Storagecraft utils

Discussion in 'sandboxing & virtualization' started by Longboard, Dec 10, 2006.

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  1. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Are we liking Shadowsurfer, Shadowuser and ShadowProtect?

    One question: can I dl something; picture, new .exe, whatever, while in shadowmode and still save that to the disc?
    If I can,then can malware "hop over"?
     
  2. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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  3. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Funny you ask. I am loving Shadow Protect on the box I got back in August, but my lastest box, won't image or recover from Bart. Nvidia is giving these guys fits, but I was told they have some nvidia based boxes on order to beat these problems.
     
  4. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Thanks Rmus: will read the whole website and the links.
    Heh: just trying to cheat.
    I had gained the impression shadow mode is a type of sandboxing: is that so?

    @Peter
    Hmm, You mean these?:
     

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  5. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    No, I have those also. Both my systems are Nvidia based motherboards, that support among other things SLI. They both use Nvidia network drivers, and Nvidia raid drivers.
     
  6. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    OK
    For Shadowuser and Shadowprotect:
    How about MBR (FDISR in particular) issues and other already installed security apps:AV, Prevx, Spybot , CyberHawk, DefenceWall or other utilities
    ( I dont run all of those at onve but might want to install for reviewing.

    Rmus,
    Be patient with me I can be a bit (lol) very thick at times often(!! lol)
    You still happy with and using DF?

    As to shadow mode:
    E-mails dld during shadow mode? What happens to them.
    Appreciate that 'routine' security apps will be running as usual how do you get the/any updates of anything safely installed? or MS updates?.
    I saw conflicts with Antihook mentioned: any others?


    I am not really sure these tools offer me substantial benefits?
    Quite expensive.
    Blue's post as referenced above is a great precis: it seems the basic tenent is to give shadow mode primary control and all else flows from there.

    Can shadow mode be initialised after booting or is it a boot option only?

    Could I install either/both into an FDISR snapshot and play?
    Any installation or uninstall issues?
    Idiot (ie Longboard) proof?: ie how many times are you asked whether you really want to wipe all changes?

    How fast is shadow protect?
    How big are the images?
    Does shadow protect provide "image verification" prior to recovery yet?

    Sorry.
    Thx for advice.
     
  7. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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    Well, I can't do more than give you the web site, as I have no experience in using those products. I read a lot about them and asked questions of other users last year, but that is the extent of my knowledge.

    Yes. Two reasons I chose it over SU:

    1) I saw how effective it was at the school where I worked

    2) I didn't want to have to be bothered with commit/discard (I'm lazy).

    You are doing the right thing in asking questions and getting feedback from users.


    regards,

    -rich
     
  8. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Ah, I thought might have made a change. :)
    Thankyou
    Yes, as a general rule I need all the help I can get.
    Big things I can hit with a hammer I am good at.
    All the little thingies wriggling about in the inside the box and going beep make me nervous :D
     
  9. Rmus

    Rmus Exploit Analyst

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    I have recommended SU in some threads on security, where DF was not practical - you have to have at least two partitions, and some users don't want to do that.

    Also, there are other inconveniences, for example, if configuration settings are stored in the Registry, any time you want to make a change in a program setting, you have to reboot, select to Thaw, reboot, make changes, select to Freeze, reboot, since DF protects the Registry.

    You cannot "commit" changes while DF is in a Frozen state. You can understand why that would not be practical in an institutional setting, for which DF was designed. DF did not compromise that type of security for the Standard (Home) edition, so a home user has to really think through the ramifications of using DF. As Blue is fond of saying, it works best in "static" situations.

    regards,

    -rich
     
  10. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Thx :)
    I remember we discussed this previously: excellent for static settings, bit more of an issue for evolving systems.
     
  11. grnxnm

    grnxnm Registered Member

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    ShadowUser Questions:

    As you know, ShadowUser is a security app that lets you run your machine in a sandbox state. Any changes you make to your disk are instantly discarded on reboot. You can elect to exclude any number of directories from this sandbox effect, so you can for instance specify that everything in your "My Documents" directory should persist between reboots. You can do the same for your email inbox directory. This way you can perform you work, and your work persists across reboots, but any other changes (acquisition of malware, spyware, viruses, etc) are instantly and 100% thoroughly removed on reboot. After you install ShadowUser, your machine will operate as it normally does, until you instruct ShadowUser to enter "ShadowMode." Entering ShadowMode requries a reboot. ShadowMode is the mode where changes are discarded on reboot. We've discussed modifying ShadowUser to allow users to enter ShadowMode without reboot. From a technical perspective it's not too challenging for us to do this, so I imagine it will *probably* be done, but can't say at all when such a feature will be available.

