This is a sponsored article and was made possible by MiniTool. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
Backing up your data is important. While hard drives and SSDs aren’t as error prone as floppy disks, they can still break down without warning. If a drive goes bad while holding your only copy of a file, it’s gone forever. Even with expensive data forensics tools, there could be nothing you could do to get it back.
Rather than wait for something to go wrong, it’s a much better idea to back up early and often. That’s where a tool like MiniTool Shadowmaker Pro comes in handy. Not only does it back up and restore your data, but it gives you many ways to do so.
The hardware requirements to run MiniTool Shadowmaker Pro are modest. The company recommends a 1 GHz Pentium CPU or better, plus 1 GB RAM for 32-bit systems or 2 GB RAM for 64-bit systems. Additionally, you’ll need 1.5 GB free hard disk space.
The requirements for software are similarly relaxed. MiniTool Shadowmaker Pro will run on Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 / 8.1 and Windows 10. Windows Server versions from 2003 through 2019 are supported as well.
When it comes to filesystems, a surprising number are supported. Shadowmaker will back up and restore FAT 16, FAT 32, NTFS, and exFAT partitions. It also supports Ext2/3 filesystems as well, which we wouldn’t normally expect to see with Windows-based software.
Shadowmaker Pro offers a few different backup options. You can back up your system, select files, partitions, or even entire disks. More importantly, you can also choose when these backups happen. You can schedule them to happen at specific times (ideally when you’re not using your computer) or when certain events happen. It can be handy to have the software begin a backup when you log off, for example.
In addition to what is backed up and when that happens, you can choose how backups happen. Not only does MiniTool Shadowmaker Pro support full disk image backups, but it also supports incremental and differential image backups. These both supplement full image backups in different ways, which the software explains.
Keeping your backups protected is important. Shadowmaker Pro helps you keep your data private in multiple ways, with support for password-protecting your backups. You can also encrypt your backups with AES encryption. Using these means that even if someone gets a copy of your backups, they don’t have access to your data.
Another feature of MiniTool Shadowmaker Pro is support for remote backups. When you launch the app, you have the option of looking at your own local computer or logging into a remote computer.
Using MiniTool Shadowmaker Pro
When you first launch Shadowmaker Pro, you’re greeted by a Home screen. If you haven’t yet set up backups, that’s the first option presented to you. You can also easily get to the manual from this screen if you want to learn more about how to use the software.
To create a backup scheme, you can first choose what files, folders, partitions, or disks to back up, and then you can choose where you want to back them up. This can be an external hard drive or another drive installed in your computer. On the Backup tab you can also schedule regular backups, choose your backup scheme, and more.
If you’re not sure how to get started with automatic backups, that’s not a problem. MiniTool has a guide to automatic backups on Windows 10 to help you get started. The post covers how to back up to an external drive automatically and also offers a comparison of different backup methods.
Restoring from backup is easy as well. Simply head to the Restore tab, pick the source you want to restore from, and then wait while the restore process happens. This might take a while if you’re restoring a large backup, but it doesn’t require any extra input from you, so you can go get a cup of coffee while you wait.
There is also a Tools menu that offers various options. Here you can clone disks, create media, mount and dismount drives, and more.
MiniTool Shadowmaker Pro has multiple pricing options, but you don’t have to worry about which one gets you all the features. Each price point offers all the same features – the only difference is how many computers the license allows you to run the software on.
The most basic option is Pro, which costs $29 and allows you to run Shadowmaker Pro on one computer. For $79 you get Pro Ultimate, which allows you to run the software on three PCs.
That covers the personal licenses, but business licenses are available as well. The Business Standard license costs $129 and covers running Shadowmaker Pro on one PC or server. The Business Deluxe option costs $399 but licenses you to run the software on up to ten PCs or servers. There is also a free version of the software with a slimmed-down feature set, should you only need basic backup capabilities.
Considering how important our data is to many of us, not backing it up is a terrible idea. You may even want to have multiple backups. Should something happen to a local hard drive, it’s a good idea to have your data backed up in multiple locations. MiniTool Shadowmaker Pro can help you with this. Simply back up to a spare drive and mail it to a friend or family member.
When it comes to whether this backup tool is worth it, the simple answer is yes. You may prefer another backup solution, but if you’re not sure which tool to use, MiniTool Shadowmaker is both powerful and affordable.
If you’re not sure if the app is right for you, it’s easy to give it a try. A 30-day free trial is available that includes all the features. This will give you a few free backups but also the chance to see for yourself if you like using the app.