured and lasts 30 days. The full version costs $80.