This article explains the installation, configuration, and using ShadowProtect and Image Manager applications.

2. Index

Overview

ShadowProtect

  1. Preparing for installation
  2. What if an application on my machine does not have its own VSS writer?
  3. Log truncation for Microsoft SQL and Exchange
  4. Installing and activating ShadowProtect
  5. Configuring ShadowProtect backup jobs
  6. Restoring files and folders with ShadowProtect

Image Manager

  1. Installing ImageManager
  2. Configuring consolidation and retention with ImageManager
  3. Verifying backup integrity

Troubleshooting

  1. Gathering ShadowProtect logs
  2. ImageManager will not run retention
  3. ShadowProtect service does not respond
  4. Manually uninstalling ShadowProtect
  5. Additional links

3. Overview

ShadowProtect is a VSS-aware backup and disaster recovery application by Storagecraft Technology Corporation. It is included with Datto’s inverse-chain “ShadowSnap” backup solution for Datto SIRIS and ALTO series units. It may also be used as a standalone backup application on Microsoft Windows operating systems to send backups to network-addressable storage hosted on a Datto G-Series device. This article covers the latter usage of the software.

Since ShadowProtect is a required part of the ShadowSnap software installation, it may also be used to create a backup of a virtual machine hosted on a Datto SIRIS or ALTO series unit for use in performing a BMR (Bare Metal Restore) of the virtual machine back to its production environment with the ShadowProtect ISO.

ShadowProtect is not supported for use with SMB or iSCSI shares hosted on DattoNAS series devices. The DattoNAS series uses the snapshotting feature of Sun Microsystem’s ZFS filesystem to create backups of its hosted shares. Sending ShadowProtect backups to a DattoNAS share will rapidly fill the DattoNAS device’s storage space.

Image Manager is responsible for monitoring and performing consolidation operations on backup files generated by ShadowProtect. Using ImageManager is crucial to properly managing the growth of your ShadowProtect backup chains.

 

4. ShadowProtect

4.1. Preparing for Installation

Since ShadowProtect uses the Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) framework on 2003/XP and newer Windows Operating Systems, it should be tested prior to installing ShadowProtect with the Microsoft VShadow utility. The VShadow utility will verify the system’s registered VSS writers are working properly by attempting to create a temporary shadow copy. If the VShadow utility cannot successfully create a temporary shadow copy, you may need to contact Microsoft for assistance with the VSS framework.

Another useful utility to run prior to installing ShadowProtect is StorageCraft’s own ShadowProtect Preinstall Check tool, which will scan a Windows system and provide a summary of recommendations for optimal performance during backups as well as a list of installed programs that may conflict with ShadowProtect.

The VSS Explained: Common Writers, Services, and Hotfixes available knowledgebase article contains a list of 3rd party programs known to conflict with ShadowProtect’s ability to properly utilize the VSS subsystem.

Since ShadowProtect accesses disks at the sector level, a disk health check with the repair option enabled (chkdsk /r) is also recommended before beginning a new ShadowProtect backup chain.

 

4.2. What if an application on my machine does not have its own VSS writer?

If you have an application that does not have its own VSS writer to properly freeze/thaw the application’s database in the event of a VSS-aware backup, it is highly recommended to make accommodations for that software to use its own backup utility.

Since ShadowProtect detects change at the sector level, backups run outside of ShadowProtect should not be stored on any volumes ShadowProtect is configured to back up.

 

4.3. Log truncation for Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server

ShadowProtect does not automatically support log truncation for Exchange 2010 or 2013 due to changes in how Exchange’s VSS writers are configured by default. If you wish to truncate logs for Exchange 2010 or 2013, contact Microsoft for assistance to configure your VSS writers to truncate Exchange logs during full copy backups.

For Exchange 2007 and earlier, the “Microsoft Exchange Writer” VSS writer must be functioning properly and enabled in the Windows registry. Exchange Circular Logging must be disabled.

