Backup, Clone And Restore Windows Using MiniTool ShadowMaker

MiniTool ShadowMaker can create Windows backups quickly with just a few clicks.

Key features :

  • Quick backups of file and system level
  • Supports common file systems like exFAT, FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, Ext2/3/4
  • Has WinPE bootable media builder for creating bootable disks
  • PXE support for restoring system images over the network
  • Easy restore of files, folders and drives
  • Scheduling support – Daily, Weekly and Monthly
  • Various backup types to choose from – Full, Differential and Incremental
  • Besides that, it can also clone hard drives and can mount virtual images for easy recovery

The free version can be downloaded from here while the Pro version offers a 30 day trial.

Remote backups as well as customising backup options are only available for Pro version. The differences are as below :

free v/s pro features comparison of MiniTool ShadowMaker

For making local backups, the free version is useful. It can’t however change the backup options or manage remote backups and more.

The free version has a lot more restrictions than the Pro version. Some of the Pro features if added in the free version can make it a lot more useful.

Free version :

The user interface is simple with main sections like Backup, Restore and Manage.

MiniTool ShadowMaker free

Choose SET UP BACKUP and follow the backup wizard steps.

Pro version :

First choose the local or remote PC for managing/making backups.

MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro

For backing up, choose the source disk/partition and the destination. Other options like scheduling it or choosing a different backup scheme too can be selected. Incremental is the suggested scheme as it will only backup what has changed and hence save disk space.

MiniTool ShadowMaker by default will backup Windows by creating a system image. The other option is making a disk backup which essentially clones the entire system into a compressed file which can then be restored on boot.

MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro backup interface

For disk backups, choose the source disk/partitions or individual folders and files.

disk backups using MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro

The destination path for both these types can either be a local storage path or on a network.

remote backup options in MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro

Also, scheduling is disabled by default and needs to be enabled using Schedule.

scheduling backups

Options for scheduling include Daily, Weekly, Monthly and On Event.

different scheduling options in MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro

On Event is basically running on Windows startup or shutdown.

On event backups in MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro

Similarly, the backup schemes are disabled by default and need to be enabled through Scheme.Different backup schemes in MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro

A Full backup will take the most space.


Full backup scheme in MiniTool ShadowMaker

Incremental is recommended as it takes up the least disk space.

Incremental backup scheme in MiniTool ShadowMaker

Differential backup scheme in MiniTool ShadowMaker

3 versions of backup images are retained by default in all the schemes. This can be changed if needed.

Other advanced backup options include changing the file size of backups, setting compression levels and including comments. For creating backup images, either a Sector By Sector or Only Used Sector backup can be chosen. Only Used Sector will be quicker to finish as it will only backup the sectors used rather than everything.

Tools like creating a bootable media, Clone Disk tool, PXE boot client and more can be accessed from here. These are for network wide backup/restore tasks where PCs can be booted directly without any operating system and be restored through a network install.

Tools in MiniTool ShadowMaker Pro

Overall, do try the free or 30-day trial Pro version for backups to see if it is handy to use.

Happy backing up.

Update – Nov 2019 : MiniTool ShadowMaker 3.2 has been released and has the following updates :

  • Clone dynamic disk (only for simple volume)
  • Create a bootable USB hard disk
  • Scheduled backups are still kept after software update
  • Supports German & Japanese languages
  • Improved email notifications
  • Bug fix for synchronizing large folders
  • Allows adding backups from Shared folder in MiniTool ShadowMaker Bootable Edition

Update – Nov 2018 : MiniTool ShadowMaker 3.0 has been released and has the following updates :

  • File sync
  • Backup to network destination
  • Improved efficiency for backups
  • Bug fix that was affecting file restore

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