Frequently Asked Questions

ShadowProtect® is StorageCraft's backup and disaster recovery solution for Windows. It allows the users to schedule (or manually create) frequent, image-based backups of their local disks and store them on disk-based or network destinations. The backup images include all files, settings, programs, and operating system files on the volume, and are an exact representation of the entire volume at the time the backup was created.

ShadowProtect uses Microsoft's VSS framework to create snapshots of local volumes in a way that is both quick and unobtrusive and does not require applications to be closed before the backup. ShadowProtect creates a clean and usable backup while programs are running, even enterprise applications such as SQL Server and Exchange.

More information about ShadowProtect Desktop, ShadowProtect Server, ShadowProtect for Small Business, ShadowProtect Virtual, ShadowProtect IT Edition can be found on their respective product pages.

StorageCraft has trial versions of most of our products. These can be downloaded from our trial downloads page.

If you need assistance with any of our products, please refer to the User Guide for your product, which is found on your product CD or in the Downloads section of our online Support Center.  Answers to many common technical questions may also be found in our searchable support forums and knowledge base.

If you are unable to find the answer to your question, you may request help using the 'Request Help' form in the Support Center.

ShadowProtect® may be purchased from our online Web store or from any of our reseller partners.  If you originally purchased ShadowProtect® from an authorized StorageCraft Value Added Reseller (VAR), you may wish to purchase any additional licenses through that reseller.

The latest prices (MSRP) for StorageCraft software are posted in the StorageCraft Web store.  You may view them by going to the web store and selecting the appropriate category for the product in which you are interested.

We are currently offering competitive upgrade pricing for our ShadowProtect® Server™ product. Please contact StorageCraft for more details.

ShadowProtect® is licensed per machine. If you wish to install and activate ShadowProtect on multiple machines, you will need to purchase additional licenses.

We have a 3-license "Home User Bundle", which can save you 20% per license.  Details can be found here.

There are volume discounts available beginning with 10 licenses for ShadowProtect® Desktop™ and 5 licenses for ShadowProtect® Server™. For more information about volume licensing, please contact the StorageCraft Sales department at

Academic pricing is available through Academic & Collegiate Software, one of our reseller partners.  Just search for 'ShadowProtect®' on their Web site to find the software.

You will have the option during the purchase to request an StorageCraft product CD by mail (there is a shipping fee), or you may choose to download the software. The download comes in the form of a small installer to install the software in Windows, and a larger ISO file, which can be burned to CD to create the recovery CD.

Purchasing the annual maintenance agreement ensures that you will receive all updates and new versions that are released within the next year. It is strongly recommended, as new versions often contain valuable new features and bug fixes. The regular update price, should you decline the maintenance, is one-half the normal price, so the maintenance is really a great deal.

The upgrade price (one-half the normal price) covers the upgrade to the new version only. The maintenance agreement, if you choose to purchase it, is separate.

StorageCraft ShadowProtect® Desktop, ShadowProtect Server, and ShadowProtect for Small Business are currently identical in terms of features and functionality, though this may change over time. Right now the only difference is in the license that you purchase.

Each ShadowProtect version will only install on its respective operating system type. For example, ShadowProtect Desktop will only install on desktop operating systems (such as Windows 8, 7, XP or Vista), and will not work on server operating systems (such as Windows Server 2012, 2008, 2003 or SBS).

If you have purchased ShadowProtect®, you will find the User Guide on your product CD.  If you are using the trial version, you may download the User Guide from the 'Downloads' section of our Support Center.  There is also an online version available at:

ShadowProtect User Guide

The recovery CD is a separate download. When you purchased the software, you should have had the opportunity to download an ISO file. If you purchased ShadowProtect® from our Web store, but missed this download, you should be able to log back in to the Web store (using the email address and password you used during your purchase) and access the download.

The download starts by downloading a small executable file, which is a download manager. Simply run that executable to start the download. Once it is finished, extract the ISO file out of the .zip file and double-click it to burn the ISO to a blank CD using your CD burning software (such as Roxio or Nero).

The ISO file may be burned to CD to create the ShadowProtect® Recovery CD. This can be done using most commercial CD-burning applications, such as Roxio, Nero, and many others. If you do not have a CD-burning application, there are free tools available on the Internet for burning ISO files to CD, or you can use ISOTool.exe, an ISO burning tool that is included with ShadowProtect.. In the burning process, the software will extract the necessary files from the ISO image file and place them on the CD.