 

4.4. Installing and Activating ShadowProtect

If you purchased a ShadowProtect license key directly from StorageCraft, you will need to download and install ShadowProtect from StorageCraft’s web portal. If you purchased a ShadowProtect license key from the Datto Partner Portal, you will need to download and install Datto’s MSP (Managed Service Provider) version.

ShadowProtect activation keys are specific to the Windows Server, SBS, and Desktop environments. Purchase the appropriate class of license from the Datto Partner Portal to ensure a successful activation. All Datto-issued activation keys use the same ShadowProtect installation executable.

After installing ShadowProtect, a reboot of the Windows operating system is required.

After rebooting, launch the application (StorageCraft –> ShadowProtect in the Windows Start Menu) and navigate to “Help” –> “Product Activation”:

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Enter a valid license key and fill in the required fields, then confirm your entries. If activation is successful, the “License” field on the bottom left-hand corner of the screen will show “Active” (instead of “Trial”) as in the image above.

If activation is unable to complete, verify the machine ShadowProtect is being installed on can connect to activate.storagecraft.com:80. After activation, ShadowProtect will periodically contact this server on port 80 to re-verify licensing information.

 

4.5. Configuring ShadowProtect Backup Jobs

If you are sending ShadowProtect jobs to a network attached storage (NAS) share hosted on a Datto device, see How to Create a NAS Share on a Datto Device for instructions on creating and configuring a NAS share through the Datto device web interface.

With a destination for ShadowProtect backup files configured, start the ShadowProtect Backup Wizard by clicking the Wizards tab, then Backup:

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Click Next, and select the volumes you wish to back up:

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Click Next. To save backups to a NAS share, click the drop down in the next screen, and select Network Locations:

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In the dialog box that pops up, enter a “Destination Name” that ShadowProtect will use to refer to your destination, the path to your NAS share, and credentials to access your share if your share is private, then click OK:

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In the next screen, click the Continuous Incrementals radio button and select the days/times you wish to take backups. If “Use VSS” is checked, ShadowProtect will use VSS for all backup times selected under “Additional Incremental Backups”.

Note: Selecting “Continuous Incrementals” is necessary to avoid multiple full backups of volumes in your chain, which will cause unnecessarily high bloat and potentially fill your backup device within a very short period of time.

If you are only taking a one-time full backup for a Bare Metal Restore (BMR), select the “Now” option instead of “Continuous Incrementals”, then select “Full”. Selecting a “Full” backup job will skip the backup schedule configuration options.

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In the next screen, you can configure encryption, compression, and metadata settings for your backup job as well as access advanced options, which allows you to configure throttling settings (for busy or less powerful machines) and run custom scripts during predefined stages in a ShadowProtect backup job’s execution. For more information on advanced options, please see the ShadowProtect User Guide in the Additional links section of this article.

If you configure an encrypted backup job with a password, data will not be recoverable in the event of a lost password and a new backup job with a full base image will be required.
High compression only yields between 1-2% greater compression than Standard. This method also greatly increases the CPU load and the required backup time. This method is not recommended in most circumstances.

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After clicking Next, you will be given the chance to review your settings for the backup job. Check the “Execute Now” box if you wish to immediately begin the initial full base image backup, then click Finish.

You will be brought to the “Backup Jobs” tab where you can review the status and settings of the backup job. Double-clicking on the backup job will restart the Backup wizard and allow you to make adjustments to your previously-selected settings.

 

4.6. Restoring files and folders with ShadowProtect

There are three methods to perform a file or directory-level restoration with ShadowProtect: “Mount”, “Quick Mount”, and the “Explore Backup” wizard.

Quick Mount will mount backup images to the next available Windows mountpoint for read-only access, while Mount will mount backup images with read/write access to the next available Windows mountpoint. The “Explore Backup” wizard offers more customization than both the “Mount” and “Quick Mount” options.

