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Pleonasm
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #15 - Nov 23rd, 2007 at 4:16pm
 
ShadowProtect Desktop 3.1 has been released by StorageCraft.
 

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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #16 - Dec 26th, 2007 at 10:31pm
 
Pleonasm,

You should be well on top of ShadowProtect by now. Any chance of an overview? Its strengths and weaknesses?
 
 
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #17 - Dec 27th, 2007 at 4:53pm
 
Yes, Brian, I would be most happy to pen a few thoughts comparing the strengths/weaknesses of ShadowProtect to Norton Ghost — but, it may about two weeks before I have completed some of my own ‘experiments’.  Please remind me again, if you don’t see a post materialize on this thread.

Best wishes to all for a joyous 2008!   Smiley
 

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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #18 - Dec 29th, 2007 at 11:38pm
 
Just my 2 cents. I've been using shadowprotect on 2 computers and it's excellent. I backed up 96 gigs in about 40 minutes with high compression. It compressed a 3.4 gig partition to 880 mb. I restored a 15 gig partition in 2 minutes. I would never go back to ghost. If you read previous posts I made I had many problems with ghost especially getting the recovery environment to see my external hard drive. Shadowprotect worked perfectly the first time. I tried true image and paragon and they were non functional for me. I would absolutely recommend shadowprotect.  Smiley
 
 
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #19 - Jan 2nd, 2008 at 8:06pm
 
Pleonasm,

Like Brian and I am sure others, I will look forward to reading your ShadowProtect overview whenever you get around to it.  I am using Sp for a while now and enjoy it a lot but like many I also have licenses for other imaging programs.  I continue to monitor several of them because imaging is an important function for me.  But right now, SP has very good speed and reliability.  Anyway, will await your overview.

Gary
 
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #20 - Jan 7th, 2008 at 11:46am
 
I am writing to offer a set of observations on the differences between StorageCraft ShadowProtect Desktop Edition 3.1 (SPD) and Symantec Norton Ghost 12 (NG).  While both products have a substantial amount of functionality in common, each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Image Creation
  • Recovery Environment.  SPD images can be created not only from within Windows (i.e., a “hot image”), but also from within the Recovery Environment (i.e., a “cold image”).
  • DVD.  SPD images can be written directly to DVD discs at about same speed as burning a file of equivalent size using any optical media burning utility.  Although this function exists in NG, many users report that it is so slow as to be unusable from a practical perspective.  With SPD, writing an image to DVD discs is highly realistic.
  • Verification.  SPD cannot automatically verify an image after its creation.  This operation must be started manually as a separate operation.
  • Compression.  SPD compression at the “high” level appears to be equivalent to the “medium” level of NG in terms of compression effectiveness.
  • Differential backup.  SPD supports the creation of differential backup images.
Image Restoration
  • Hardware Independence.  SPD supports the restoration of images to different hardware or to virtual environments (P2P, P2V, V2P).  I have restored images to a virtual machine (VMware Workstation 6.0) having different hardware with SPD, and this function works well.
  • Resizing.  A SPD image cannot be restored to a partition smaller than the one upon which it is based.
  • MBR/Hidden Track.  SPD allows the user to individually specify whether to “Restore MBR” and/or to “Restore Disk Hidden Track”.
  • CD/DVD sequence.  When restoring from an image on multiple optical discs, it is only necessary to insert each one in sequence.  With NG, the user is “prompted to insert the first CD, followed by the last CD, the first CD, the last CD, then the first CD again. Then, the restore process begins and prompts you for the media in sequence. After you restore a recovery point, you are prompted again to insert the first CD again. For example, if you have a recovery point that spans across five CDs, you would insert the CDs in the following order: 1-5-1-5-1-2-3-4-5-1.”
Recovery Environment
  • Load drivers.   SPD can dynamically load storage and NIC drivers without rebooting while the Recovery Environment is already running.
  • USB Hard Disks.  SPD will dynamically recognize USB hard disk drives when “hot plugged” into the PC.
  • Vista BCD.  SPD contains a “Vista BCD” tool, allowing the user to edit the BCD.
  • DiskPart.  SPD contains the Microsoft DiskPart utility.
  • File Browser.  SPD contains its own “lite” version of  Windows Explorer, allowing the user to easily create folders and copy files.
Other
  • Mounted images.  An SPD image can be mounted as “writeable,” allowing the user to make changes to the image (e.g., add/delete files), which are saved as an incremental backup image file.
  • Snapshot driver.  SPD uses the latest “snapshot driver,” while NG employs an earlier version of the driver (both of which are produced by StorageCraft).  This driver is the “heart” of the “hot image” backup functionality.
  • Custom Recovery Environment disc.  SPD does not allow the user to produce a custom Recovery Environment disc, containing added device drivers.
  • File systems.  SPD  supports only FAT and NTFS file systems.
  • Updates.  SPD allows the user to “Check for Latest Version”, but will not automatically download and install updates.
  • Technical support.  SPD technical support is outstanding.  Emails are typically answered within one day,  and the user may also call StorageCraft and speak to a knowledgeable individual.  Additionally, the user forum is moderated by StorageCraft personnel, who quickly respond to inquiries.
  • File/folder backup.  SPD does not contain a “file/folder” backup capability, but supports only image backups.
  • Copy drive.  SPD does not have a “Copy Drive” capability.
  • Search.  SPD is not integrated with Google Desktop for search.
  • Maxtor OneTouch.  SPD is not integrated with the Maxtor OneTouch.
  • Convert to virtual disk.  SPD does not have a "Convert to Virtual Disk” capability.  To restore an image to a virtual machine (VM), it is necessary to boot the VM into the Recovery Environment and restore the image manually.  VMware Workstation 6.0 does offer a capability to directly import a SPD image; however, this capability is not supported for images of Windows Vista systems.
  • Maintenance.  SPD updates are free (e.g., version 3.0 to 3.1).  If software maintenance is purchased, it also allows the user to obtain upgrades (e.g., version 3.1 to version 4.0) for free.
I encourage other members of this forum community to add their own perspectives concerning a comparison of SPD versus NG.
 

