Review: MiniTool ShadowMaker Free – An Easy Data Backup Tool

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With the development of computer technology, digital data is taking an increasing proportion compared with the traditional data form. Meanwhile, the security of digital data has raised great attention among computer users. Therefore, data backup software comes into being.

Recently, we have tested several free data backup programs that are popular among PC users. One of them is ShadowMaker developed by MiniTool Software, which is a tech company focusing on providing security services for Windows users.

Now, let’s see what we have learned from MiniTool ShadowMaker.

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General Introduction to MiniTool ShadowMaker Free

MiniTool ShadowMaker is a powerful and reliable data backup software that enables you to back up files, folders, operating system (to be exact, Windows OSes), partitions (also called volumes), as well as the entire hard drives. The free edition of ShadowMaker, although has fewer features than its paid editions, contains the basic utilities of backup software and can satisfy most personal customers.

Features in MiniTool ShadowMaker Free

  • Support Windows 11, 10, 8.1/8, 7, Vista, and XP (32/64-bit)
  • Backup and restore files/folders, system, partitions/volumes, and entire hard disks
  • Sync files and locate synced copies
  • Backup/sync schedule: daily, weekly, monthly
  • Incremental backup scheme
  • sector-by-sector backup
  • Back up/sync to Administrator folders, Libraries, local hard disks, or shared network/NAS
  • Compress backup image in a medium or high level
  • Comment on the backup image
  • Email notification
  • Verify the integrity of the backup image
  • Delete backup image and backup task
  • Add backup image
  • View backup/sync logs
  • Shut down the computer when the backup/clone is completed
  • Create WinPE-based bootable USB, CD, DVD, or ISO file
  • Add Windows start-up boot menu

Advantages of MiniTool ShdowMaker Free

The following lists the features and services that MiniTool ShdowMaker Free has but other free backup programs in the market do not. Some of these utilities are unique to MiniTool ShdowMaker and they are missing even in the advanced editions of its rivals.

  • Clone both system and data disks of MBR or GPT style
  • Clone dynamic disk with simple volumes
  • Split the backup image into custom size
  • Exclude Windows Page File and Hibernation Files from backup source
  • Mount/dismount backup image
  • Compare file time, size, and content to sync
  • Exclude certain files (by extensions) for sync
  • TLS email encryption

Disadvantages of MiniTool ShdowMaker Free

The below displays the functions that some free third-party data backup tools contain but MiniTool ShdowMaker Free doesn’t. Some of them are included in the Pro edition of MiniTool ShdowMaker.

  • Full backup scheme
  • Name backup task and image file
  • Sync deletion
  • Comment sync
  • Sync email notification

How to Use MiniTool ShadowMaker Free?

Next, let’s see how to make use of this robust and easy-to-use backup app in the newest Windows 11. Generally, within a few clicks, you will have your important files protected and never worry about data loss or damage anymore.

The graphics guide of MiniTool ShadowMaker is easy and clear. Now, let’s take a daily file backup for example.

Step 1. Launch MiniTool ShadowMaker and navigate to its Backup page from its top menu.

Step 2. Click on the Source section to select the files or folders you want to back up. A Window will pop up as below. Just select the Folders and Files option and further choose the target files on your PC as the backup source. You can select multiple files/folders as the source. Don’t forget to click OK to save your selection.

MiniTool ShadowMaker

Step 3. Click on the Destination area and select where you’d like to save your backup image. The Administrator folders, Libraries folders, other local locations, as well as network shared locations are available.

MiniTool ShadowMaker

Step 4. Click on the Schedule button in the bottom left to set up a schedule to automatically back up files in the future. In the new popup, switch on the schedule settings from its lower left. Then, you can see there are four options for schedule backup: daily, weekly, monthly, and on-event (not available in the Free edition). Keep the default Daily selection and set up a backup startup time.

Step 5. Click on the Scheme button to personalize your backup type and backup image deletion. Turn on the scheme settings and specify how many versions of a backup image to maintain. The default 3-version setting is recommended. As for backup type, you can only adopt the default incremental backup. Both full backup and differential backup are charged.

MiniTool ShadowMaker

Step 6. If you want further management to the backup image file, just click the Options button. Then, a new window with all the options will appear. You can customize your backup there by splitting backup images, compressing image files, commenting on the backup, ordering email notifications, verifying backup image integrity, and so on.

MiniTool

Step 7. Finally, go back to the main interface of the Backup tab and you can preview the backup task. If nothing more to change, just click on the Back up Now button to start the backup process.

Take your patience and wait until the task completes. It won’t take long unless you select many large files to back up. We only spend about 3 minutes to back up 3 documents, 5 photos, and 2 videos (both less than 10 minutes). Yet, you can turn to other businesses and even leave your machine. All you have to do is to keep your computer on and ensure the power supply.

Once done, you are free to go. It will automatically back up your selected files every day at the set time. Also, it will automatically delete old versions of backup images once the number exceeds three. You don’t have to worry about the destination location running out of disk space.

ALSO READ – Simple Ways To Recover Deleted Pictures

Our Opinions on MiniTool ShadowMaker Free

In general, MiniTool ShadowMaker Free is a good choice among the other free backup tools nowadays. It has several useful features that its competitors don’t have or charge. Yet, MiniTool ShadowMaker also lacks some functions compared with its rivals. You can find the details in the above general introduction part.

MiniTool ShadowMaker is very easy to use and even computer noobs can figure out how to use it even without the user manual. Besides, its operating speed is fast but not the fastest one among the apps we have tested.

Personally, I like its UI of black and white mode and its vivid icons with few words. What makes me feel inconvenient is that I can’t name the task I carry out as well as the backup image. Thus, I have to search for the target task relying on its source files’ names, destination location, or the time it finishes.

All in all, MiniTool ShadowMaker Free is worth trying if you are a common computer user and don’t have many advanced requirements.

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