ShadowProtect retains file permissions in backup images. As a result, files or folders from a backup image may not open when using Quick Mount to view an image on a different system (which lacks those permissions). To temporarily change these permissions and view the files or folders, use Mount to open the backup image as Read/Write instead. You can then use Windows Explorer to change ownership of the file or folder to access it.

The Mount and Quick Mount options are integrated into the Windows shell during the installation of ShadowProtect. To Mount or Quick Mount a backup, browse to your backup chain using Windows Explorer (explorer.exe), right-click on a ShadowProtect backup file, and click “Mount…” or “Quick Mount”:

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If you are unable to properly mount the image with the Mount or Quick Mount options, start the “Explore Backup Wizard” by clicking the Explore Backup option in the expandable “Tasks” section on the left-hand side of the ShadowProtect interface:

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After opening the “Explore Backup” wizard, ShadowProtect will allow you to select a backup file in your backup chain. After selecting a backup file, information about the volume stored in the backup image will be displayed:

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Click Next, and ShadowProtect will display a list of all files in your backup chain with their creation times. Click on the point in time (“Creation Time”) you wish to restore from and click Next:

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Next, choose a drive letter or empty NTFS folder as a mountpoint for the volume’s point-in-time backup you selected and whether or not you want the restore mounted read-only or read/write with the “Mount Backup as Read-Only” checkbox, then click Next:

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Confirm your selections in the “Wizard Summary” screen, then click Finish to mount the backup to the selected mountpoint. When you are finished restoring from the mounted backup, click the “Dismount Backup Image” link in the expandable “Tasks” section on the left-hand side of the ShadowProtect interface and follow the instructions to dismount the backup image.

Changes made directly to files in a read/write-mounted ShadowProtect file restore will not be saved after unmounting the restore. Copy the files and folders you need out of the restore into the production environment.

 

5. ImageManager

5.1. Installing ImageManager

StorageCraft ImageManager is a utility for use with ShadowProtect backup files that performs consolidation, retention, and verification operations based on a policy that you create.

To install ImageManager, download the installer from the Datto Partner Portal, then run the executable and follow the installation instructions.

After installation is complete, launch the application (StorageCraft –> StorageCraft ImageManager in the Start menu by default). On first startup, ImageManager will ask you to create a new password:

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Enter a desired password in the “New Password” and “Confirm New Password” fields, then click OK.

This password only applies to accessing the ImageManager application and does not encrypt backup files. Encryption for backup files is configured in ShadowProtect itself (see the section Configuring ShadowProtect backup jobs in this article). If you forget your ImageManager password, you can run the ImageManager Password Reset Utility from StorageCraft as an Administrator to reset your password to “password”.

To begin managing your backup files, click on the Start Managing Folder… option in the left-hand pane, then enter the network path to the folder where your backup chain is stored, a description for the folder being managed, and credentials (if your destination requires authentication) in the “Managed Folder Settings” dialog box:

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After clicking Save, ImageManager will display details about the backup chain and available storage space for your backup job destination.

 

5.2. Configuring Consolidation and Retention with ImageManager

Consolidation refers to the number of hours, days, or months (or longer configurable period of time) before a set of ShadowProtect backup files representing a specific period of time in the backup chain is rolled up into one file.

The backup file generated by consolidation will represent the state of the machine for the newest backup out of the set of backups that were rolled up. For example, if the Weekly Consolidation setting is configured to roll up daily backups into one weekly backup on Saturday and your last backup job for the week is scheduled on Friday at 5:00 pm, a restoration of the machine from the consolidated weekly backup created on Saturday would represent the state of the machine as it was on Friday at 5:00 pm.

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Examples of files created by consolidation:

D_VOL-b001-i005-cd.spi (-cd represents a Consolidated Daily file)

D_VOL-b001-i026-cw.spi (-cw represents a Consolidated Weekly file)

D_VOL-b001-i097-cm.spi (-cm represents a Consolidated Monthly file)

To set your consolidation settings in ImageManager, click Consolidation Settings… in the left-hand pane. This will open the “Consolidation Settings” dialog box:

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Retention refers to the number of days ImageManager will keep an archive of files that were removed from the active backup chain due to consolidation operations.

