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Thread: ShadowProtect

  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    ShadowProtect

    In the interest of "full disclosure" this is a post about backup or imaging software, so if you're not interested in reading about that subject, you should bail out now. This is a topic that is of high interest to many of us and I wanted to talk about a recently discovered product called ShadowProtect Desktop Edition.

    Background reading:

    1) Review of Imaging Software ( <post:=694,939>post 694,939</post:> )
    2) ShadowProtect Report ( <post:=702,244>post 702,244</post:> )

    I've been a user of backup imaging software for a number of years, the past several being with Acronis True Image. But, I've become increasingly frustrated with the difficulties that recent versions of that software have presented, particularly the latest Version 11. In the first referenced thread (#1 above), you'll see that I tried ShadowProtect and discovered that it did not have the capability to backup selected files or folders, so I continued to use True Image at Version 10, since Version 11 would NOT run my scheduled task of selected file backup.

    Recently, after <!profile=Pilgrim>Pilgrim<!/profile>'s and <!profile=Rebel>Rebel<!/profile>'s exchange in the recent post (#2 above), I decided to give ShadowProtect another try. Since this product does NOT backup selected files, I also decided to break from my long-standing practice and to begin using nightly incremental backups to see if I can achieve the same essential result. Some Loungers already use that method successfully and satisfactorily.

    I must tell you now that I downloaded and installed the ShadowProtect trial, setup a scheduled full image for a time later that day and six incrementals for the next six days. When the time came for the scheduled image to take place, I got the biggest, bluest BSOD I've ever seen with nary a clue of what had gone wrong except that Windows was "protecting" my computer from damage by shutting the OS down. I had to power off. When I rebooted, the same screen came again. This time I did a safe boot and removed ShadowProtect using Control Panel. Since I was aware of the possible conflicts with Acronis, I had already removed True Image. Now, I also removed Disk Director and re-installed ShadowProtect. This seems to have fixed the BSOD and I'm running merrily along with a test of a full image completed and scheduled incrementals each night at 1 AM. So far, so good.

    I have burned the boot CD for ShadowProtect and it works well, including my wireless mouse and keyboard (which TI has been unable to deal with through all its versions). From the boot CD I was able to browse the image previously made, but I stopped short of a full restore. My only "concern" (which isn't really an important one) is that the boot CD takes a long time to complete its loading but whatever it does, it did correctly because my two USB external drives were recognized and reachable.

    During my ongoing testing I was able to instantly "mount" from an incremental image to a virtual drive J: and selectively retrieve files with drag-n-drop to the C: drive. I'm going to close with a comment that, as in the Review thread above, the ShadowProtect folks seem to be quite responsive and their forums and knowledge base are very helpful as in the following two examples:

    StorageCraft Knowledge Base (Click the link in center of page) (where I learned to turn OFF defrag if using incremental backups)
    ShadowProtect and Dual-Boot Configurations (since I plan to dual boot my Vista when it arrives)

    The Lounge verbosity monitor is warning me that this post is too long, so I'll stop now. But if anyone cares to discuss this product further, I'd be happy to give more information on my experiences thus far. I know there are at least a couple of other Loungers using ShadowProtect and it certainly looks like a worthwhile "keeper" to me. (Also, see my thread in the Test Forum for a day-by-day account.)

  2. #2
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    Re: ShadowProtect

    Al,
    A very informative report indeed. I'm really pleased to see that ShadowProtect is working for you. I'm pretty enthusiastic about the product, but more than that - I'm confident using the product, knowing that it will restore my system (or individual files or folders) when required.

    As you have noted, one of the prerequisites to the successful use of ShadowProtect is the COMPLETE removal of Acronis True Image and Acronis Disk Director. Removing True Image was acceptable, but I really regretted having to remove Disk Director. I had originally decided to reinstall DD on the odd occasion that I required it, and then simply uninstall it again. As it turns out, I don't even have to do that. Booting with the Acronis DD Recovery CD gives me the option of running Disk Director (complete version or safe version) from the CD. HOWEVER, on my desktop computer (SATA drive controlled by a RAID BIOS), the "complete" version can't see my disk (a shortcoming of the Acronis Linux recovery environment). The "safe" version DOES work however. I also tested this on my notebook (IDE drive) and the "complete" version of Disk Director does load. In both cases however (as you have noted), wireless mouse support does not exist and I have to navigate around the interface via the keyboard.

