SD can be used in 2 modes:
1- On-Demand mode
In this mode you just activate the Shadow mode when you need to test something you think may be harmful to your system , then reboot to exit it; this mode will not reduce/hamper your daily use of your system since all changes made (Windows Updates, bookmarks, installed softs, etc...) outside Shadow Mode will remain.
2- Permanent Mode
This mode is active when you allow the Shadow Mode at boot, this mode is the safest one for your system but is the one that will have many unwanted effects, why ?
- You are always under Shadow Mode so any changes in your system will be negated at every reboot.
- Any Windows/software/antivirus Updates, created/modified/downloaded files (as well as malwares infections ) will be negated at the next reboot.
As you see it is the main purpose of SD, virtualizing your actions then negating them at next reboot.
You will ask me : "So what the benefit of SD if i have to redo every time the works i have done?"
I will answer by: "Then you have the exclusions and commit functions"
So now let start to configure SD for max protection but with convenience of use.
1- Mode Setting
First you have to decide which partitions/drives to protect from changes, of course the system one must be protected but i recommend also any other partitions/drives you may have !
Why ? because some malwares infect every files not just the system ones.
You choose your partitions there:
Then select "Enter Shadow Mode at every boot"; then you will enter rightaway in Shadow Mode and at every boot.
The desktop tip will appears to confirm that you entered in Shadow Mode (the tip can now be hided )
2- Exclusion List
The important part is here, the exclusion list
You will have to set the folders that will be ignored by SD, meaning all changes occurring on them will be kept when you will reboot.
There is my exclusions:
So what to exclude:
- Your Antivirus updates : Generally by excluding every folders of it (ask in your product support forum to be sure),
- Your browser bookmarks (optional) : i put it as optional because i don't like to exclude my browsers, since internet is the best place to be infected i don't want to open some security holes.
My workaround is to use an online bookmark synchronizer that loads my bookmarks everytime i am online (ex: Xmarks)
If you still want exclude them you must find where the bookmarks are stored. example for Firefox: "places.sqlite"
- Your downloads: It is a nonsense to download things then negate them at the next reboot, so i recommend you to create 2 folders (in the non-system partition), for that: the first one , i called it "Downloads " is where all your downloads will be saved (this one will be not excluded); its purpose is to check that your downloaded files are safe/non-malicious (the AVs will take care of that), you can open the files there.
The second folder will be named "Safe Downloads" , when after checking the files in "Downloads" you are sure they are safe, move them here to keep them. Later you will exit Shadow Mode and locate them as you wish in a non-exclusion folder.
- Your Works: Create and exclude a folder, put your actual working files there (documents, etc..) until done, then as above relocate them later in the folder that will be protected by Shadow Mode, so you will never loose them in case of infections.
Note about Windows Update: unfortunately , you can't exclude it , SD can't exclude the registry base, so when an update is available , just exit Shadow Mode, install it, return under Shadow Mode.
3- Commit Now button:
The Commit Now button allows you to exclude files/folders on the fly , in case you downloaded/modified a file outside the excluded folders.
You can also do it via right-clicking the file
As you see , Shadow Defender is a powerful protection tool if used properly, but it is not 100% bullet-proof so you have to be careful on what you download and execute on your system.
Hope this guide helped you.
I will add more infos if needed and also about the browsers bookmarks file to exclude.