Retention will not delete files necessary to continue a chain, even if they are older than the currently configured retention settings. Backup files must be able to be discarded with a continuous, valid chain still present to qualify for deletion.

To set your retention settings in ImageManager, click Consolidation Settings… in the left-hand pane. This will open the “Consolidation Settings” dialog box:

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To modify retention settings for a particular backup chain, check “Override global agent retention settings for this managed folder”, then set your retention settings as desired.

 

5.3. Verifying Backup Integrity

By default ImageManager will perform verification on image files at creation time and after every 7 days. You can configure the frequency with which ImageManager verifies backups by clicking on the Verification Settings… link in the left-hand pane of the ImageManager main console.

To receive e-mail notifications for events that occur in ImageManager, including backup issues, click the Notification Settings… link in the left-hand pane of the ImageManager console, then click on the Conditions tab:

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Check the boxes for the desired events, then click the Email Setup tab and enter a valid SMTP server and authentication credentials if necessary.

The “Send Test Email” option should be used after configuring the SMTP server to test the configuration.

 

6. Troubleshooting

6.1. Gathering ShadowProtect Logs

Datto may request logs generated by ShadowProtect and Windows to aid in troubleshooting backup issues. To gather these logs, the ShadowProtect Diagnostic tool may be employed.

The ShadowProtect diagnostic tool will gather the following information:

  1. A diagnostic file generated by the tool itself
  2. The logs generated by ShadowProtect
  3. System Information
  4. IP configuration
  5. Event Viewer logs

To run the ShadowProtect diagnostic tool, the files contained inside spdiagnostic zip must be extracted into a folder. After extraction, double-click the runsupportmode.cmd file to start the log gathering process.

If using “runsupportmode.cmd” does not start the diagnostic, you can start the diagnostic directly by running spdiagnostic.exe in the “bin” directory.

You may have to explicitly run the ShadowProtect diagnostic tool with an Administrator account depending on the Windows configuration. If the utility appears to freeze, terminate the process and right-click on the diagnostic tool executable, then select “Run as Administrator”.

After the diagnostic tool runs, the log files will be saved in the current user’s Documents folder. Newer versions of spdiagnostics (7.x and later) will place the log files in aX:Program FilesStoragecraftspdiagnostic folder.

The output will consist of several individual files and a spdiagnostic-(date timestamp).7zMfile.

 

6.3. ImageManager will not run retention

If the storage area ShadowProtect jobs are being created in is full or almost full, ImageManager may not be able to create a large enough temporary workspace on the destination to run retention operations.

If you are setting up ImageManager for a pre-existing backup chain that has never been subjected to consolidation or retention, ImageManager may require as much as 55% space free in the storage area to perform consolidation and retention operations.

If multiple ShadowProtect chains are present on a storage device approaching full capacity, you can temporarily move an entire backup chain folder to an external storage device to free up space . With space temporarily freed on the primary storage device, retention can be run on the chain still present on the primary storage device. The ShadowProtect chain which was copied onto the external storage device can then be moved back to its original location.

If ImageManager will still not run retention after freeing a significant amount of space on the destination storage device:

  1. Close ImageManager.
  2. Run services.msc to open the Windows Services management console, and stop the “ShadowProtect ImageManager” service.
  3. Navigate to X:Program Files (x86)StorageCraftImageManager and locateImageManager.mdb.
  4. Rename the ImageManager.mdb file to ImageManager.old and close the window.
  5. Restart the “ShadowProtect ImageManager” service.
  6. Re-open the Image Manager interface. This will create a new database file for ImageManager to use.

