MiniTool ShadowMaker User Manual


MiniTool ShadowMaker not only offers backup solution, but also provides some useful features to cater to different user needs.

Media Builder

MiniTool Media Builder offers a perfect solution to create bootable media based on WinPE, which provides better compatibility with your computer's hardware. With MiniTool Media Builder, it is possible to restore the operating system to the previous state even when your computer fails to boot.

How to Create WinPE Based Bootable Media

Before you do:

Prepare a recordable CD/DVD disc and insert it into your CD/DVD driver. Or you can prepare a USB flash drive and then connect it to your PC. Or you can connect a USB hard disk to your computer.


Some of you may be wondering: Do I need to format my external drive to be a bootable disk? Actually, MiniTool Media Builder supports USB hard disk, USB flash drive, CD and DVD disc. While creating a MiniTool bootable disc or drive, your device will be formatted. Thus, please ensure that there is no important data saved on your device.

Step 1: Select Media Builder from Tools to get the main interface.

Media Builder feature

Step 2: Select WinPE-based media with MiniTool plug-in to continue.

MiniTool Media Builder


By clicking Options , you can add more drivers to the bootable media.

select drivers to be integrated into the WinPE boot disk

Step 3: Here, MiniTool ShadowMaker allows you to make an ISO file, create a bootable USB flash drive, create a bootable external hard disk, or build a bootable CD/DVD disc.

choose media destination


Only when your removable hard disk is connected to your PC, the USB Hard Disk option can be displayed in the above figure.

① ISO File:

To make a .iso file, please select ISO File and then choose where to save the .iso file.

select ISO File

Please wait patiently until MiniTool Media Builder finishes building the .iso file. Then, click the Finish button.

building an ISO file


After finishing making a .iso file, you need to burn the .iso file to a USB drive or DVD/CD disc and then boot your PC from the device.

② USB Flash Disk

To create a bootable USB flash drive, please select USB Flash Disk option and select the correct USB flash drive if there are many. Then click Yes to confirm that you want to create the bootable media.

choose USB flash drive

Please wait until MiniTool Media Builder finishes building the USB bootable drive. Finally, click Finish after successful burning.

building a bootable USB disk

③USB Hard Disk

To create a bootable external hard drive, please click USB Hard Disk option. Then, a warning appears to tell you that your device will be formatted. To continue, click Yes button.

choose USB hard disk for bootable media creation

Please wait until MiniTool Media Builder finishes building the bootable USB hard disk. Finally, click Finish after successful burning.

building a bootable USB hard disk


During the process, MiniTool ShadowMaker will format your external hard disk and repartition it into two partitions, one is for the created .iso file and another is for you to save data.

repartition external disk into two partitions

④CD/DVD Writer

To build a bootable CD/DVD disc, please select CD/DVD Writer and then click Yes to confirm that you want the burning.

burn to CD or DVD

Please wait until MiniTool Media Builder finishes building the CD/DVD bootable disc. Finally, click Finish after successful burning.

building a bootable CD or DVD disc


Based on different operating systems and network environment, the time for bootable media creation varies. Please be patient when MiniTool Media Builder is still processing.

How to Boot from the WinPE Based Bootable Media

Step 1: Connect the burned MiniTool bootable media to your PC, and then start your computer.

Step 2: Wait for the message telling you how to enter BIOS appears and do as it prompts. Note that different computers may show different messages or require users to press different keys to access BIOS. If you miss the message, just restart your computer and try again.

Step 3: In BIOS, you need to set the first boot order.

① If you are trying to boot from the USB flash disk, set your USB drive as the 1st boot option and save configuration changes.

boot PC from USB flash drive

② If you are trying to boot from the CD/DVD disc, set the disc as the 1st boot option and save configuration changes.

boot PC from CD or DVD in BIOS

③ If you are trying to boot from the external hard drive, set the disk as the 1st boot option and save configuration changes.

boot PC from USB hard disk

Step 4: After selecting whether to change screen resolution, and whether to load MiniTool Software, you have finally come to the main interface of MiniTool ShadowMaker Bootable.

whether to change screen resolution

whether to load MiniTool Software

MiniTool PE Loader

Add Boot Menu

Normally, it is required to burn an .iso file to an USB flash drive or CD/DVD disk to create a bootable media. However, MiniTool ShadowMaker puts forward an easier way to achieve this aim. By simply adding MiniTool ShadowMaker to the boot menu, you can enter the MiniTool Recovery Environment which will start Windows PE and allow full system restore without a bootable media.

