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StorageCraft ShadowProtect Desktop Edition 3.3 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £54
inc VAT

ShadowProtect Desktop Edition is a hard disk backup tool.

Once you’ve made an initial full backup of a partition or disk, subsequent backups can be incremental, saving only changes made since the previous backup, or differential, saving all changes made since the initial backup.

You can schedule backups to take place daily, weekly or monthly, but not based on user actions, such as shutting down the system or installing an application. Incremental backups can be set to occur at regular intervals, with a minimum of 15 minutes between backups. This ensures that you’ll always have an up-to-date backup. The effect these incremental backups have on your system’s performance is very small, but it would have been useful to have a suspend option for those occasions when a backup starts in the middle of an intensive task.

You can consolidate incremental backups into the main backup image to save space, ease archive management and make the recovery process less arduous. It’s also possible to split archives to make them easier to fit on a DVD-R, and then combine them to launch in a virtual machine or mount as a disk volume.

The application only backs up entire volumes, so you can’t save just your documents folder, for example. There’s no file-type filter either, so you have to back up everything on the specified volume. However, you can mount and examine volume archives as if they were hard disks or partitions (see FAQ, page 52), which allows you to edit the backup, adding and deleting folders. This may be useful if you’re restoring a backup from an installation that was full of unwanted files, but it’s more suited to business system migration than home use.

Unlike many popular backup applications, including Acronis True Image Home 2009 (see ‘Also consider…’, page 53), ShadowProtect Home lacks hard disk functions such as partition management and defragmentation. There’s also no option to create a hidden partition on your hard disk to store backup images. The fact that it supports only Windows file systems is also a blow for people with dual-boot computers that use Linux or Mac OS X.

If you download your copy of ShadowProtect, you’ll have to create a boot disk manually using the provided ISO image; in the boxed copy, the main disk does this job. The recovery environment makes it easy to bring your computer back to life after a serious fault. You can also use the boot environment to back up a damaged volume – so you can try to recover any lost work from it later.

ShadowProtect Desktop Edition is a competent, reliable backup tool with the addition of archive editing. It lets you ‘set and forget’ your backup regime, safe in the knowledge that your data is protected. It costs more than the opposition though, and we’d expect hard disk tools and wider file system support at this price.


Price £54
Rating ***

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