 

6.4. ShadowProtect service does not respond

When trying to start the ShadowProtect service, one of the following errors may be displayed:

  • “Failed to update volume information”
  • “Windows could not start the ShadowProtect Service on Local Computer. For more information, review the System Event Log. If this is a non-Microsoft service, contact the service vendor, and refer to the service-specific error code -2147467259.”
  • “An attempt was made to reference a token that does not exist”
  • “Agent is incompatible with the GUI. Mininum version required is 39”

These errors are typically caused by a corrupt backuphistory.dat file or the ShadowProtect service being configured to run under an account that does not have Administrative rights.

To re-create the backuphistory.dat file, forcefully close all instances of ShadowProtect and remove the X:Program FilesStorageCraftShadowProtectLogsbackuphistory.dat file, then restart ShadowProtect.

To run ShadowProtect with a local Administrator account, open the Windows Services management console by running services.msc and right-clicking on the “ShadowProtect Service”, then selecting “Properties”. In the service configuration dialog box that pops up, click the “This account” radio button and enter credentials for a Windows local Administrator account:

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After filling in the credentials for a local Administrator account, click OK, and restart the service.

 

6.5. Manual Uninstall of ShadowProtect

If ShadowProtect’s uninstaller does not function properly due to environmental reasons, ShadowProtect can be removed manually.

In order to complete a manual uninstallation, do the following:

    1. Unregistering the StorageCraft ShadowCopy Provider*
    2. Unregistering the ImageReady software
    3. Unregistering the ShadowProtect Service Agent
    4. Unregistering the StorageCraft Image Mount Tools
    5. Unregistering the ShadowProtect snapshot driver (PnP & non-PnP variants)*
    6. Unregistering the ShadowProtect Mount Shell Extension
    7. Clearing “Add/Remove Programs”/Install Folders/Start Menu Shortcuts

* Steps 1 and 5 require two utilities ShadowProtect uses to uninstall the Shadow Copy Provider and PnP Snapshot driver. These files are included with every install of ShadowProtect. However, if the core of the application has already been removed, these utilities may have been erased as well. In that case, use the link below to download the utilities:

ShadowProtect Uninstall Tools (contains stcinst.exe and vssins64.exe)

Export a copy of the Windows registry before making the modifications below.

Step 1. Unregistering the StorageCraft ShadowCopy Provider

For 32-bit OS platforms:

  1. Open a command prompt as an Administrator and navigate to the ShadowProtect install directory (typically X:Program FilesStorageCraftShadowProtect).
  2. Type net stop vsnapvss and press Enter.
  3. Type vsnapvss.exe /unregister and press Enter.

For 64-bit OS platforms:

  1. Open a command prompt as an Administrator and navigate to the ShadowProtect install directory (typically X:Program Files (x86)StorageCraftShadowProtect).
  2. For ShadowProtect 4.x and older, type vssins64.exe -u and press Enter. If this command does not run, you may have to manually copy vssins64.exe from theShadowProtect Uninstall Tools download into theX:Program Files (x86)StorageCraftShadowProtect directory. For ShadowProtect 5.x and newer, skip to step 3.
  3. Type sbvss64.exe /unregserver and press Enter
  4. Type vsnapvss.exe /unregister and press Enter

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Step 2: Unregistering the ImageReady software (only for ShadowProtect 5.x or newer)

  1. Open a command prompt with administrative privileges and navigate to the ShadowProtect install directory (typicallyX:Program Files (x86)StorageCraftShadowProtect).
  2. Type net stop StorageCraft ImageReady and press Enter.
  3. Open the Windows registry editor (regedit.exe) and navigate toHKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetservicesStorageCraft ImageReadyusing shadowprotect
  4. Add a REG_DWORD value named DeleteFlag with a value of 1 in the key.
  5. Edit the Start value and change the value to 4 (disable the service).
  6. Once the system is rebooted ImageReady will be uninstalled completely.