    ShadowProtect Questions:

    Regarding the MBR, ShadowProtect allows you to backup the MBR and the remaining 62 hidden sectors. In essence it will back up the entire first track of the disk. This is important as it will enable you to optionally restore any boot-loader code that may be associated with your backed up volume. At restore time you can elect to 1) not touch the MBR 2) Restore the MBR that was on the disk at the time the backup was made 3) Write the default XP MBR (in case your current MBR is trashed) and 4) optionally also restore the rest of the original content of track 1 (the remaining hidden 62 sectors). Note that when the MBR is restored, only the code portion of the MBR is written to the disk. The partition table portion of your disk's MBR is left intact. Otherwise all of your partitioning changes would be lost.

    To gauge ShadowProtect's speed (backup/restore throughput) it's best to do an apples-to-apples comparison of ShadowProtect against its primary competitors from Acronis and Symantec. Without such a comparison, a raw number means nothing, because I can easily pick a super fast machine and give you the throughput benchmarks from that machine, which is misleading. In general we find that ShadowProtect's throughput matches or exceeds the competitions' throughput. HOWEVER, enterprise and power users will find that ShadowProtect's incremental imaging is consistently the fastest (particularly faster than Acronis). Put a server under load and take incremental backups using TrueImage and ShadowProtect and you'll find that where TrueImage takes minutes, ShadowProtect will take only seconds (ShadowProtect's incremental imaging is an order of magnitude faster).

    ShadowProtect and TrueImage have very similar compression ratios, and typically beat Symantec's compression.

    ShadowProtect always verifies each image during a restore (CRC-32 verification). If you wish to verify an image independent of the restore you can do so using the VerifyImage.cmd script from the command line (we're releasing a GUI for this in version 3). Note that this script only works on base images. If you wish to verify an incremental you need to use the following syntax (in such a command line you must keep spaces before and after the '(' ')' and ':' characters). This example verifies the integrity of a base and two dependent incrementals.

    sbrun.exe -mdn ( sbset "PathToBase" "PathToFirstInc" "PathTo2ndInc" : sbrest )

    VerifyImage.cmd is a simple script that just does this:

    sbrun.exe -mdn ( sbfile -r "PathToImageFile" : sbcrypt : sbrest )

    which is equivalent to:

    sbrun.exe -mdn ( sbset "PathToImageFile" : sbrest )

    If you wish to have a version of sbrun.exe that can be pointed at any *individual* image file (base or incremental) for verification then email support at storagecraft.com and we'll send a copy to you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2006
  12. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Thank you grnxnhm. :thumb:

    now about the pricing :D
     
  13. grnxnm

    grnxnm Registered Member

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    I'll check and see if there are any discounts that aren't obvious on the website.
     
  14. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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  15. grnxnm

    grnxnm Registered Member

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    StorageCraft periodically offers discounts (obtained by entering a discount code at purchase time on the website) on ShadowProtect Desktop Edition to non-volume purchasers, however at this moment there's no discount. I'll let you know the code the next time a discount is in effect.
     
  16. Kapiti

    Kapiti Registered Member

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    I'm interested in ShadowUser but even with the $20 deduction shown on your web site it's still too expensive. I contacted your sales team about upgrading my *free* version of Shadow Surfer to ShadowUser and got a curt NO Way answer. :'(

    John.
     
  17. grnxnm

    grnxnm Registered Member

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    Yeah, there's no way that StorageCraft is going to start handing out free copies of ShadowUser.
     
  18. Kapiti

    Kapiti Registered Member

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    Not looking for a free copy, just a reasonably priced one. :cautious:

    John.
     
  19. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    John

    First you ask about upgrade, but since ShadowSufer was free, there really is no 'upgrade" you are just purchasing ShadowUser

    2nd With the coupon, that puts the price at $49.95us which is quite in line with competing products. Curious what you think a reasonable price would be.
     
