ShadowProtect Desktop 5 Review

The fifth edition of StorageCraft’s ShadowProtect Desktop maintains the power and reliability of its predecessors and offers impressive speed. This automated backup and recovery software provides full protection and all its features are focused on helping you to prevent loss of data, but it is designed to backup the whole drive and online backup is not supported. It is the ideal solution for full data and system protection. Here we will explore more about this software that supports full disk imaging.

Installation and Set Up

The software is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, XP, Vista and 2000. Once it is downloaded, you can start the installation process. There are multiple languages available and you can choose between complete and custom installation, this last option allows you to select the modules that you want to install, including ISO and disk image tools. In order to start using ShadowProtect, you will need to restart the computer.

Interface and Backup

The interface is simple and can be managed without complications. This makes it a good choice for users with limited technical experience. While the design is not exactly impressive, it looks well and more importantly, it works well. Once you have completed the installation, the software runs in your system tray. There are six tabs at the top and tool bar at the left side. To get started, you can go to the Wizards tab, which provides three options: Backup, Restore and Explore Backup.

When you run the Backup wizard, it will find all the drives on your computer and you will be asked to specify one or more options to backup. Then you can choose a destination where the backup is to stored. You can opt for a network drive or the USB drive, but as previously mentioned, cloud storage is not supported. The next step is to select a backup schedule, which can be daily, weekly, monthly or continuous. It is possible to select the days on which you want to perform full and incremental backups. For instance, you can set up that full backups take place at the beginning at the month and at the middle, while the rest of the time you can opt for incremental backups.

It is possible to set up a password to access the backup and you can also choose between high, standard or no compression at all. The disk image file can be split into multiple parts and a name can be assigned to the backup task. There are advanced options such as throttling, which allows you to manage the performance of the application to ensure that it doesn’t take up all the system resources in case you need to work on other tasks. You can also create a retention policy to delete old backups automatically and free up some space on your system.

Restore and Explore

The backed up disk images can be explored or restored. When you run the Explore wizard in the main window, you will be prompted to select the image that you wish to explore. If you have done incremental backups, you can also specify the date and time that should be explored. The Explore wizard also comes with an option to make the image writable so that you can run programs, modify files and more, from it, without actually changing the original image.

If the disk has multiple partitions, it is possible to restore an image to another partition while running in the normal Windows system. To restore the Windows partition to an earlier version, you will need a recovery CD or a USB stick. The required files have to be downloaded from the ShadowProtect website. You can download a cross-platform recovery tool and copy it to a CD, following the instructions on the website. Another option available is designed to create a restore disk based on a special subset of Windows that allows the installation of the OS from a USB stick or CD. This option is suitable for recovery that relies on USB.

If you need to restore a backup to a computer other than the original one, you can use the Hardware-Independent Restore (HIR) option. This takes the hardware drivers from a backup when restoring to a different computer. Windows will install the hardware required automatically. It is an option far from practical than what other similar applications offer because you won’t need to get drivers for the new system.

Price and Support

You can sign up for a free 30-day trial, providing information such as your name, email address and country. ShadowProtect is not a cheap solution as a single license costs $99.95, but the service provides remarkable speed and power. In terms of support, the website offers practical video tutorials and a detailed knowledge base. However, in order to get dedicated customer support, you will need to get a StorageCraft Support plan. There are different options available, depending on your needs. Individual users may be fine with the resources available on the website.


Although ShadowProtect is a pricey solution, it offers impressive quality and reliability. There is a good selection of options for restoring or viewing files and the consistent performance makes one of the best disk-imaging local backup solutions out there.

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