Step 3: Unregistering the ShadowProtect Service Agent

  1. Open a command prompt with administrative privileges and navigate to the ShadowProtect install directory (typicallyX:Program Files (x86)StorageCraftShadowProtect).
  2. Type ShadowProtectSvc.exe -UnregServer

Step 4: Unregistering the StorageCraft Image Mount Tools

  1. Open a command prompt with administrative privileges and navigate to the ShadowProtect install directory (typicallyX:Program Files (x86)StorageCraftShadowProtect).
  2. Type regsvr32 /u sbimgmnt.dll and press Enter.
  3. Open the Windows registry editor (regedit.exe) and navigate toHKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetservicessbmount.
  4. Add a REG_DMWORD value name DeleteFlag with a value of 1.
  5. Edit the Start value and change the value to 4 (disables the driver). using shadowprotect
  6. Once the system is rebooted the mount tools and drivers will be uninstalled completely.
  7. Open the Windows registry editor (regedit.exe) and remove theHKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.SPF and HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.SPI registry key.

Step 5: Unregistering the ShadowProtect Snapshot Driver

For Windows Vista/7/2008 or newer OSs:

  1. Open a command prompt with administrative privileges and navigate to the ShadowProtect install directory (typicallyX:Program Files (x86)StorageCraftShadowProtect).
  2. Type stcinst.exe -u and press Enter. If this command does not run, you may have to manually copy stcinst.exe from the “32bit” or “64bit” folder (depending on your OS version) from the ShadowProtect Uninstall Tools download into yourX:Program Files (x86)StorageCraftShadowProtect directory, then runstcinst.exe -u.
  3. Reboot the system.

For Windows XP/2003 and older:

  1. Open the Windows registry editor (regedit.exe) and navigate toHKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetservicesstcvsm.
  2. Add a REG_DWORD value named DeleteFlag with a value of 1.
  3. Edit the “Start” value and change the value to 4 (disables the driver).
  4. Reboot the system
  5. Open the Windows registry editor (regedit.exe) and remove theHKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetserviceseventlogSystemstcvsm registry key.

Step 6: Unregister the ShadowProtect Mount Shell Extension

  1. Open a command prompt with administrative privileges and navigate to the ShadowProtect install directory (typicallyX:Program FilesStorageCraftShadowProtect).
  2. Type regsvr32 /u sbimgmnt.dll and press Enter.

Step 7: Clearing “Add/Remove Programs”/Install Folders/Start Menu Shortcuts

For 32-bit OS platforms:

  1. Open the Windows registry editor (regedit.exe) and remove theHKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlClass{0A2D3D86-E1F2-4165-AB5CE63D32C0BDE}registry key.
  2. Open the Windows registry editor (regedit.exe) and remove theHKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionUninstallShadowProtect registry key.
  3. Delete the X:Program FilesStorageCraftShadowProtect folder.
  4. Reboot the system.

For 64-bit OS platforms:

  1. Open the Windows registry editor (regedit.exe) and remove theHKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlClass{0A2D3D86-E1F2-4165-AB5CE63D32C0BDE}registry key.
  2. Open the Windows registry editor (regedit.exe) and remove theHKLMSOFTWAREWow6432NodeMicrosoftCurrentVersionUninstallShadowProtect andHKLMSOFTWAREWow6432NodeMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionUninstall{26F74578-1285-4C09-80C0-29106C357BFD}registry keys.
  3. Delete the X:Program Files (x86)StorageCraftShadowProtect folder.
  4. Reboot the system.

For 32-bit and 64-bit OS platforms:

  1. Verify ShadowProtect does not exist in the “Add/Remove Programs” or “Programs and Features” section of the Control Panel (appwiz.cpl). If a ShadowProtect entry does exist, select it and then click “Uninstall”. If a dialog box appears stating that the application has already been removed and asking if you want to remove it from the list, choose to remove it from the list.
  2. Open the Start Menu and select the “All Programs” option.
  3. Scroll down and right-click the StorageCraft folder, then select “Delete”.

 

7. Additional Links

The following links to StorageCraft’s website contain additional information regarding ShadowProtect and ImageManager:

Links from this KB article:

We hope this post was helpful in providing help on using ShadowProtect for the Datto SIRIS. If you need any additional assistance, please contact us today.