Once the CD is burned, you should be able to boot to it or, if you insert it into a running Windows machine, it should open the install page for ShadowProtect®. You may also browse to the CD in Windows Explorer and see that multiple files are on the disc. If you do not see this, it is possible that the CD was not burned properly. For example, you might have ended up with a CD containing a copy of the ISO file (which, of course, would not work). In this case you may need to refer to your CD-burning software's documentation to get help with burning the ISO to CD correctly, or to verify that the software is capable of dealing with ISO files.

To manually activate ShadowProtect®, fill in the necessary information on our manual activation form and submit it.  Note that the Machine ID required in the form may be found on the Product Activation dialog in ShadowProtect. After submitting the online form, you will soon receive an email with the activation key you need.

To move a ShadowProtect® license from one machine to another, you will first need to deactivate the license on the machine where it is currently installed.  To do this, go to the Help menu in ShadowProtect®, select Product Activation, and click the Deactivate button. After deactivating, you should then be able to activate on a different system.

Note that the number of allowed deactivations per license is limited. For testing purposes, we recommend using the free 30-day trial period rather than moving a license from machine to machine.

The most common reason for blue screens during ShadowProtect® backups is the presence of Acronis TrueImage. Certain versions of their snapshot driver cause the crashes when our backups are run. The only work-around is to uninstall TrueImage.

If, after uninstalling TrueImage, the blue screens still occur, the snapshot driver may have been left behind and will need to be removed manually. Instructions for doing this may be found here.

A bare-metal restore is a restore of your entire system to new or existing hardware. To restore a system volume, you will need to do so from the StorageCraft® Recovery Environment (boot to the recovery CD).  Note that it may be necessary to press a key during boot to tell the system to boot to the CD or to bring up a boot menu that allows you to select the CD-ROM drive as the boot device. You may also need to change the boot priority in your system's BIOS settings so that it will check for a bootable CD before booting to the hard disk. Refer to your computer's documentation for more information.

Once you are in the recovery environment, there are a few things you'll want to do before you begin:

  • Check the Disk Map tab to make sure your internal hard disk(s) is/are listed there.
  • If you are restoring the image from an external hard disk, make sure it is listed in the Disk Map as well.
  • If you are restoring the image from a network location, start the Network Configuration utility and map a drive to the network location

If any drives or hardware are missing or not working properly, you may want to try using the other recovery environment (i.e. if you were using the XP/2003 environment, try the Vista environment), as sometimes hardware that does not work in one environment will work in the other.  There is also the option of loading drivers for certain hardware (which is most easily done from the Tools menu when using the Vista environment).

Once everything is ready, step through the Restore wizard. Choose the image file you want to restore, and the partition (or unallocated space) to which you want to restore. In most cases, when restoring a system image, it is okay to restore the MBR, disk signature, and hidden disk track. (If you were using a full disk encryption product on the machine the image was created from, or to learn more about what these options mean, search for them on the StorageCraft Support Forum.) Also, check the HIR (hardware independent restore) box if you are restoring to a different machine than the one from which the image came.

Restoring to a virtual machine is much the same as performing a bare-metal restore as described in the previous question.  Simply create a new virtual machine, making sure it has an adequately sized virtual hard disk and access to the host machine's CD-ROM drive and network.  Then boot to the ShadowProtect® recovery CD inside the virtual machine.

Follow the steps for a bare-metal restore (including HIR), then reboot the virtual machine and it should load Windows.  Depending on which virtual environment you are using, you may not have the ability to restore the image from an attached USB drive (as not all virtual environments support USB devices), so you may need to restore the image from a shared network folder on the host or another machine.

ImageManager is a utility specifically for use with the Continuous Incremental backup schedule. It monitors the folder where your ShadowProtect or SPX backups are stored and, according to the schedule you specify, collapses regular incremental backups into daily, weekly, and monthly backup files. This helps to minimize the number of backup files on the destination and the amount of space used for storing them. It also ensures that all backups except for the initial full backup will be comparatively small in size, which can be useful in situations where backups are being sent off site.

Use of the Continuous Incremental schedule and ImageManager is not recommended for most home and desktop users. If you are using a Weekly or Monthly backup schedule, you do not need to install or use ImageManager.

