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Acronis True Image Home 2011 review

David McKinnon
20 Sep 2010
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Acronis True Image 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
39.93
inc VAT

An excellent backup application just got a bit better and now offers tight integration with Windows 7.

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True Image Home 2011 is a comprehensive backup suite that allows you to carry out both scheduled and one-off backups of your computer and data. Acronis has significantly changed True Image Home’s interface for the 2011 version and tightened the application's integration with Windows 7. While a little cluttered, the main screen is an improvement on previous versions and groups tasks around common themes such as Protection Tools and Disk Management.

To ease the backup process, on first run True Image Home 2011 asks whether you want to backup critical data, use the backup assistant or launch the main application. Choosing to backup critical data will create a one-time backup of your entire system, while the backup assistant provides a little more control and quickly activates ongoing coverage by guiding the user toward continual or scheduled backup options.

Once in the main application, True Image Home 2011 provides two methods of backing up your system. The first is a scheduled backup process that creates an initial image of the data to be protected, then adds regular incremental, differential or full backups – these can run at pre-defined intervals or be triggered by specified events.

You can hold a tight reign over the size and method of backup, and set automatic consolidation limits - either related to the number of backups, their size, or on a time-limited basis - for the incremental and differential backups. You can backup entire hard disks, individual partitions or folders. Alternatively, it’s possible to filter by file category (documents, music, photos etc) or specify individual file extensions.

The second method is a non-stop backup, which runs constantly and tracks system changes every five minutes. This provides the highest level of protection, as it allows you to easily roll back your system to recover old versions of files. Although excellent for day-to-day security, this method lacks definite and user-recognisable backup points.

You can also convert True Image Home backup images into Windows backup files and vice versa. This means that you can mount backups natively in Windows and even boot directly into them, which is useful for exploring old backup volumes or even making temporary use of old system setups.

Acronis has retained the useful Try & Decide function from previous versions. When activated, this lets you use your computer as a proving ground for potentially suspect software or make aggressive changes to your computer setup. If these don't work quite as planned, you can simply return to the original setup.

Backups can be saved locally to external media, such as a USB hard disk (USB 3.0 is supported) or optical media, as well as to an internal hard disk partition. One option is to create an Acronis Secure Zone partition, which is a hidden partition on your internal hard disk that stores only True Image Home backup files. This can be useful as it means there’s no requirement for external media, while also providing better protection than simply placing the backup files on a visible partition. However, external, and preferably off-site, storage is the most secure option.

Online backup tools allow you to save backups to Acronis’ online storage, but it costs an extra €5 (approx £4.10) per month for 250GB storage space. It is possible, however, to save backups directly to an ftp or network location, allowing remote backup without relying on the Acronis service.

True Image Home 2011 is a marginal improvement on an already excellent product. Its ease of use combined with advanced scheduled and non-stop backup protection make it hard to top.

Details

Price£40
Detailswww.acronis.co.uk
Rating*****

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