  20. Genady Prishnikov

    Genady Prishnikov Registered Member

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    John, What would have bothered me more than the rejection of your offer was the curt "NO WAY" in which they let you know. It's amazing to me how many smallish software companies fail to see how their lack of people skills run off customers and dollars. For example, they could have easily written, "You've been using ShadowSurfer? GREAT! Since you obviously like it and have probably told others about it, how about I say "thanks" by giving you an extra $5 off if you purchase ShadowUser? Instead of using the public coupons, I have created a one-time coupon that gives you that extra $5. Please reference coupon THANKSJOHN. And truly, thank you for using our products and we hope you enjoy ShadowUser!" Result: Software sold at $45 that may have not been sold at all. A happy customer impressed with the company's appreciation of his business. Cost to StorageCraft: The bandwidth for John to download the program that just sits on a server. The "NO WAY" answer is typical though of companies that.......well....don't last long.
     
  21. BlueZannetti

    BlueZannetti Administrator

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    Folks,

    How about relaxing the rhetoric a bit here?

    We have part of a conversation in front of us. We don't know the precise language used when the request was made. We don't know many things. Let's not condemn a company based on such scant information

    If it is too expensive for one's tastes, the obvious answers are to wait for a discount code or move on. As anyone in business knows, pricing is an art and it's not something that companies take lightly, but the vendor is the one entitled to call the shots here. Let the market determine the true value of this software - it will over time.

    As an aside, I do agree that the pricing is somewhat dear and above that for simple impulse type purchases in this market, but since I'm not the product manager...., my vote doesn't count except as a customer (which I happen to be in this case).

    Blue
     
  22. Genady Prishnikov

    Genady Prishnikov Registered Member

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    I didn't see it as rhetoric that was inflammatory at all. It's just an opinion of how many software companies work and the unusually poor service that many offer. I don't think we need to know all the particulars and know all the details to offer an opinion. If a software company responded with a NO WAY to someone, it's enough for me to form an opinion about that particular customer service experience. BTW, I work as a customer service business consultant and offer seminars on Quality Customer Service.
     
  23. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    I personally think that 50$ for ShadowUser is the right price, and I can't see how some people won't even blink at spending the same amount of money for a defragmenter utility (I was unlucky as I bought it paying 69 $, but I think it was worth every dollar).

    In terms of marketing strategies I find very difficult for a company to start giving out discounts of 5$ here and there, and I for one have already reacted to Storagecraft lack of sensitivity towards giving a discount to a PAYING customer: I really wanted to buy ShadowProtect, but delayed my purchase as the thought of paying another 69$ was a bit depressing, I ended up buying Acronis TI for 30$ (they had a discount at the time).

    If Storagecraft had offered me ShadowProtect for 50$ as a bonus for having ShadowUser, I would have bought it straight away.

    In this particular case they lost a sale for not having a flexible marketing strategy. I still think their products are excellent.
     
  24. BlueZannetti

    BlueZannetti Administrator

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    I was focusing on the last phrase ("and the unusually poor service that many offer") in the quoted sentence. That is inflammatory rhetoric in my eyes. You may not have intended it that way, but that is how I received it.
    This is where we differ. Obviously, what Kapiti heard is what matters to him, has forged his impression of the company, and that is now conveyed as "NO WAY" to us. But I have no idea how his question to customer service was phrased, the context behind it, or the specific request. In other words a curt no way was received, but a very different message could have been sent/intended, such as a somewhat humourous, "nice try but unfortunately their's no way we can do that at the moment". Pretty much the same words used, with very different interpretations. I know too little of the specifics to say which extreme is right and understand something in the middle is most probably what is appropriate.

    It is important to recall that while ShadowSurfer is offered free under some circumstances, it is still formally a paid product according to the website. In that light I'd say expecting an automatic discount on the Pro verison, after getting the $30 ShadowSurfer free, is a bit much, especially given the fairly frequent $20 discounts available (yielding $50 which is probably closer to what the base price should be - although I would personally place it lower as well).

    In a perfect world your suggestion of a personalized discount coupon offerable by any customer service rep is not a bad one.

    Blue
     
  25. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    To follow up on BLues last comment, I've had some vendor's who I have done a lot of business with actually do something like giving a special discount or freebie to me. But the key is having done a lot of business.

    On the other hand when all I've used is a free product and want to make the first purchase, while a vendor might consider a discount, to expect it just is't realistic.

    Also one has to consider the comparible products and how they fit your needs. In some cases price is the deciding factor, but in other cases it's the perceived quality of the product. If a company feels it has a better product and prices it higher, then it is up to me to decide whether it's worth it. But to expect the company to come down just to suite me isn't realistic. If they are wrong about their pricing then the market will force an adjustment.
    That as they say is life.
     
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