How to Add Boot Menu

Step 1. Enter Add Boot Menu under Tools .

add boot menu

Step 2. Select Add Boot Menu and confirm the operation.

select add

confirm add

Step 3. Wait for the operation to complete.

add successfully


When MiniTool Recovery Environment is added to Windows start-up menu, you can choose to enter Windows OS or choose to enter MiniTool Recovery Environment.

minitool recovery environment

How to Delete Boot Menu

If you no longer need MiniTool Recovery Environment, you can delete the boot menu.

Step 1. Enter Add Boot Menu under Tools .

add boot menu

Step 2. Select Delete Boot Menu and confirm the operation.

select delete

confirm deletion

The deletion will be finished quickly.

delete successfully


MiniTool ShadowMaker allows you to mount partition backup images, disk backup images and system backup images as virtual drives. Note that all these images should be created by using MiniTool ShadowMaker. Once a backup image is mounted, a new partition appears in Windows Explorer and you can quickly access the drive to view backup files inside.

How to Mount an Image

Step 1. Enter Mount under Tools , and then select a backup task from the list window.


Step 2. Select a backup task from the list and then click Next to continue.

select backup task

Step 3. Select a backup version and hit Next to go on.

select backup version

Step 4. Choose a partition to be mounted and click Finish .

select partition

Step 5. MiniTool ShadowMaker will ask you whether you want to mount the drive image, click Yes to confirm.

confirm mounting

Immediately the mounting operating is finished. Now you can see the new mounted partition under Windows Explorer .

finish mounting


It is suggested that when all necessary operations are finished, you can dismount the virtual disk since maintaining it there takes considerable system resources, and you may carry out some operations on the wrong partition.

How to Dismount an Image

Step 1. Enter Dismount under Tools .


Step 2. Check the volume you want to dismount and click Dismount button.

check volume

Clone Disk

Clone is another useful feature of MiniTool ShadowMaker, which is significant for hard drive upgrading. A big difference between disk clone and disk image is that when you clone a disk, you can directly use it after the operation, while you will have to restore a disk image before you can use it directly. MiniTool ShadowMaker even can help you to clone the dynamic disk.


Is it better to make a clone? This depends on the actual situation. If you need to upgrade disk to a larger one without reinstalling OS, cloning is recommended. If you want to back up disk data to an image file, cloning cannot realize it but the backup feature can.

How to Clone Basic Disk

Step 1. Go to Clone Disk under Tools .

choose Clone Disk

Step 2. Choose which disk to clone and where to store the copy.

clone source and destination interface

choose clone source

choose target disk for cloning

Step 3. Confirm that you want to start the task and wait for the process to finish.

confirm disk to clone

wait the process to be finish

Message you should pay attention to:

When disk cloning is finished successfully, you will see the following message:

read the notice carefully

This means both the source disk and the target disk has the same signature, thus one disk is marked as offline by Windows. Just remove one that you don't need.


By ticking "Shut down the computer when the operation is completed", you can take either the source disk or the target disk out of computer after the cloning.

How to Clone Dynamic Disk

MiniTool ShadowMaker also enables you to clone the dynamic disk. Now, you can refer to the following instructions.


It can only clone dynamic disks which only contain Simple Volumes to basic disks.

Step 1: Go to Clone Disk Under Tools .

choose Clone Disk

Step 2: Choose the clone source by clicking The Source Disk . Here, you need to choose the dynamic disk.

choose the clone source

Step 3: Choose the target disk by clicking The Target Disk section.

select target disk for dynamic disk cloning

Step 4: Confirm that you want to start the task.

confirm the information


All data on the target disk will be destroyed, so please back up them in advance.

