AX64 Time Machine is internally using the same "disk Imaging" principle as ShadowProtect. However the operation and features of these programs are quite different.
ShadowProtect has clear advantage feature-wise. It offers flexible scheduling, partitioning functionality, Virtual Machine-related features, management console, backup verification.
AX64 Time Machine has much higher speed and is far easier to use compared to ShadowProtect. Below are some observations and test results:
1. Speed. Tests had been conducted on a clean Win 7 x86 install in a VMWare running on Core 2 Duo 3 GHz on a Crucial SSD drive. Backup and restore was performed for a system drive that has 7 GB of data on it. Backup is made to an internal disk. Here are the results:
SP full backup - 4 min 6 sec
SP incremental (no changes since full) - 1 min 50 sec
SP restore - 40 sec to boot into recovery, 2 min 46 sec to restore - total 3 min 26 sec
AX64 full backup - 3 min 5 sec (30% faster than SP)
AX64 incremental - 9 sec (12 times faster than SP)
AX64 restore - 6 sec (34 times faster than SP!)
2. Backup browser vs ordinary mounting. Let's assume there is a file in My Documents folder, that was accidentally deleted and the user doesn't remember when. Let's assume there were 10 backups made.
Steps with SP or any other imaging software:
- Mount the last image (5 sec). Use Windows Explorer to browse to C:\Users\User\My documents (5 sec). See if the file is there. If not, dismount this image (3 sec), mount the next one (5 sec). Repeat until correct version of the file is found. This in worst case may take 10 attempts, totaling 180 sec, i.e. 3 min.
Now the same operation with AX64:
- Click on the My documents folder in Backup browser (1 sec). Use mouse or keyboard arrows to switch between the backups and see if the file appread in the right view (1 sec). Keep clicking on the backups until the file is found. In worst case it will take 10 attempts, which will take 11 sec. Which is 16 times faster than SP or any other software that uses ordinary mounting!
And AX64 can mount the images too - just like SP.
3. Ease of use - AX64 has only two buttons, most operations take single clicks. With SP even long time PC users may need quite a bit of time to figure out how to do backup and restore.
4. Travel backwards and forwards in time - AX64 allows to mimic the functionality of the most advanced snapshotting programs like Rollback RX, i.e. the capability to maintain different states of the system and quickly jump between them forwards and backwards. You can take a Backup 1, then install a new program (take Backup 2), restore the system to Backup 1, install another program there, take Backup 1.1, test it for a while, then jump back to Backup 2 etc.
Which program to choose?
For basic backup and restore functionality both programs work equally well.
If you require ease of use, high speed, easy search of previous versions of files, "snapshotting" functionality - then AX64 Time Machine is your choice.
If you have a need for partitioning, more scheduling options, conversion to Virtual Machine formats, or other advanced features - you will need ShadowProtect.