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Review of Acronis True Image Home 11.0

Acronis True Image Home 11.0
A Backup Software Review
by Terje Ronneberg

From the hundreds of backup software programs available. I chose Acronis True Image to be one of the top 7 choices to consider based on a few simple deductions as outlined at: Best backup software for Windows PC

On this page I will share my thoughts and experiences with Acronis True Image.


Computer setup used for this review:

Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition 5.01.2600 Service Pack 2
Manufacturer Dell Dimension DV051
Mainboard Dell 0JC474
Processor Intel Pentium 4 640 @ 3200 MHz
Physical Memory 1024 MB (2 x 512 DDR2-SDRAM )
Video Card Nvidia Corp GeForce FX 5200 [NV34.3]
Hard Disk WDC (160 GB)
Hard Disk (Secondary Internal) WDC (80 GB)
DVD-Rom Drive _NEC DVD+-RW ND-3530A
Monitor Type Dell Computer DELL 2407WFP - 24 inches

I also have a 750GB Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus external hard disk attached via a USB port.


Downloading/Buying:
I went to Acronis.com and downloaded the fully functional 15 day trial of True Image.
File size: 137 MB, File name: TrueImage11_d_en.exe


Installation:

  • Double-clicked the downloaded exe file
  • Followed the prompts, chose installation type: "typical".
  • Installation took about a minute, then restarted the computer.

Creating Backup:

  • Started the program by clicking the icon on the desktop:
    http://backup.info/pics/album/acronis/desktop.icon.jpg
     
  • Clicked "Backup and restore":

     
  • On the next page clicked "Backup" then the "create a backup" wizard appeared. I followed the prompts.
  • When choosing what to backup, there where 4 options.
    -My Computer (Create an image of the whole computer, or a particular partition, or only the system state)
    -My Data (Only the specific data you wish to backup)
    -My Application Settings (Choose specific applications and backup their settings)
    -My Email (Backup your Microsoft outlook messages, and settings)
  • I chose "My Computer" because I wanted to copy the whole hard disk including the system.
  • On the next prompt I chose "Disks and Partitions" because I wanted to backup all my files, not just the system files.
  • Next I was asked to make a partition selection, I wanted to backup every thing on Disk 1 so I made sure everything under Disk 1 was ticked:



     
  • Then I was asked where to create the backup archive file (*.tib - TIB = True Image Backup) I chose to create the archive on my external hard disk, then proceeded with the backup.
  • The full hard disk backup took took about 40 minutes, it created a 49.5 GB backup file. It contains all the data on my hard disk. That is over 150,000 files. Uncompressed they take up 53.6 GB
  • Important Note: If you plan to burn the backup onto DVD's or CD's as well as your hard disk, you need to change the maximum archive file size in the settings. So when the you create the backup, it will make a set of smaller files, instead of one large file. These settings are in:
    Tools->options->default backup options->archive splitting->fixed file size
    Alternatively you can simply create the backup directly onto disks when doing the initial backup, instead of doing it to the hard disk first.
  • After creating a backup it is always good to check the log.

Validating the Backup

  • I verified the backup file was valid by right-clicking it, and choosing "Validate backup archive".

Exploring the Backup Archive and Restoring Files from the Backup

  • I could explore the files within the archive file by simply clicking on it.
  • I was able to copy files from the backup archive file, in the same way I would if viewing any normal folder: By simply right-clicking a file or folder and choosing "copy", then going to the folder where I wanted it, and right-clicking and choosing "paste".

Backup Image Mounting

  • You can mount a True Image backup image, when an image is mounted it is possible to explore and manage the contents as if it where just another drive on your computer, such a drive is known as a virtual drive. This virtual drive will be assigned its own letter, such as F:, and it will be listed with the other drives. It will look and work like a separate drive, but you will actually be accessing the backup image.

Creating an Incremental or Differential Backup with Acronis True Image

A day or so after creating the full hard disk backup, I decided to update the backup, instead of creating another large file, True Image has the option of creating an Incremental backup (only backs up files changed since the last full, or incremental backup), or differential backup (only backs up files changed since the last full backup) See difference between full, differential and incremental backup.

I decided to create an incremental backup, to do so I started True Image, and began the process of making a backup, but when choosing where to make the backup I chose the full backup file which had been created when I did the full backup:

 

The Incremental backup took about 5 minutes, and created a backup archive file of 2.42 GB, it was quite large because I had installed some new software on my computer since the last backup.


Extra Utilities
The True Image software comes with some great extra utilities:

  • System clean-up wizard - This utility allows you to securely remove all traces of your PC actions stored by Windows. It removes temporary windows files. Destroys data in the Windows Recycle Bin. Cleans up free space on the hard disk of any traces of previously stored information. Cleans up opened/saved files history.
  • File shredder - When files are deleted the conventional way, they can still be recovered with basic data recovery software. But if they have gone through this file shredder, they will be destroyed without a trace.
  • Drive cleanser - fully cleans your drive of data, you might wish to do so, if you need to sell it or dispose of the hard disk.
  • Clone Disk - Use it to clone your hard disk to another hard disk. You might want to clone a hard disk if you have bought a new faster and larger capacity hard disk, and want to replace your old one with it. If your old disk was bootable, the new cloned one will be also. So after the cloning, you can just switch to using the new hard disk.

Summary
Acronis True Image is very easy to use, and does what it was designed to do, and does it well. I would highly recommend it. I can't see anything wrong with this software. And the package even comes with other useful utilities. I rate this product as the best choice for home and office use, 5 stars out of 5.

If you would like to try or buy Acronis True Image 11 visit: Acronis.com