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Acronis True Image Home 2012 review

David McKinnon
13 Dec 2011
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
Acronis
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
30
inc VAT

Even better than the last version, but not enough has changed to justify an upgrade

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Acronis True Image Home 2011 received a Best Buy award late last year. The new version brings an improved interface as well as some useful new features.

For this latest version, Acronis has embraced the Cloud; the software now has file and folder synchronisation between computers. This allows you to keep identical versions of files in a variety of locations, including Acronis’ secure server. This is undoubtedly useful in a modern working environment, where you can often be away from your main computer but need access to your work files. Free services like Dropbox already exist to achieve this, but Acronis' implementation is a little more sophisticated. You can select any folder to sync, and set up numerous sync routines to cover different sets of files for different working groups. This is useful if, for example, you want to sync your work files between your office desktop and laptop, your critical files to online storage, but your photos to a network location that the whole family can access. The downside is that synchronising between computers requires that each PC has True Image Home 2012 installed. This is a serious constraint on the practical usability of the feature, although the three-computer licence is a discounted £60.

Acronis

True Image Home’s new interface makes it incredibly easy to back up and restore your system

The bread and butter of any backup application is how easy and reliably it can back up your computer. Acronis True Image Home has a long pedigree of reliable and fuss-free backup, and the 2012 edition is no exception. The interface has been markedly improved and it's now easier than ever to navigate through the backup and recovery tools, with handy instructions on hand just when you need them.

Setting up a system backup takes place within a single dialog box and is a much cleaner process that the previous step-by-step wizard approach. The default backup type is incremental, meaning that an initial image of your hard disk is taken and subsequent backups record only the differences between your current system and the last incremental backup, to save time and disk space. Delving into the advanced settings allows you to specify different backup types, including differential (backing up all files since the last full backup) and version chain, which combines differential backup with an intelligent housekeeping function that removes outdated versions of files to limit the overall size of your backup.

You can also schedule backups by time and activity, and specify further controls like password protection and how to split backups into smaller chunks for external storage. You can also set exclusions, not only for transient file types like .tmp, but also for whole directory trees, specific files or user-defined file extensions. This means that you can keep your core system securely backed up in one location and your data files protected through other routines, which will minimise the size of your system backup. The excellent try-and-decide feature lets you experiment with applications or visit websites you suspect are harmful without committing your computer to the impacts. When activated, it constantly monitors the changes you make, after which you can return your computer to its pre-changed state, like a more advanced version of Windows' System Restore.

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