Updated October 2019

A shadow copy is a copy of your Media Vault that is automatically updated when you make changes to the original vault, as long as the drive containing your shadow copy is plugged in.  A shadow copy is a backup that mirrors your original Media Vault.  It is the safest way of backing up Historian, because it is automated – every time you make a change to your Media vault, the shadow copy changes, too.

It is important that a shadow copy be created on a different physical hard drive to your Media Vault, such as an External Hard Drive (EHD). If your computer crashes or otherwise stops functioning, you will be able to restore your whole media vault from the EHD. If your media vault is on an EHD, you will need another EHD for your Shadow Copy. 

Please note that the EHD must be plugged in to your computer for the Shadow Copy to work!!

How to start a shadow copy

Open Historian in the ‘My Media Library’ view.

Click on the Vault Ribbon, and click Shadow Copy.

The following pop-up menu will appear. Click Start Protection.

Select a location for the shadow copy. To do that, click Browse, and find the location you have decided to place the shadow copy.

In this example, the location is my “E:\ Drive”, which is my External Hard Drive. Click OK to begin the shadow copy.

After you click OK you will see the following message. This means that you have set up your Shadow Copy successfully. Click Update now to start your shadow copy, or wait until you close Historian and it will start automatically. Each time you close Historian, the Shadow Copy will update. This may take some time the first time you run it. Remember that the EHD must be plugged in to your computer for the Shadow Copy to work.




In summary:

  • It is important that a shadow copy be created on a different physical hard drive than the one your Media Vault is on, such as an External Hard Drive (EHD). If your Media Vault is on an EHD, you’ll need to put your shadow copy on a different EHD.
  • The EHD holding your shadow copy must be plugged in to your computer for the shadow copy to work.
  • To start a Shadow Copy
    • Open Historian  in the ‘My Media Library’ view.
    • Click on the Vault Ribbon, and click Shadow Copy.
    • Click Start Protection.
    • Select a location for the shadow copy.
    • Click OK to begin the shadow copy.

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38 Responses to Historian Tip: Setting Up a Shadow Copy

  1. Ola Otto says:

    Ok, all this being said, here is my situation. One of my EHD’s (the one containing my Shadow Copy), quit working, or rather, can no longer be recognized. I want to start a new Shadow Copy on different EHD. There used to be a place in MM/Historian to “mark entire vault for backup “. I cannot find that now. When I tried to start a new shadow with Start Protection, it started trying to synchronize photos. It is now going back and forth between reading the EHD that has my Vault on it and the newer EHD that I want my new Shadow Copy on. Hoping one of you pixies or sprites can help. Thank you. Ola Otto

  2. Kay Sager says:

    I am starting a new computer. I have historian and artisan 4 on the one and EHD hooked up to it. How do I move everything over to the new computer. I am also going to get the artisan 5. Should I do that fist on the new computer or afterward.

  3. Lori Hagen says:

    I am currently working in Memory Manager 3.0 (although I have purchased Historian, I have not made the switch over). Last night, my son knocked over the external hard drive that holds my shadow copy. Now that drive does not operate properly. so I’m headed out today to get a replacement for that. My questions are: Can I have a shadow copy on 2 separate external hard drives (essentially, a back up shadow copy)? And what is the difference between a shadow copy and a back up (and should I have both)? And, when is the best time to start using Historian – before or after I create a new (replacement) shadow copy? Thanks!

    • Jan says:

      Lori – I think you’ve gotten your answer in other places. Short answer: we recommend switching first, opening current vault in Historian, setting up a shadow copy on one of your EHDs, and if desired, use the other EHD for manual full backups as needed. Shadow copies happen automatically, each time you log out of Historian providing your EHD that the shadow copy is on is plugged in. Full or incremental backups must be done manually.