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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #21 - Jan 8th, 2008 at 9:36pm
 
Here is a quote from the Shadowprotect support forum, regarding backup and restore:

"The only issues I have found with it so far are 1. You can't restore to a smaller partition than the original source partition, regardless of actual used space, 2. You can't restore a FAT32 partition to a larger one (only the exact same size as the original source partition) and 3. It doesn't have a disk-to-disk clone ability."

For many of us, who deal with situations where it is necessary to move images between hard drives, need to be aware of the above limitation, even though by using a third party sofware, one can change size of the partition before imaging, if necessary.

One nice thing about Ghost SS, is we need to concern only the exact space used in the partition during moving an image. Hopefully, the above limitation may be fixed in upcoming release.

For imaging and restoring, Shadowprotect looks to be an attractive alternative. In addition, a full funtional program can be downloaded for evaluation (unlike the trunkated version that Symantec normally has).

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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #22 - Jan 9th, 2008 at 5:23pm
 
While it is a minor point, I would add that StorageCraft does document and provide a change log when it releases updates to ShadowProtect.  I know that some users are disappointed that Symantec doesn’t do likewise for Norton Ghost.
 

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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #23 - Jan 12th, 2008 at 10:47am
 
No VISTA Supprt ?
 
 
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #24 - Jan 12th, 2008 at 3:17pm
 
After feature of ShadowProtect Desktop that may be of interest to some is its ability for “Continuous Incrementals”:  a full base image is produced only once (and never again), so that every subsequent backup is an incremental.

* * * * * * * * * *

RAD_2, yes – ShadowProtect Desktop 3.1 is compatible with Windows Vista (32-bit).

ShadowProtect Desktop isn’t compatible with Vista 64-bit.  According to some posts I have read on the StorageCraft forum, however, my understanding is that the limitation will probably disappear in the very near future.  You can still, nonetheless, boot into the Recovery Environment with the existing 3.1 version and image or restore a Vista 64-bit system.
 

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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #25 - Jan 21st, 2008 at 12:38pm
 
This is an interesting post . . .

Quote:
I'm one of the engineers who developed ShadowProtect. I was also one of the primary engineers on Ghost/LiveState from Symantec.

Of course you'll have to take this with a grain of salt, as it's impossible for me to give an unbiased opinion, but having a detailed understanding of the strengths/weaknesses/architectures of these products I can say, without any reservation at all, that ShadowProtect is far superior. There are a few features that LiveState has that haven't yet been release in ShadowProtect (restore-to-different-machines, for instance, which we have fully implemented but not yet released {edit--this feature exists now in version 3.1}). However, we'll soon exceed their entire set of functionality, and I think that most users will find that ShadowProtect's implementation is generally faster, more resource efficient, and more robust. For instance, Symantec doesn't broadcast this fact (although you can find it if you dig around in their knowledge base) but they are simply unable to backup Exchange without stopping Exchange alltogether. ShadowProtect is easily able to successfully backup Exchange every fifteen minutes without stopping Exchange (make sure you turn on the Exchange VSS writer if you're using SBS). No product is perfect, and all products have bugs, but you'll also find that StorageCraft is very responsive to any issues that you report. There's no bubble-up process when you report problems - they go directly to the responsible engineer(s). Symantec has a major disconnect between support personnel and the engineers, and you will usually have to wait a very long time, if not indefinitely, to receive resolutions to your issues.
Source:  What is the best total restore, bare server backup product
 

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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #26 - Jan 21st, 2008 at 3:28pm
 
Pleonasm wrote on Jan 21st, 2008 at 12:38pm:
I'm one of the engineers who developed ShadowProtect. I was also one of the primary engineers on Ghost/LiveState from Symantec.