To update to a new version, simply visit Software Updates, and download and run the latest installer. It should carry over your existing license, activation, and settings. Note that if you did not purchase the annual maintenance agreement along with ShadowProtect®, or if your maintenance agreement is expired, you may not be able to activate the new version with your current serial number.

To purchase an upgrade to the new version, or to renew a maintenance agreement, please contact our Sales department.

With the ShadowProtect 5 installation, licenses are made inactive and need to be manually reactivated from the Help > Product  Activation section. 

The 30-day trial of ShadowProtect® recovers files and folders. Backup images created during the trial don't expire and are compatible with the full-priced ShadowProtect software.

To test restoring a system volume, request a StorageCraft Recovery Environment evaluation. Hardware Independent Restore is not included.


  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • Microsoft Virtual PC
  • Microsoft Virtual Server
  • VMware ESX/ESXi
  • VMware Workstation
  • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV)
  • Citrix XenServer
  • Oracle VirtualBox
  • Linux KVM

In this instance, we recommend that you purchase a two-week or one-month technician’s license for StorageCraft® ShadowProtect® IT Edition to migrate your physical servers to virtual environments and then protect the data on your VMs with ShadowProtect Virtual.

StorageCraft ShadowProtect® Virtual is licensed for virtual machines (VMs) only. You purchase licenses in packs for the type of machine you want to protect (virtual servers or virtual desktops). It includes all of the functionality of ShadowProtect Server or ShadowProtect Desktop, but it is hard-locked to VMs. ShadowProtect Virtual cannot be used to back up a physical machine.

Yes. One year of maintenance is included. After one year, maintenance is 20% of MSRP.

Yes. There is a 25% discount off StorageCraft® ShadowProtect® Virtual manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for government, education and not-for-profit entities.

The following versions are supported as sources and targets for message items you plan to restore or migrate:

  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003

The ShadowProtect® Granular Recovery for Exchange only allows you to open and view your Exchange database files (.EDB) from a mounted ShadowProtect Server or ShadowProtect for Small Business backup image file. You cannot restore a file, perform a search, or run reports. However, the trial version does not time out.

We have included maintenance in many editions of ShadowProtect®. But again, due to the discounted pricing, we are not able to include maintenance in ShadowProtect® Granular Recovery for Exchange. Maintenance is 20% of MSRP.

Because we are already discounting StorageCraft® ShadowProtect® Granular Recovery for Exchange™, we aren’t able to provide additional discounts for government and education.

No. Your previous installations of ShadowProtect continue to function normally as long as they are licensed and activated. New MSP-based installations of ShadowProtect must use ShadowProtect for Managed Service Providers.

Each day, the ShadowProtect agent “calls home” to the StorageCraft activation server. The StorageCraft activation server identifies the Windows operating system where ShadowProtect is installed (desktop, server or small business) and bills you accordingly.

You need a separate product key for each system where ShadowProtect is installed. You can generate and manage those keys yourself through the MSP Licensing Console. You no longer need to call StorageCraft for additional product keys, or if you need to deactivate or reactivate a product key.

You can download ShadowProtect for Managed Service Providers directly from the MSP Licensing Console. Log in to the StorageCraft Partner Portal to access the MSP Licensing Console for the first time: Your MSP Licensing Console login credentials are the same as your partner portal login credentials. If you are unsure of your login credentials, please contact StorageCraft at (801) 545-4700 or e-mail Download the ShadowProtect for Managed Services Quick Start Guide to help you get started:

We are encouraging MSPs to update and activate all existing installations to ShadowProtect for Managed Service Providers within 90 days. This allows you to take advantage of the features in ShadowProtect for Managed Service Providers. We know that this may not be possible in all circumstances. Please contact your Channel Sales Manager if you have specific questions or concerns about your existing installations.

ShadowProtect for Managed Service Providers includes a “call home” feature where the ShadowProtect agent contacts the StorageCraft activation server on a daily basis to verify the ShadowProtect installation is licensed and active. Through the MSP Licensing Console, MSPs can disable an active license if customers are no longer using their services, or add additional product keys when customers need additional backup, disaster recovery, data protection and/or system migration services.