Step 5: Wait for the process to be finished.

wait the process to finish

Step 6: When the process is finished, you will receive the following message.

read the notice carefully

This means both the source disk and the target disk has the same signature, thus you need to disconnect or remove either of them. In addition, if you want to boot your computer from the target disk, you need to change the BIOS settings.

MiniTool PXE Boot

PXE is short for Preboot Execute Environment. MiniTool PXE Boot is designed to boot many computers from micro system in network. To put it simple, you can use MiniTool PXE Boot to make other client PCs boot from the same network. After booting, all client PCs are able to back up, restore or clone with tools offered in Windows PE micro system. In a word, MiniTool PXE Boot offers the best way to maintain multiple computers in LAN.

How to Use MiniTool PXE Boot

Step 1. Select PXE under Tools on host computer.


Step 2. Click Start button to begin the PXE service.

start pxe service


MiniTool PXE Boot tool will configure related DHCP values automatically. However, before you click Start , you can change the values by entering Settings .

change value

Step 3. In a few minutes, MiniTool PXE Boot will start the service to connect client PCs.

preparing winpe

When you see the information "Connected to the server", you can set the client PCs to boot from network in BIOS. When all client PCs are booting from PXE network, maintaining hard drives on many clients will be easier.

connect to server

Step 4. When you have finished all tasks on all client PCs, you can stop PXE service on the host computer.

stop pxe


The Remote computer is a computer which you cannot access physically. But you can access or manage it via some kind of computer network. The Remote connections are made by the use of network that connects to the computer and the device that is used to access it.

For example, MiniTool ShadowMaker enables you to access it or manage it after inputting the IP address. After that, you can manage the remote computer as long as they are on the same LAN.

How do you know the IP address of your computer?

In order to know the IP address of your computer, you can open the Command Line window, then input the ipconfig command and hit Enter to continue. Thus, you can see that the IPv4 address of your computer is listed here, which can be used to access your computer by other people. Of course, you can also know the IP address on the Network and Sharing Center .

How to access Remote computer?

Go to the Tools page, click Remote , and MiniTool ShadowMaker will relaunch. Then, input an IP address in the pop-up window and press the right Connect button to start the remote backup.

remote 1

remote 2

Command Shell

Command Shell is designed for advanced users and only appears under Windows PE. By selecting Command Shell , you will see Windows built-in cmd.exe which will perform whatever task or function it's designed to perform in Windows.

How to Access Command Shell

Step 1. Under Tools , select Command Shell .

command shell

Step 2. Immediately Windows built-in cmd.exe appears. Now input the commands you want it to carry out.


Universal Restore

Restoring system to original hardware or identical hardware is easy. However, if you try to restore system to dissimilar hardware, the restored system is likely to fail to boot. This is because the new hardware is incompatible with the critical drivers included in the system. Thus, the Universal Restore feature can help to install and update drivers so as to solve some incompatible problems.

MiniTool Universal Restore technology enables you to restore your system to any available machine. If you are trying to restore system to a computer with dissimilar processor, motherboard, or chipset, MiniTool Universal Restore is useful. This utility will find and install necessities for devices that are critical for the current operating system to start up.


To restore Windows backup to a different computer, ensure that you have the bootable edition of MiniTool ShadowMaker created by MiniTool Media Builder.

Then, use Restore feature to restore the system image to the hard drive of crashed computer. Next, use Universal Restore to finish the incompatibility repair.

How to Carry out Universal Restore

Step 1. Enter WinPE created by MiniTool ShadowMaker.

Step 2. Under Tools , select Universal Restore .

universal restore

Step 3. MiniTool Universal Restore will automatically detect and list the operating systems installed on the hard drive for you to choose.

detect system

Step 4. Select the operating system to be restored and press Restore button. When the process is finished, you can exit WinPE and boot Windows on dissimilar hardware successfully.

select system


restoring finished


Before you click Restore , you can also click Add Driver Folder to add some driver folders.

add driver folder