  4. Caroll says:

    Getting ready to purchase Historian, (finally!) and want to be sure everything is in tip-top shape before switching over.
    1. Looking at the “Memory Vault Status”, should I “clear thumbnails” and “empty recycle bin”?
    2. Reading above comments, how would I switch locations of vault and shadow copy. I have the vault on the hard drive of my laptop and the shadow copy on my ehd?
    Thanks for your help! I’ve been a MM user since we received it at Showcase and couldn’t live without it ( :

    • Shelley says:

      Hi Caroll. Emptying the recycle bin is a very good idea. If you haven’t done it for a while you’ll be amazed at how much space it is taking up. Clearing the thumbnails is not necessary. Regarding using an external hard drive, you should find the information you need HERE.

  5. Virginia Lovealce says:

    I’m new to Panstoria from CM. How do I import my files from my shadow copy? I can not resore or find my memory vault from my first ehd, so will I be able to import all my 50,000+ pictures with the exact previously named categories, etc. to Panstoria?

  6. cmsher says:

    I have a bunch of space on Microsoft One Drive. Is it possible to keep a vault’s shadow copy on OneDrive and make it “online only” so that it doesn’t exist on the same hard drive as the original vault? OR… can shadow copies only exist on EHDs?

    • Shelley says:

      That won’t work Sher. You can save to One Drive, but if you make the folder online-only, Historian won’t be able to access it. You could use One Drive if you make the folder available off-line, but then of course it takes up space on your hard drive.

  7. Sharon says:

    I am trying to make a shadow copy of my Historian and when following the instructions above I do not get the box mentioned when I click on shadow copy. It comes up with a window that shows a last known location and says the directory does not exist. When I try to check the other drives it says “no compatible shadow copies were found”. How to I get this to create a shadow copy on my external drive? Help! I am trying to get this fixed before I move my Historian program to a new computer before the old one dies.

    • Shelley says:

      If you are getting that message you need to click on Stop Protection, and then start a new shadow copy. Choose your EHD when setting up the new shadow copy.

  8. Laura Mitchell says:

    I have just switched from MM4 to Historian and I am having trouble getting my shadow copy imported into my new Historian. I made a new folder and I picked the shadow copy directory but the ok button never highlights, it stays grayed out. Can you help?

  9. Barbara Roth says:

    Is there any way to verify that the shadow copy is complete?

  10. Nanette Shipman says:

    My ongoing problem seems to be with space. I have my shadow copy on the computer and my vault is on an EHD. I also back up to the EHD. I periodically try to update a second EHD with everything that is on the first one so there is a second copy. But the shadow copy on the computer is taking up 102G of space on the C drive out of 178 total Gigs. The C drive is now dangerously full. I am working on a laptop and I don’t want to have to plug in 2 EHDs. It already get’s challenging, especially when I am actually working from my lap. Any suggestions? I am thinking about checking out Forever as an online option, but don’t know how much you can actually store.

    • Shelley says:

      Space is a constant battle with photos and computers. It is important not to over fill the C Drive, as most programs need some physical space to function efficiently. A second hard drive for your shadow copy is a good option. You don’t need to have the shadow connected continually. The shadow copy updates when you shut down Historian, so you could keep the 2nd EHD on your desk and connect it when you have finished working. You would want to remember to do it regularly! Forever.com has several storage options ranging from 10GB to 1000GB. It is designed for saving your photos long term and is a great option for ensuring your photos are safe, but it doesn’t really replace a shadow copy. If you do decide to investigate Forever.com, we appreciate you using our affiliate LINK.

      • Nanette Shipman says:

        Thank you Shelley. I was never sure what might happen if I had the shadow copy on another drive. At least now I know it will simply update the next time I plug it in. Now I just need to relocate it.

  11. Cheryl says:

    Should you periodically – like once a year – start all over with a new shadow copy? I was having this discussion and if a shadow copy is constantly writing the information that changes with your main vault – such as photo 123 was deleted and photo 432 was cropped, etc. over time would it be better to just start over with a clean copy?

    • Shelley says:

      No, there’s no reason to do that. The shadow copy is an identical copy of everything you do. So if you delete a photo from your vault, it will be deleted from the shadow too. I do recommend a clean complete backup on a regular basis, that is stored in a different location to the computer.

