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NTI Shadow 3.0 Backup Software

Shadow 3.0 mirrors your hard drive, file by file By Charlie White

NTI Shadow 3.0We're sticklers for backing up our data. But what happens if we've backed up everything early in the morning, but then some calamitous computer crash ruins our day at 5pm? Everything we've done that day is lost. That's where NTI Shadow 3.0 ($29.95 for Mac OSX or Windows, I used it on Windows XP) can help anyone who uses a computer and has valuable data onboard. It's backup software that works in the background, quietly copying every file you designate. Then, you can go to your backup disk and grab any of those mirrored files without using any proprietary software they're just sitting there, exactly as they were on your hard drive.

I like the idea of Shadow 3.0. Once you've installed it and designated which files you would like for it to back up, you can completely forget about it. As long as you have a backup disk that's big enough to hold the files you've chosen for backup, you're good to go.

Instead of backing up an entire hard drive or individual files into a proprietary compressed volume that requires special software to open, it just backs up the files exactly as they are, onto whatever disk you choose. Go to that disk and take a look and there they sit, copied exactly as they were on your original hard drive, folders and all. Best of all, you can set Shadow to do its copying magic on the fly, so that every time you save something, that same data is saved again on your backup drive. Beyond that, you can do version control, where as many versions of the file as you would like are saved on that backup drive.

It's also possible to use Shadow in a more traditional fashion, telling it to back up files late at night after everyone has gone to sleep, or every hour, or on a minute-by-minute basis whenever you designate. Plus, one of Shadow 3.0's new features is its sophisticated algorithms for including and excluding certain file types or even individual files, letting you customize the software to back up exactly what you need, and ignore those things that you've already backed up or don't deem necessary to save. 

The workflow with Shadow 3.0 is easy enough to execute without even consulting its well-written help files.

You're presented with this welcome screen where you first create a backup job.

Next, you tell the software where and when you'd like to back up your data. In this example, I've selected "save your folder/file changes every one minute." I later changed that to "save your folder/file changes to the backup destination every time you save changes to your PC." I decided to back these files up onto a local Maxtor drive that had plenty of space available.

On this screen Shadow lets you decide if you want to save versions of files, or if you want to save just one version of each file. Having plenty of disk space, I opted to save three versions of each file, giving me the ability to go back in time and pick up earlier versions of files if I'm not satisfied with later revisions.

Here's the summary screen that shows you all of the choices made. At first, I checked the box that reads "show progress window when copying," but later decided that was way too verbose, with the window constantly popping up when I was trying to get work done. It was easy to uncheck that box later.

Once you've gone through all those steps, the software goes about the business of doing what its name implies: shadow your every move. But the first time I tried it, it mysteriously didn't work out quite like that. When I first installed and configured Shadow, it dutifully backed up everything to the directory that I'd chosen on my backup drive. But then, the next day as I made slight changes to files and saved them again, I checked on that backup drive to see if they had been copied there as well. Nothing doing.  

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Related Keywords:NTI Shadow 3.0, backup, mirroring, Mac OSX, Windows, backup software, background, mirrored files, computer users, content creators

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