Acronis True Image Home 2011 review
A smart backup tool that’s easy to use and comes with plenty of handy extras - but test the trial before you buy
This latest version of Acronis’s disk and file backup package has a bright Windows 7-style interface that’s a breeze to use — but few new features. The only real enhancement over last year’s edition is support for user-selected archival schemes, which determine how long your backup files are kept for. Simply set up a schedule, or a maximum permitted size or number of backup archives, and True Image will manage the rest.
Beyond that, if you’re a 2010 user the upgrade isn’t a great deal. However, if you’re used to rudimentary shareware tools, True Image is a revelation. Full-system images are created in the background via Windows’ Shadow Copy service so there’s no interruption to your work. Image files can be restored in full, or mounted as virtual drives, so you can extract just the files and information you need.
Personal data, meanwhile, is backed up every five minutes in the transparent “nonstop backup” mode. Your files and folders are automatically archived on a secondary drive or in a specially partitioned “Secure Zone” on your primary drive, and you can browse forward and backward through different versions of the file system.
This two-pronged approach should more than cover your regular backup needs, but True Image is also generous with the extras. The Try & Decide tool lets you snapshot your system before installing unknown software or visiting suspicious websites. There’s a disk cloning tool, a drive wiper and a file shredder, and a nice feature that lets you convert Acronis files to and from Windows Backup format.
There’s an online backup module too, but it’s only as a 30-day trial with 2GB of storage; upgrading to a year-long, 250GB subscription will cost £40 inc VAT or £4 a month. You can save money by making your own arrangements, as True Image will happily upload backups to any FTP destination.
The other optional add-on is the Plus Pack, which adds hardware-independent restoration (so you can restore a system image to a different PC to the one it came from) as well as WinPE support and the ability to work with dynamic and GPT disks. For home users it’s probably not worth the extra cost.
Be warned that numerous PC Pro readers have reported previous versions not working correctly on their systems, and that technical support has been poor once the paltry 30-day support period expires. So before investing, we strongly suggest you download the 30-day trial and use it in anger; if you hit problems then you should look elsewhere.
But if True Image Home 2011 works for you, as it did for us throughout our testing, it’s still the best home backup package we’ve used, so it gets a – qualified – recommendation.
|Software subcategory||Backup software|