  12. Michelle James says:

    so is a shadow copy the same as having a backup copy of your vault on a different drive, exept that it updates it automatically as you work in Memory Manager?

    Also was wondering what the difference between the backup of Memory Manager and the Shadow Copy of MM is?

    • Shelley says:

      Yes, a shadow copy is pretty much a backup which is continually updating. The major difference between a shadow copy and a backup onto and EHD or DVDs is that the shadow copy needs to be attached to the computer in order to be effective, so is open to some of the same risks as the original (fire, theft etc), whereas a backup can be stored in a different location.

  13. I have tried to limit the number of images on my laptop, so I have saved some previously used files to an EHD by year (for example I saved all of 2009 photos) then deleted them from Memory Manager. So if the shadow copy is a mirror, does it too remove them completely? (I should mention that the EHD I saved them to is different than the one doing the shadow copy.)

  14. CorinnePitt says:

    I have my vaults stored on my EHD and keep my shadow copies stored on my computer. This way I always know the shadow copy is being updated.
    Are there any disadvantages to this?
    Is it true that a shadow copy vault takes up less room than a vault?

    • Shelley says:

      I have mine the same way Corinne – I don’t see any disdvantage. The important thing is to have 2 copies on 2 different drives. As far as I know the shadow copy is around the same size as the original vault, since it contains the same images, but I will look into that & report back if I discover otherwise.

    • Shawna says:

      That was what I was going to suggest! If your computer has plenty of room it’s a great idea! Or if you have 2 computers, put MM on both computers – use your EHD to go between both computers, but then put the shadow copy on one of the computers hard drive. When you close MM on that hard drive, then the shadow copy will update.

  15. Debi Mingle says:

    Question? I’m not very computer savy but you Pixies have been a life saver for me on many many occasions with your wonderful tips. Thank you all so very much for all you do and all the wonderful information you share! My question on this subject is how do you restart a shadow copy after you had shadowed MM when your computer hard drive died?? It has since been replaced and my son was able to restore most of my MM without my shadow copy. I looked at the shadow copy on my external and am not able to tell what pictures are saved there that are not on the computer, they have no order and I am totally confused. I need to know how and where the pictures on the shadow copy I have stop so I can reconnect my EHD to the new computer and continue my shadow copy on the picts I have added since the EHD has been disconnected.

    • Shelley says:

      Debi I think you should contact CM Tech support, they will be able to give you specific help for your situation. I am wondering why your son tried to repair your Memory vault without using the Shadow Copy – if the Shadow was up to date, you would be able to restore all your images. It is not a good idea to go into the folders of a Memory vault or the Shadow Copy – moving or deleting images there can cause the program to malfunction. Tech Support can talk you through the process – give them a call.

  16. judychronicles judychronicles says:

    Hi Shelley. If I want to save my shadow copy to a second EHD……do I follow the above steps, but make sure the location is different….I want to end up with 2 EHD…both with the identical shadow copy. Thanks Judy

    • Shelley says:

      You can only run one Shadow copy at a time. If you wanted to have 2 copies you would need to keep switching hard drives. It’s fine to do that. This tip was written for MM3, but the general principles are the same. (Read right to the end of the tip)

  17. Asmaan says:

    What happens if one is travelling with their laptop and don’t have their ehd with them?…a)say one tries to save will the new work get saved regardless? B)will it work after a couple of no saves and when you come back home and try with the same ehd again? C) if one is travelling and have saved say couple of times and then the laptop crashes and one has not been able to save the same on the ehd…will one be able to restore from the previous but two saved copies (ie the last saved shadow copies?…thanks

    • Shelley says:

      So many questions! 🙂 If your EHD is not attached, it will pause the automatic protection. When you reconnect the EHD, it will start again. You may have to click on the Vault Ribbon, click on Shadow Copy and select Resume Protection. You can restore from an old version of the shadow copy, if that is the only one you have. You obviously won’t have the most recent changes that occurred while the EHD wasn’t plugged in, but it’s better than nothing. Moral – buy a portable EHD and take it travelling with you 🙂

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