I am just curious to know what exactly the primary difference is between each of these operations. I am currently working with a Polygon Feature Class on an SDE, and I want to create a shapefile in a different location using the features within this Polygon Feature Class. I understand that I can just add the Feature Class to an MXD file, right click the layer in the table of contents, and click 'Export Data', and specify the location of the folder that I want to create the shapefile in as well as its name. My concern is that I do not want the original dataset that I am working with on the SDE to be deleted or compromised in any way. Thank you.