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Light Virtualization Software Review and Guide: Shadow Defender

By: Tasos Laurentiadis | Security & Backup in Software | Posted: Mar 5, 2013 1:50 pm
TweakTown Rating: 98%Manufacturer: Shadow Defender

Important Shadow Defender Usage Tips - Part 2


You should always keep at least C: in Shadow Mode while trying out a new program or tweak that may mess things up. It is important to understand at this point that light virtualization protection works on per-Windows session basis only. With Shadow Mode activated you can safely test-drive programs, but only if such programs don't need a reboot in order to become functional. Shadow Defender will not automatically save changes for software installations that require a reboot.


For example, let's assume that you have installed a new program on C: under Shadow Mode and that this program needs a reboot in order for it to become functional. You have two choices:


I don't want it: If you want to get rid of the new install just reboot the computer as usual and the new installation will be completely undone along with any other changes.


I want to keep it: If you are certain you want to keep the new installation then you will have to take C: out of Shadow Mode. Tick its entry on the SD current volume status list and click the Exit Shadow Mode button. The aforementioned prompt will come up asking you to either discard or commit changes. If you choose to commit them then all changes will be written to the real volume (system) before rebooting back into Normal Mode. Please understand that this option will not just selectively commit the new installation only; it will also commit all other changes that may have happened since Shadow Mode was activated. A better way to deal with this is described below.


My committing methodology: When newer versions of your programs (or other things like new drivers or Windows updates) become available, remember to always keep C: in Shadow Mode while you download them. For Windows Updates you can use the excellent Windows Updates Downloader. This free program enables users to save all Windows updates as files, ready for later offline installation.


Once you have saved the updates, drivers, new programs etc. on a non-protected volume, you can then take C: out of Shadow Mode first, without committing anything. Also make sure to disable Shadow Mode scheduling for C: The system will then reboot back into Normal Mode. When back in Windows, make sure to keep your system disconnected from the Internet while you install/update the new stuff by either removing the LAN cable or disabling your LAN / Wi-Fi device in Control Panel.


When you install Windows updates as offline files, you may be asked to reboot after each one of them has been installed. If there are many updates to install, rebooting after every single one of them could take forever. It is OK to reboot just once, after all of them have been installed. Sometimes two sequential reboots may be needed in order for all updates to be applied.


When all updates, drivers and other programs have been installed and the computer has booted back into Windows, it's now time to run a portable version of CCleaner (or similar) to get rid of any leftover junk. At this point you should also configure any new software additions to your liking. Once it's all done you can now place C: back into Shadow Mode and also re-schedule for Shadow Mode to auto-start. In my opinion this is probably the cleanest and most controlled way to incorporate new software additions into your protected volumes.


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