    One big difference between Acronis (either TI or DD) and ShadowProtect is the Recovery Environment. Acronis is based on Linux and SP is based on Win(Vista)PE. While the "complete" version of the DD Recovery CD couldn't see my SATA drive on the desktop computer, the SP Recovery CD had no problem. As well, IF the SP Recovery CD cannot (for whatever reason) see a SATA drive, the user can actually install the appropriate drivers from the SP Recovery interface. This isn't possible (or at least I can't find a way to do this) with Acronis. And of course, my wireless mouse worked with no problems with the SP Recovery CD.

    I've been looking at your posts in the Test Area. The incrementals sure aren't taking very long are they? When I originally tested SP, I set up a schedule for HOURLY incrementals, and when these executed, they were extremely fast and had little or no impact (that I could observe) on system performance. As I stated earlier, I am very impressed with ShadowProtect and I hope that you too have continued success with it.

    On another note, I understand that Acronis is working on modifying their "snapman" driver so that it does not conflict with ShadowProtect. Hopefully they will be successful and then we can have both ShadowProtect and Disk Director installed without experiencing conflicts.
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

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    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: ShadowProtect

    I'm going to conclude this first "week" of testing and consider it satisfactory, since tomorrow is the day I normally do my backup. I will start a new week's cycle to a different drive in the morning. I'm also showing, one last time, the sizes here of the incrementals for the interest of someone curious about such stuff. The incrementals in my case have run in less than one minute for the past several days. My testing, although NOT including any full restores, has taken a few files out of each nightly incremental that I know to be different and comparing the dailies. No problems here.

    Since there are other products for partitioning out there besides Disk Director, I'm currently looking at Paragon. Partitioning is such a seldom used function, but VERY important when you have a need, so I'd welcome any further recommendations in this area.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: ShadowProtect

    Hi Al,

    As reported in other posts, I have moved away from the Acronis product line and switched to ShadowProtect. With regards to Disk Director, I still have that on my ATI bootable CD and Disk Director is still operation in that mode. Just used it a few weeks ago without any hitch.

    Cheers, Bob
    Regards,
    Bob

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    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: ShadowProtect

    A short followup for future readers. I closed out the above pictured cycle since Saturday (today) is when I usually do my full image backup. So, I started anew, sending this week's files to a USB external drive rather than the (above) internal SATA disk. This morning's full image of about the same size took 24 minutes, presumably because the USB drive is slower than the SATA. That's about the same time my imaging took when I was using True Image.

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    Re: ShadowProtect

    Al (and other SP users),
    ShadowProtect version 3.2 is scheduled for release within the next two weeks. Support for Vista 64bit is one of the new features. Hopefully, automatic verify after imaging will be another.
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

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    Re: ShadowProtect

    bigaldoc and Rebel,
    Thanks for the info on ShadowProtect!
    I do have a few questions.
    I am looking for imaging software to backup my Vista Home Premium after SP1 system.
    I am not interested in doing any selective backups (I keep all my personal data on external media anyway).
    I have an external USB drive - 160gig IOMEGA EGO that I would like to use for that; and, when the time comes, use it to restore my system to a good point if necessary.
    Will that be possible using ShadowProtect?
    I take it that ShadowProtect will lead you through the creation of a bootable CD for that purpose?
    Have you tried to do a restore from an external USB drive?
    Thanks,
    RickM46

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    Re: ShadowProtect

    Hi RickM46,
    In answer to your questions, YES to #1 & #3. A for the bootable CD, you have to download an ISO file from SP and then use your burning software (Nero, Roxio, etc.) to cerate a bootable CD from the ISO. You can find instructions on how to do this in whatever burning software you are using. It's really quite painless. Best bet is to download the trial version and give it a whirl. If it meets your needs, then purchase a license, activate it and you're on your way. Hope this helps.