Just to put this into context, he means V2i, not genuine Ghost - the corporate version of the old PowerQuest V2i product now sold as BESR was previously called LiveState Recovery Manager.

As such, I can't speak to any of his other comments; Symantec isn't a homogeneous place, we aren't all telepathically connected into a hive mind, and our processes, culture, product and attitude to customers here at Ghost HQ in New Zealand are and remain our own.
 
 
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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #27 - Jan 21st, 2008 at 3:59pm
 
Pleonasm wrote on Jan 21st, 2008 at 12:38pm:
This is an interesting post . . .

[quote]I'm one of the engineers who developed ShadowProtect. I was also one of the primary engineers on Ghost/LiveState from Symantec.

Of course you'll have to take this with a grain of salt, as it's impossible for me to give an unbiased opinion, but having a detailed understanding of the strengths/weaknesses/architectures of these products I can say, without any reservation at all, that ShadowProtect is far superior. quote]Source:  What is the best total restore, bare server backup product


From a practical standpoint, when one has to put in place a program which will ensure reliable bullet-proof backup and restore and other functions, one is going to stick with a product which has proved its reliability based on personal experience. When your job or livelyhood is on-line, you do not want to take chances no matter what someone else says -- whoever it may be; finally the buck stops with you. Personally, I am more of a follower than a leader in using software in business production environment, since taking unncessary risks are fraught with serious consequences for me and those depend on the systems I support.  My 0.02.

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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #28 - Feb 7th, 2008 at 8:28am
 
Readers of this forum may be interested in the following recently published review of ShadowProtect Desktop from PC Magazine.

Quote:
ShadowProtect Desktop 3.1
REVIEW DATE:  01.30.08

BOTTOM LINE:
This software provides the fastest and smoothest backups and restores of any drive-image utility on the market, and a Vista-based emergency disk guarantees compatibility with the widest range of backup hardware. ShadowProtect Desktop 3.1 is the best such product and worth ten times its price in terms of peace of mind and flexibility.

PROS:
Fast, reliable image backups to local and network drives. Easy restores, even to different hardware. Plentiful scheduling and security options. Can mount images in VMware Workstation or Microsoft Virtual PC.

CONS:
Can't back up specific groups of files.

COMPANY:
StorageCraft Technology Corporation

SPEC DATA:
Price: $79.00 Direct
Type: Business, Personal, Professional
OS Compatibility: Windows Vista, Windows XP
Tech Support: email and public forum

EDITOR RATING:  4.5 out of 5.0

By  Edward Mendelson

What I want from backup software is simple: It should work perfectly and fast—and that's exactly what ShadowProtect Desktop 3.1 did on my tests. Maybe the reason this utility is so good at backing up hard drives and restoring whole systems, individual drives, and individual files is that it doesn't try to do anything else. The utility lacks some of the fancy features trumpeted by its commercial competitors, like Acronis True Image 11 Home and Paragon Drive Backup 8.5 Personal Edition, but I prefer it over all the alternatives, because it does what it's designed to do with unparalleled speed and reliability. And its interface, while not as spectacular as its performance, is clear enough to get the job done.

ShadowProtect Desktop creates full and incremental backup images, either on schedule or on demand, and can save them to internal and external hard disks, CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray media, network drives, and Network Attached Storage (NAS) units. It restores images to your hard drive—or to a different machine—when you need to revive a nonworking system or simply want to go back to an earlier version of a mildly messed-up one.

ShadowProtect Desktop performs the same basic functions as True Image Home and Paragon Drive Backup, but it's breathtakingly fast compared with its rivals. It's also the only program of its kind that creates writable backup images. In Windows Explorer I was able to open a backed-up drive image, modify files, run a virus remover on them, or use any other software to manipulate them—and then save the image in its modified form. Rival products, by contrast, can open backed-up images strictly as read-only drives, so you can copy files out but can't change anything inside. Best of all, ShadowProtect Desktop simply works without surprises no matter what hardware I use.

