MiniTool ShadowMaker User Manual


MiniTool ShadowMaker offers straightforward solutions to deal with all kinds of backup tasks, including system backup and disk backup. These backups contain exactly the same copy of all the data stored on the original disk or partition. Such backups allow you to recover your computer to the normal state when Windows works incorrectly or partition data get lost.

Overview of System Backup

MiniTool ShadowMaker provides a one-click system backup solution. It enables you to back up your system drive completely, including system partition, system reserved partition and EFI system partition. All data including applications, drivers, computer settings, system files and boot files will be imaged.

How to Back up System

Step 1. Double click this backup software and then the pop-up window will show you two backup types, such as local backup and remote backup. Please select one according to your need and click Connect to continue.

backup place

Step 2. MiniTool ShadowMaker is designed to back up Windows OS by default. Thus you only need to choose a destination path to store the system image. In the Backup bar, you can see system partition is checked by default.

system backup

Step 3. click Destination to choose a location to store system image. Then in the pop-up window, you will see all partitions on your computer are displayed here. It is recommended to choose one partition of an external hard drive as the location.


In addition to saving the backup image to your computer, you can also choose Shared Folder as the destination location. Just click Add new button to enter the path of your shared folder, user name, and password. Then click OK to go back to the interface of Backup.

shared folder

Step 4. Click Back up Now to start the process immediately or choose Back up Later to delay the backup. You can start the delayed backup task in Manage page.

start backup


  • To set advanced parameters for the current backup task, click Options.
  • To specify a backup task to run on a regular basis, go to Schedule.
  • To manage disk space occupied by backup files, go to Backup Scheme.

Overview of Disk Backup

Disk backup will back up all your files on the disk into a compressed image file, including all partitions on the disk, as well as the system files. If you back up a system disk, your computer can boot directly after restoration. MiniTool ShadowMaker supports backing up MBR disks, GPT disks, external hard drives, USB drives, and other storage devices that can be recognized by Windows.

How to Back up a Disk

Step 1. Launch MiniTool ShadowMaker to choose local backup or remote backup. Then click Connect to enter the main interface.

backup place

Step 2. In the Backup window, click the Source tab to choose a hard drive to start a backup by checking all its partitions.


Step 3. Then choose a location under Destination to store the disk image. You can back up your disk to a partition on your computer. Here it is recommended to choose the partition of an external hard drive as the disk image storage location.


Besides, you can also choose to save the disk backup image to a shared folder by entering the path, user name and password after clicking Add new button.

shared folder

Step 4. Click Back up Now to start the process or click Back up Later to delay the backup. And you can restart the delayed backup task in Manage window.

back up disk


  • To customize the current backup task, please see Backup Options & Schedule Setting.
  • MiniTool ShadowMaker can only back up one hard drive disk each time.
  • Dynamic disk backup is not supported.
  • To manage disk space, go to Backup Scheme.

Backup Options

During the process of backup, you can set some advanced parameters for every new backup task by clicking Options button at the lower right corner. Look at the following information:

Image Creation Mode

During the backup process, you can set image creation mode. Two modes are displayed:

Only used sector backup: Only copy the sectors used by the file system. This mode can reduce the total backup image file size as well as the backup time.
Sector by sector backup: Make an exact copy of the partition(s). Both used and unused sectors are backed up. This mode won’t change forensic examination of the partitions, and even the deleted files may be recovered.

image creation mode

File Size

This option enables to specify the way of splitting a large image file into multiple smaller files during the process of backup.

Default size: The image file will be determined by the file system written to. For example, FAT32 files are limited to 4GB. Therefore, images will be split into 4GB or smaller files.
Custom size: You can choose to specify the image file size to meet various needs. Note: The minimum file size available is 100MB.
Fixed size: You can choose a fixed file size, for example, CD Drive-500 or DVD Drive-6500.

file size


This option enables you to compress the file size to save storage space. Please note that compression reduces the file size, but may increase the total backup time. See the following details:


Medium: Data will be compressed moderately. This is the default data compression level.
None: Data will be imaged without any compression, which may increase backup file size.
High: This compression level will take a long time to create a backup and the image file size is smaller than the other two levels.