ShadowProtect for Managed Service Providers allows MSPs to remotely deactivate and reactivate a ShadowProtect license. In addition, ShadowProtect for Managed Service Providers allows you to verify the status of ShadowProtect licenses, add new license keys, create billing and activation reports and reconcile licensing information – all through the new MSP Licensing Console.

Based on feedback from our Managed Service Provider (MSP) partners, we wanted to create a way for MSPs to remotely deactivate ShadowProtect installations, should the need arise.

Compatible operating systems include:

  • Windows 10, 8 and 8.1
  • Windows 7 (32-bit & 64-bit)
  • Windows XP (32-bit & 64-bit)
  • Windows Vista (32-bit & 64-bit)
  • Windows Server 2000, 2003 (32-bit & 64-bit), 2008 (32-bit & 64-bit), and 2012
  • Windows Small Business Server 2003, 2008, 2011 (32-bit & 64-bit)

See Supported Operating Systems for a complete list.

While ShadowProtect® Desktop and ShadowProtect Server install on a single machine and run regularly scheduled backups, ShadowProtect IT Edition does not install any software. Instead, it runs directly from the CD, allowing the user to create instant, on-the-fly backup images of any system at any time. ShadowProtect IT Edition is licensed to a technician as a weekly, monthly, or annual subscription and allows the technician to back up and restore any number of machines to new or existing hardware. ShadowProtect Desktop and ShadowProtect Server, on the other hand, are licensed to protect a particular machine, and require that ShadowProtect be installed and activated on that machine before backups can be restored.

StorageCraft released a new version of ImageManager along with rebranding it as StorageCraft® ImageManager. That was version 6, and the newest feature was cloud replication, which allows you to rapidly replicate ShadowProtect backup images to the StorageCraft Cloud. In addition, StorageCraft added scheduled replication throttling, rolling consolidation, and updated several other features in ImageManager 6.

StorageCraft ImageManager has continued to evolve since the rebrand. To find out what's new in the latest version, please see the StorageCraft ImageManager ReadMe.


Yes, you can download StorageCraft ImageManager free of charge. Features include local replication to direct-attached storage (USB, ESATA, etc...), consolidation of backup images, retention policy manager, backup image verification and notification.

There is additional functionality that you need to license (purchase) in order to use. These features include network replication, offsite replication, and cloud replication via ShadowStream® and intelligentFTP® technologies and pre-staged recovery via HeadStart Restore® technology.

The StorageCraft ImageManager application is free, but certain functions do require a license to use. These are licensed per job, or for each server that uses the licensed functions.

Job Licenses Available for Purchase:

  • Network replication
  • ShadowStream® replication

Every time you use HeadStart Restore to pre-stage a server as a virtual machine, it requires one job license.

If you’d like to replicate your server offsite, it will require either a ShadowStream license or an intelligentFTP license.

Replication to a Network share (via UNC path) is also a licensed feature and is an option when purchasing an IntelligentFTP License.

Yes. One of the new features in ImageManager is the ability to port licenses from one feature to another. You will need to deactivate the licensed job first, before activating it to a new feature.

Customers who purchased ImageManager 5.x jobs are eligible for the same number of jobs with ImageManager 6. For each license purchased with 5.x, you received one HeadStart Restore job and one intelligentFTP job. With your upgrade you will still have one HeadStart Restore job and one intelligentFTP job. If you are unlikely to use your HeadStart Restore job and would like to receive two intelligentFTP jobs, we are happy to provide those to you instead.

You need a separate product key for each system where ShadowProtect is installed. You can generate and manage those keys yourself through the StorageCraft MSP Portal. You no longer need to call StorageCraft for additional product keys, or if you need to deactivate or reactivate a product key.

We recommend that you check your maintenance contract. If the contract has expired, we recommend that you upgrade your license by going to . If you decide not to upgrade your license to ImageManager 6, we recommend that you keep your current version of the software.

If you install ImageManager 6 over your current installation, your installed jobs will no longer be active and will not work. If you’ve already installed ImageManager, you should uninstall it and then reinstall ImageManager 5.x. After reinstallation, your licensed jobs will need to be recreated.

We found that many customers did not want to run both HeadStart Restore and intelligentFTP. They preferred to use one or the other and didn’t want to pay for jobs they were not using. With this change, we simplified licensing and now provide customers with exactly what they want.

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