Interfacing with ShadowProtect

The interface is standard for this software category—a sidebar on the left for choosing basic tasks and a large panel on the right for viewing backup operations in progress, studying a map of your drives, and giving access to other features. This product isn't for complete beginners, but you don't need to be an expert, either. Setting up a scheduled automated backup routine takes only a few seconds. For my hard drive, I used the wizard interface to schedule monthly image backups and daily incremental backups that saved to a D-Link DNS-323 NAS unit. Every few weeks I also make full backups to a small stack of writable DVDs and a USB-attached external drive.

ShadowProtect Desktop ships on a CD that can install the utility in Windows. The same disc can also work as a bootable emergency CD when I need to restore a drive from a backed-up image, retrieve files from a stored image, or simply retrieve files from a machine that won't boot from Windows. The software uses a reduced version of Vista (the Vista Pre-boot Environment, or Vista PE) for its bootable disc, which means that the emergency CD can access every kind drive Vista can. This makes for much smoother operations than the Linux-based emergency CD used by True Image Home, which was confused by my complex system. Also, when backing up and restoring a Windows-based system, I'm simply more comfortable with an emergency CD based on Vista rather than Linux—even Paragon Drive Backup's excellent Linux-based emergency disc.

Unlike True Image Home, ShadowProtect Desktop doesn't come with software that creates a bootable emergency CD for you if you don't have the original, but registered users can download a burnable ISO image from StorageCraft's Web site and create a bootable CD at any time. Nor will you find a feature like "Secure Zone" or "Backup Capsule," offered by True Image Home and Paragon Drive Backup, that will store a backup to the drive being backed up. But such zones won't protect your data if your drive suffers a physical failure. ShadowProtect Desktop will let you save the images from one partition to another partition on the same physical drive, which is handy. But the app is really designed for storing backup images on separate media that you can safely store. After all, if your machine gets nuked, you'll probably lose both partitions. Still, if you merely overwrite a key file by accident, having a local backup is useful, too.

Continued on next post...
 

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Re: ShadowProtect
Reply #29 - Feb 7th, 2008 at 8:32am
 
Quote:
Hardware Independent Restoration: Very Cool

The software's most impressive unique feature is its Hardware Independent Restore (HIR), which runs only from the emergency CD. With HIR, you can take an image made on one computer, restore it to another that has entirely different hardware, and be confident that the restored image will boot. You'll probably need to install sound and network drivers for the new system, but you'll be able to boot—a feat you'll rarely manage when you transfer an existing system to a very different machine. Also, you'll be able to use all your existing software and settings without going to the trouble of installing all your programs again.

This feature takes most of the headaches out of upgrading to a new computer. I tested the capability by restoring my normal system to a VMware Workstation virtual machine, and the process was amazingly smooth. It took only 20 minutes to restore a copy of my system and probably would have taken even less time to perform the same trick with real hardware.

I was pleased and surprised to find out that with the two most widely used virtual-computer programs, VMware Workstation and Microsoft's freely downloadable Virtual PC 2007, I didn't even need a copy of ShadowProtect to boot a drive image—provided, of course, that the image was an image of a bootable drive. I could simply select the drive image as a new machine in VMware Workstation or Virtual PC, wait a few moments, and the image would boot up as a virtual machine. It sounds complicated, but it required only a few mouse clicks.

To try out this feature, I opened VMware Workstation, clicked on "Open an Existing VM," and selected a ShadowProtect image of a bootable drive from the backups stored on my network-attached storage device. VMware took less than a minute to create all the additional files needed to launch the image as a virtual machine, displayed a few unimportant warning messages, and booted the image file.

Other features I like in ShadowProtect Desktop include an Image Management tool that lets me split a large image into smaller files to simplify file transfer and that lets me combine a full backup and a sequence of incremental backups into a single file that reflects the state of my system on the date of the last incremental backup. This kind of fine-tuning isn't available on rival products.

The product isn't absolutely perfect—for example, you can't carry out every task from the keyboard: I had to use the mouse to click on the filename the software suggested for a backup image before the program would let me rename it. Also, the utility tends to be conservative in estimating the time needed to complete a backup: It told me that a backup to DVD would take 2 hours and then completed the task in 15 minutes. But those were the worst faults I could find.

What matters to me most is that the software is fast, reliable, and—for even moderately experienced users—almost effortless. The support forum at StorageCraft's Web site reports impressively few problems, and a StorageCraft engineer always responds within a few hours with either a way to fix a problem or with a promise to get it fixed in the next update. ShadowProtect makes me feel more secure about my system than I ever did before. I wouldn't run my computers without it, and I think you shouldn't either.
Source:  ShadowProtect Desktop 3.1
 

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