Editors Note: This original review covers version 11 released in 2007. You can find a review of the Acronis True Image 2009 (home version) here, and if you are interested in a business solution, a review of Acronis True Image for Microsoft Small Business Server.
Are you like many people who store huge amounts of personal data on your home computer or your laptop’s hard drive and who think performing backups to DVDs is all you need do to be safe? Think again. Hard drives can’t be trusted and DVDs are even less reliable. Are you surprised? Then continue to read. If not, read on anyway because this review covers some cool software that will impress your friends when you recommend it to them.
How many times have you heard of people having hard drive (HD) issues, returning their computer to the repair shop to get something fixed? It happens a lot more frequently as more people have access to computers and as hardware becomes cheaper.
How about DVDs? Did you know that recordable DVDs have major issues two or three years after burning them? I learned that the hard way. As an amateur photographer I take a lot of digital pictures and save them to my hard drive, then backup them on DVD. Recently, I had to access a DVD that I had burned about two years ago and I had a really hard time being able to read it on my laptop. I had to use an external DVD burner that is better able to read errors. Still, I lost access to some files. Not nice! Then I remembered I had a backup on my external USB 2.0 hard drive. A lot of people don’t get this lucky.
This is where a tool like Acronis True Image 11 Home can save the day.
Acronis is quickly becoming the main reference for disk management tools. Their suite of products caters to everyone from the casual home user to the IT professionals. Acronis True Image 11 Home is obviously designed to be a product for the home user. However, the name and the price tag are not by any means an indication that it’s a lesser product than any of the professional versions. Acronis True Image 11 Home is a great tool with some impressive features. The friendly user interface makes it a pleasure to use and very easy to learn.
Price to Value (5 out of 5)
What’s Hot: Acronis True Image 11 Home is a steal at this price. That is just one of the reasons that prompted me to rate it as "Excellent" below.
Installation & Setup (4 out of 5)
What’s Hot: Acronis True Image 11 Home is a simple step by step installation procedure. It includes a splash screen where you can proceed with install, take a peak at the User Guide (which is always a good idea before using an application), or go to customer support.
What’s Not: I had a couple of issues installing Acronis True Image 11 Home on Vista but after a disk check and installing it as an administrator it worked.
User Interface (4 out of 5)
What’s Hot: The Acronis True Image 11 Home user interface, as you can see from all the screenshots below, is simple and intuitive. The wizards help a lot and most of the options are straightforward enough to preclude you from having to read the manual or use the help file.
Performance (5 out of 5)
What’s Hot: I was surprised on more than one occasion with the speed of Acronis True Image 11 Home. With both backing up and restoring files, or even doing a search, the process was fast. The services that run in the background use a little more RAM than what I would like, but when running on Vista I didn’t see any performance degradation. Just to give you an idea, the backup process that I describe with the screenshots below took less than 25 minutes. That’s an entire partition with Vista OS, applications and settings. Not only that, Acronis True Image 11 Home compressed about 22GB to 13GB. Impressive.
Product Features (5 out of 5)
There are so many features in Acronis True Image 11 Home that it’s hard to pick only a few main features to talk about, so I’ll just describe the ones I like. And that’s probably all them.
Disk Backup is the main, or most obvious, feature. It allows you to make a full image backup of your hard drive, including the operation system with the installed applications and drivers, and all your personal files and settings. If you have a system failure for example, you can restore your computer to the exact point where you made the backup. You can schedule backups and arrange to be notified via email when the backup is finished. There are different medias available to store the backups (see below). You can do full image backups, system state backups, or only documents backup. You can even backup Outlook data only and restore at the message level. There are so many options available when doing backups that describing them one by one would be tedious to read. To help you understand the options available, I’ve made a full image backup process that you can see on the screenshots. [Screenshot 4 to 18]
Try & Decide is like Windows Restore on steroids. Basically, you turn it on and then do whatever you want. Install software, remove software, browse the web, etc. Then at the end you decide if you want to keep the changes or rollback everything. For this, Acronis needs you to create a secure partition where it will keep track of the changes to the system. In order to do this, Acronis True Image 11 Home includes a wizard that you can use which will make the process painless. [Screenshots 19 and 20]
Privacy tools. Acronis True Image 11 Home has a disk Cleanser, File Shredder, and System Cleanup tools. These are valuable tools to make sure that your personal data does not fall into the wrong hands. How many times you heard of people whose personal photos, videos, or documents were copied and sometimes even shared on the internet? You can’t be too careful these days.
When backing up you like to be able to have different media options right? Well you are in luck. With Acronis True Image 11 Home you can use hard drives, local or network drives, FTP server, optical media (CD or DVD), or removable media as backup options.
Note: If you get the Universal Restore module, you can even restore an image onto a PC with a completely different hardware profile than the one on which you made image backup in the first place.
Security & Privacy (4 out of 5)
What’s Hot: Acronis True Image 11 Home includes a password option for backups, and the disk Cleanser, File Shredder, and System Cleanup tools are more than welcome.
Just keep on improving it. Perhaps a setup with less conflict with Vista would be nice.
Acronis True Image 11 Home is not just a simple backup tool. If you managed to read my entire review you will notice that there is very little that Acronis left out of this product.
With Acronis True Image 11 Home you are able to make a full raw image of your hard drive. Alternatively, you can limit your backup to documents and settings or even just emails. You can backup to different physical locations using everything from a network drive to an FTP server. Use it to search in multiple backup files, restore and still preserve files and folders. Create a sand box on your system where you can install, remove, and try any strange configuration changes to your system while still being able to roll back all of those changes. If these options impress you as much as me then you should press the “Buy It Now” button on the top of this page.
The value for money on this product is just a no-brainer. This is the first time I give a product an "Excellent" rating.