This option allows you to add comments to the backup, which is especially helpful to distinguish it from other backups when you are recovering data using the bootable media.



By enabling email notification, MiniTool ShadowMaker will send an email to inform you whether the backup task is successful or failed when the backup operation is finished. You need to customize the followings:

Email Address: Designate an email to receive the email notification.
SMTP server: Specify the send email server depending on the specified email address.
Port: Assign a port number to the send email server, for example, 25.
Encryption: Support Text encryption.
SMTP authentication: Input the user name and password to login the send email.
Send test message: Input subject and click this button to verify whether you can receive the email notification successfully.
Send notification when the operation succeeds: When backup operation succeeds, an email notification will be sent.
Send notification when the operation fails: When a backup operation fails, an email notification will be sent.



This option allows you to exclude some unnecessary items from a backup. Here is one option for excluding Windows page file and hibernation files, and you can check it according to your needs.



This option enables to shut down the computer when a backup is finished. If you know the backup progress will take a long time, it is recommended to check this option. In this case, you don’t need to wait until the backup operation is completed. And then this program will perform the backup and turn off your computer automatically.



By checking Enable Password Protection, you can add password protection to a specific backup. Three data encryption levels are provided for your choice: None, Normal, AES128.

AES128: The Advanced Encryption Standard refers to a block cipher that uses shared secret encryption based on a symmetric key algorithm, using a key sized at 128 bits.



By checking Verify Backup after Creation option, you can check the integrity of the backup immediately after the backup completes.


This may add a significant amount of time to the backup progress.


Schedule Setting

Schedule Setting is user-friendly for those who are used to making a backup on a regular basis. When clicking Schedule button, you see this feature is disabled by default.


Just switch off to on , then you see MiniTool ShadowMaker offers four ways to customize schedule backup, they are:

Daily- Set some particular time points to execute the scheduled backup task each day.

1. Start backup at a specified time point once a day.
2. Start backup every 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 or 8 hours after clicking Back up Now or Back up Later.


Weekly – Choose a day/days in each week to back up at a specific time.


Monthly – Run backup task at the specified time point on the chosen day(s) in a month.

Please note if you choose to back up on 31st every month, then MiniTool ShadowMaker won't start this backup in February, April, June, September, and November. All should be carried out according to the real situation.


On Event - Run the backup based on specified events.

1. Log on: Set to start backup task automatically when logging on to the operating system.
2. Log off: Perform the backup operation when logging off of the operating system.



Schedule setting adopts Incremental Backup method by default so as to save storage space to the highest degree.

Backup Scheme

Backup Scheme helps you automatically manage disk space usage by deleting the specified backup image file versions. By default, Backup Scheme is disabled.


Turn off to on , then MiniTool ShadowMaker offers three modes, and they are:

Full Backup Scheme:
1. Always retain the latest xx versions of backup image file.
2. Full backup scheme will retain the number of backup image files you specified. When it reaches to the specified numbers, the program will automatically delete old backup image files.

Always retain the latest 3 versions of backup image file.
FULL1→FULL2→FULL3→FULL4 (delete FULL1)→FULL5 (delete FULL2)→FULL6 (delete FULL3)→FULL7 (delete FULL4)


Incremental Backup Scheme:
1. At least retain the latest xx versions of backup image file.
2. Incremental backup scheme is similar to a group queue. A group consists of a full backup and multiple incremental backups. When a later group joins in, the former group has to be removed from the queue.

At least retain the latest 3 versions of backup image file.
FULL1→INC1→INC2→FULL2→INC3→INC4(delete FULL1, INC1, INC2)→FULL3→INC5→INC6 (delete FULL2, INC3, INC4)


Differential backup scheme:
1. At least retain the latest xx versions of backup image file.
2. Differential backup scheme is similar to a circular queue. When the queue is full and if a new member joins in, one of the old members has to exit from the queue.

At least retain the latest 3 versions of backup image file.
FULL1→DIFF1→DIFF2→FULL2 (delete DIFF1)→DIFF3 (delete DIFF2)→DIFF4 (delete FULL1)