A great backup and disk imaging application with system rollback capabilities.
We’ve always held Acronis’s True Image Home suite in high regard.
The previous incarnation received five stars thanks in large part to its excellent interface. Unfortunately, True Image Home 2010 seems to be a small step backwards in this respect. The general layout is the same, with themed tabs for Backup, Recover, Tasks and Log, Acronis’s Try & Decide feature and Tools and Utilities. However, the home tab, which used to provide a handy status overview of your hard disks, now simply provides access to common tasks and a list of running routines.
Once the software has made an initial image of your hard disk, subsequent backups can either be full, incremental or differential. Incremental backups save only changes made since the last backup, while differential backups save the changes since the last full backup. The former allows for smaller files and shorter backup times, but the latter means you can bin all the intermediate steps. Backup routines can be scheduled daily, weekly or monthly, or triggered by systems events such as logging on to the PC or shutting it down. Backup files can be saved to optical media, sent to an ftp site, uploaded to Acronis’s online backup storage or saved locally on a hard drive. True Image Home 2010 can also create a secure hard disk partition for your backup files. This means they’re always to hand, but you risk the possibility of losing them to disk failure.
Backup images created by True Image Home 2010 can be converted to Windows Backup files and vice versa, allowing you to use the image as a bootable drive in the Windows 7 boot menu or mount the image natively in Windows without running True Image Home. This provides greater flexibility from your backup images. You can even mount the backup images as drives in a Virtual Machine.
With Try & Decide activated, any changes you make to your PC can be reversed. This allows you to try out software or open suspicious files or websites without fear of damaging your system or data permanently.
The Non-Stop Backup function provides continuous protection. It essentially performs an incremental backup every five minutes and allows you to roll back your computer to an earlier state. These five-minute backups are kept for 24 hours before they’re consolidated into individual day backups, which in turn are kept for a month before they’re consolidated further into weekly backups. These can’t use the Acronis Secure Zone partition like standard backups; you need to use an NTFS partition. Unfortunately, True Image Home lacks any tools to create such a partition. Once it’s up and running, however, it works without any further user input, and the availability of a restorable historical record is useful not only in the event of system failure or data loss, but also for keeping track of the gradual changes you make to files throughout your working week.
Acronis True Image 2010 provides a wealth of tools that both novice and expert computer users will find useful. If you don’t currently have a backup application, it’s a flexible and powerful option, but you’ll need separate hard disk partitioning software to get the most from it.