    PS - the Shadow Protect user forums are great! Lots of information, and the SP people are VERY responsive!
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

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    Re: ShadowProtect

    My belated welcome to The Lounge, Rick. I'm a happy customer so far as you can tell above and I'm doing what you seem to want. I don't use an Iomega, but I have two Seagate USB drives (100 and 160 gig) that I use for a weekly full image AND daily incrementals. John (Rebel) has done many restores which I have not as yet. However, I have done many selective file restores from weekly images and that much works for me. My 80 gig C: drive contains "only" 31 gig and takes ShadowProtect 22-23 minutes to make a full image to a USB drive. It obviously does run faster to a second internal SATA drive, but I'm satisfied with 20+ minutes. Good luck.

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    Re: ShadowProtect

    John, I don't know if you saw the post from Nate on the SP forum that they're still working on the 3.2 ISO - it isn't ready yet. I hope someone heeds my gripe about "finding" the ISO file, for even after support refreshed my download counter, in trying to see if the ISO file was there yet, I've done it again! It seems that even if you just visit the URL where the ISO is called out, it decrements your counter, only to find that the ISO is still at the 3.1 level. I hope they will respond and change this process. They really should make the ISO and the updated product available at the same time, even if it means delaying the visibility of the updated version.

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    Re: ShadowProtect

    Rebel and bigaldoc,
    Thanks immensely for the info; I will load ShadowProtect's trial version and give it a shot!!
    I am really grateful that this website exists; it helped me tremendously in the effort to get Vista SP1 made available to me and then downloaded.
    Now, the quest for image software to do my backups.
    I've always wanted some utility that would allow me to restore my machine (operating system and application software and all other files) in one painless step instead of going back and incrementally installing the operating system from the PC vendor's CD and then all updates and then all application software and ................on and on.
    It looks like ShadowProtect fills the bill.
    RickM46

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    Re: ShadowProtect

    Yes I saw Nate's post Al. I agree that the process for locating the new ISO needs improvement.
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

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    Re: ShadowProtect

    Rebel and bigaldoc,
    I went ahead and purchased ShadowProtect Desktop 3.2 (now I am entertaining getting my money back).
    I have an issue with it and was hoping to find out if I am way off on my expectations.
    I have a Samsung C drive NTFS file system, 285 gig, with 40 gig in use; 245 gig freespace.
    I have a backup IOMega USB drive with a FAT32 file system, 150 gig, zero gigs in use; 150 gig free (yes, I have no files on it yet).
    So I figured that my backup drive had plenty of space for an SP full image back up.

    When I run SP, it runs for 25 minutes and creates backup files.
    When I look at the SP log at
    Program FilesStorageCraftShadowProtectLogs
    for the log of the backup job,
    I see the following log message:
    Module - sbfile - Code 108 - platform error writing to the file (-112 There is not enough space on the disk)
    BUT the job continues with more encouraging messages.

    I have the Free Space exclusion option set to not include freespace.
    So, I am confused.
    After many emails with SP support, they didn't have an explanation but suggested I reformat my FAT32 backup drive to FTSP format.
    Have you looked at your logs and seen the message?
    Is your backup drive an FTSP drive?
    Now I am wondering if a need a backup drive that is bigger than my C drive and an FTSP drive.
    Any comments would be appreciated.
    RickM46

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    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: ShadowProtect

    I haven't had any errors at all, let alone like you got. I guess the first thing I would suggest would be to work with it a little before trying to get a refund. <img src=/S/evilgrin.gif border=0 alt=evilgrin width=15 height=15> It seems to me that you should reformat that USB drive to NTFS, rather than FAT32 or FTSP. I have two USB drive which I use for backup images only - one is 100 gig and the other 160 gig. My Vista (SATA internal) drive is 200 gig and SP backs it up to either of the USBs with any errors. BTW, all my drives are NTFS and I don't miss FAT32 one bit. I too have the free space exclusion in force - I think it may have been the default. Keep us posted and wait for John's (or others) comments.

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    Re: ShadowProtect

    I think it is the FAT 32, SP is most likely trying to save in 4 Gig files and FAT 32 can not handle that large of file.
    WE had this same issue with TI on FAT 32 drives.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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