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Shadow Defender Download – Free Review

Friday, 28 January 2011 12:39:24 (US Mountain Standard Time, UTC-07:00)

    Shadow Defender is very similar to two recently reviewed programs Returnil and Bufferzone.  These programs setup a virtual drive on the computer so that any changes do not affect the core operating system.  Shadow Defender makes the whole experience the easiest so far.  For example, say one has downloaded a suspicious file that may contain a virus.  Therefore, one enters the shadow mode to open the file in a protected (sandboxed state).  Say the file actually has actually has a virus (detected by the free antivirus) and it infects the system. One simply needs to exit shadow mode and the whole system (including system files) is restored to its original state virus free.

    Now the protection of Shadow Defender goes further with the commit now option.  This is extremely helpful if one makes a change (to a word document) or similar and needs to save it.  The commit now feature  allows one to save any modified file while in shadow mode so that it won’t be reverted back when the mode is exited.  A handy shell extension allows one to easily do this from the context menu. There is also an exclusion list in which any file or folder can be setup up to not revert.  On the test system, I setup the My Documents files and a whole removable drive to not revert back. 

    Shadow Defender does not have a scan for viruses option.  Therefore it is crucial to have a free antivirus installed to actually detect viruses.  As far as resource usage goes, Shadow Defender uses approximately 10 megabytes of RAM during operation and the space used by shadow mode varies.  If a user makes a lot of changes the hard drive space increases.  There is an option to warn the user as to when a certain threshold is reached, however, it doesn’t restart the system or turn off shadow mode (potentially leading to a system crash?).

    Shadow Defender is designed for Kiosk computers.  There is a password protection capability and the tray icon can be hidden.   In order to exit shadow mode on a system drive, one has physically restart the computer.  It would be nice if one could exit it on the fly. Also, one can schedule when to enter shadow mode at a later time such as after a reboot.