There are many ways to protect your computer, with anti-virus software and firewalls being the most common. However, if all else fails then a recent backup is your last line of defence against data loss.
Acronis True Image Home 2009 is a disk-imaging and backup application. It can create images of entire drives or partitions, which can be restored in the event of data loss. The previous version of True Image came under fire for a lack of polish, but the same cannot be said here. The interface is clean and easy to navigate without lacking any functionality. Functions are housed in the left taskbar, while the main window is used to display information or execute tasks. This layout makes it easier to keep abreast of your system’s backup status.
True Image can create images of disks or partitions or back up only specified files or folders, email from Outlook or Windows Mail, application settings or system state. All these backup tasks use the same basic wizard, which means the process soon becomes familiar. As well as specifying what to back up, you can schedule the backup to run at an allotted time or after a certain event, like a system reboot. Once you have a full backup of whatever you want to protect, you can specify that subsequent backups are full, differential or incremental.
Incremental backups record the changes made since the last backup, while differential backups record any changes since the initial full backup. This means that incremental backup files are smaller and quicker to make, but all backup files are required to restore your data. Differential backups, however, tend to get larger and take longer to create as time passes, but you need only the initial backup and the most recent file to restore everything.
Advanced backup options such as password protection, user-defined encryption and email notification are all integrated in the wizard as a single step, which makes them easy to understand and define.
True Image makes it simple to restore files from your backup archive. You can explore the archive with Windows Explorer, or mount the image so that individual files can be opened. Should the worst occur and Windows not start, you can boot directly into a recovery environment. Though many other disk-imaging applications use a very basic recovery interface, True Image’s is just slightly pared-down compared to the full application. It allows you to find and restore files, folders or entire partitions, as well as copy and clone disks, and can be launched either from a CD or a secure section of your hard disk. The latter option will replace your master boot record (MBR), so if you have multiple operating systems installed then the CD option will serve you better.
Try & Decide provides a safe environment to try out new applications or settings before committing the changes to your system permanently. Though this sounds useful, it replicates the function of making a backup before installing software. You also get Acronis DriveCleaner, which enables you to securely and permanently erase disks or partitions.
Acronis True Image Home 2009 is now much easier to navigate and use, and provides effective and comprehensive backup protection. It’s our favourite backup software.