MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro is a professional backup program with lots of really great features. Despite the “pro” in its name and the fact that it can do quite a lot, it’s really easy to use, even more so than some paid and free backup programs.
This backup software can back up files, folders, and hard drives, it supports disk cloning, lets you restore a backup even if your computer doesn’t start, and can sync two folders with each other.
MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro Features
These are just some things to know about MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro:
- Back up files, folders, and whole hard drives to another location
- Create multiple backup jobs
- Run incremental, differential, and full backups
- Compress the backup to save space
- Disk image backups can be mounted as a drive for easy access
- Restore everything or just select items from the backup
- Keep two folders in sync
- Supports English, German, and Japanese
- Runs on Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7
What Does MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro Cost?
The Pro version of ShadowMaker is $30 USD and lasts a lifetime. You don’t have to renew each year. Just pay once and it’s yours forever. You also get 1 year of free upgrades.
However, there’s also a Pro Ultimate, Business Standard, and Business Deluxe version. All of these versions are almost identical with the exception of a few features:
- A single Pro license is for one computer, Pro Ultimate works from three, Business Standard is for one PC or one server, and Business Deluxe is for 10 PCs or servers.
- The backup and restore feature is supposedly slowed down for the Pro versions
- You get faster technical support if you’re a business user
How to Start a Backup With MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro
Running a local backup with MiniTool ShadowMaker is very self-explanatory. Here’s a quick walkthrough showing how this program works for backup creations, including all the important screens and options:
On the start screen, choose Connect under the Local option.
Select SET UP BACKUP.
Select the Source block to pick the folders, files, or hard drives you want to back up. Choose Destination to pick where you want the backup to be saved. Since you’re backing up your data presumably to keep it safe should something happen to your original files, it’s best to save the backup to a different hard drive or even a shared folder on the network.
Optionally select Schedule to run this backup on a schedule. If you do that, you can have MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro run the backup job every day, week, or month at the exact time you designate. Or, it can run each time you log on/off your computer.
Scheme is the other option you can see in the screenshot. Open that screen to decide how the backup should run. You can choose Full, Incremental, or Differential, and even pick how many versions of the backup to keep should you need to restore an older backup version.
If you’re not sure which one to pick, click through them to read an explanation of what MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro will do should you select that option.
Also available on the Backup tab is an Options button. There are lots of advanced settings here that you can tweak if you want to. A few of them include letting you pick between a sector-by-sector backup or just back up the parts of the drive that include data, split the backup into smaller more manageable pieces, compress the backup, configure email notifications about the backup’s status, password protect the backup, and more.
When you’re ready to run the backup, choose Back up Now at the bottom of the program, or use the arrow next to it to choose Back up Later.
This is what it look like when MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro runs a backup job:
From the Manage tab is also you can run a different backup type (full, incremental, or differential) on that back up job, browse the backup to see what’s inside, edit its settings, verify it, find the image file on your computer, and delete the backup job.
Other MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro Features
Not all of the options and screens were included above. The Sync tab is one example:
This is nearly identical to the Backup tab but is for keeping folders synchronized. Any changes made to one folder is reflected in the other, and vice versa. It’s a lot like a backup but it’s always changing and works from both directions (the source and destination).
The scheduling options for syncing in MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro are the same as when you make a backup, but the options are different. With a sync, you can have the comparison between the two files be based on the file’s modification time, the file’s size, and/or the file’s contents.
There are also filters so that certain files won’t remain in sync, such as the hibernation file, Recycle Bin contents, and other data that doesn’t really need to be synced.
The last tab we’ll look at is Tools:
This is where MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro lets you make a bootable flash drive or disc to run the restore function from outside of Windows. This means you can restore files even if you can’t get into Windows.
This is also the area of the program that lets you mount and dismount hard drive backup images. If you’ve backed up an entire hard drive, you can mount it as a virtual hard drive and browse through the backed up data as if it were a real hard drive.
Clone Disk is also available here. Just as you’d expect, this lets MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro create a true copy from one drive to another. This is great if you’re transferring files to a new hard drive.
Final Thoughts on MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro
This program is truly easy to use. They’ve created it in such a way that all that you need to do is click through the big tabs at the top to back up or restore your files. It really couldn’t be easier.
If you’ve tried other backup programs and they were too confusing or were missing important features, you’ll probably be pleased with MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro. The price isn’t too bad, either.